Stephen King is having a good year. He has a slew of projects being converted from paper to screen, including movie releases of ‘It‘ and ‘The Dark Tower’ and several new series adaptations like ‘Mr. Mercedes’, ‘Gerald’s Game’, ‘The Mist’ and his short story ‘1922’.
Some of these I am over the moon excited for and feel like I’ve been waiting for them for many, many years. A few of us here at Fan Fest are Constant Readers, so I have joined forces with my fellow writer, Kevin Carey, to dive into which selections from King’s catalog should be either made into a movie or remade into a better movie. I mean, it’s 2017, I think some of his older stuff is due for a new look.
I’ve been reading Stephen King books since the sixth grade when I read ‘Salem’s Lot for the first time. Since that day, many, many years ago now (*sigh*), I have been on of King’s Constant Readers consuming his stories as quickly as my eyes can scan a page. At this point, I’ve read around forty of his books, and that’s not counting the re-reads of books like the Dark Tower series (I’ve lost count at this point). For me, Uncle Stevie isn’t just my favorite writer but his ability to craft a story, present characters, and build a universe light all types of creative fires in me.
With such a vast library there are still tons of Stephen King books begging to be made into books, and I’d like to volunteer my list of five I’d love to see. These are some of his more back catalog works but each one of these books has resonated with me, especially number one, and the idea of seeing them up on the silver screen is both exciting and stressful. I’m very protective of novels I love and worry that the director won’t be able to capture the story I’ve pictured for so many years, but putting that aside, it’s fun to make suggestions.
1. ‘The Long Walk’ – Outside of the Dark Tower series this is probably my favorite Stephen King book. At the surface, The Long Walk is bleak and violent but it raises some deep philosophical questions and stirs the feels. The friendships and bonds that are formed during this “long walk” are what drive the story and I would love to see an independent movie take this on. No big budget but something gray and gritty with excellent acting, I’m thinking along the lines of The Mist. This story is all about its characters and was the Hunger Games before the Hunger Games. If you want to leave the audiences in a state of “…” then this would be the choice. I can’t recommend this book enough.
2. ‘Duma Key’ – I fell in love with this book hard. I felt instantly drawn in because the characters were so strong. I feel that there aren’t enough haunted house/ghost story movies out there especially ones that could pack the emotional wallop that Duma Key does. Plus with the way all the artwork is vividly described, as well as the ghost arm, this could be a visually trippy film. Add in the creepy and brooding factor and we might have a winner here. Think of those beach landscapes as they come to life, amigo. Duma Key is beautiful in how haunting it is. Yes, please.
3. ‘Firestarter’ – I literally just finished reading this and while I thought the book might have been a tad bit long, the last half of the novel was fantastic. Charlie and her ability to make fire with her mind make her an interesting character, especially as we watch her grow up entirely too fast. Everyone loves a good secret government agency story and Rainbird is one of my favorite King villains. His evil is so systematic and rationalized and when matched with his appearance he becomes all types of eerie. I know there was already a Firestarter movie but I think this is one of his books that could use an update.
4. ‘Doctor Sleep’ – Who would have thought a sequel to The Shining would be something we wanted to so many years removed. Picking up with Danny all these years later was both seamless and exciting. Doctor Sleep could easily benefit from its ties into The Shining and also stand as its own movie as Danny struggles with his gift, mortality, the shadow of his father and the Overlook, and vampires (not your typical type of vampires though). Plus there’s a cat in this book and everyone loves cats.
5. ‘Insomnia’ – Insomnia could be such a great movie especially with the release of the Dark Tower and It right around the corner. Taking place in Derry and with heavy, heavy Dark Tower ties it would be easy to weave this book into the Stephen King cinematic universe. Derry is literally the worst and the introduction of the Crimson King could make for an excellent companion piece to the Dark Tower. On top of that Ralph makes for a wonderful protagonist and his age would make for something different from a hero standpoint. Think Up but with more scares. Plus the bald doctors and the auroras they see would be something I would love to see translated on the screen.
6. ‘The Stand’ – Even though this was presented as a made-for-television miniseries back in 1994, there is much room for improvement in today’s world of movie making. It’s a giant novel, with a huge cast, but if approached correctly, it could be done in the way of the new version of ‘It’ and broken down into two movies. This tale is one of my most favorite books, not just of King’s catalog, but of any novel ever written. The characters are rich in personality and angst, the antagonist is one of the scariest I’ve encountered and the story itself is a classic one of good versus evil. This world is polarizing, and sometimes the good guy isn’t so good. Maybe some of the bad guys aren’t so bad. But in the end, it comes down to this: follow the light and have faith in Mother Abigail, or follow the Dark Man and march to the desolate desert with Randall Flagg. The epic battle of the end screams for the big screen treatment, and with his current role as Flagg in ‘The Dark Tower’ movie, Matthew MacCoughney could bring his swagger and slip into this much different version of Flagg easily.
7. ‘Wizard and Glass’ – Now, I know what you’re thinking…. “Jen, this is part of ‘The Dark Tower’ series.” Yes, you say true and I say thankee. However, within this novel, is a story unto itself. The story of Roland Deschain and the love of his life, Susan Delgado. The tale that Roland tells his friends can be pulled out and turned into a spectacular film that would easily be tied into the Dark Tower universe (when and if the movie succeeds). It’s a cross between old Western and a coming-of-age tale. Four friends sent off by their fathers to complete a task but fall into a much deeper and darker conspiracy. All the while a very young Roland has to make a choice between love and duty.
8. ‘The Shining’ – Yeah, Yeah, I know, you thought this would be all NEW King movies. Sorry, but ‘The Shining’ is in desperate need of a new movie because the old one just doesn’t do the book justice. Stanley Kubrick’s vision was great until you read what King wrote and then it all just goes out the window. King’s novel tells the story of a very flawed man, Jack Torrence, and his desire to do right by his family. He’s hurt them before, but he wants to be the good husband and father he knows he can be. Taking a job as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel becomes all consuming though, and he is slowly driven mad by the spirits that haunt the halls. A slower burn of madness is what really breathes life into this story because we sort of go down that rabbit hole with Jack as he sits down in the boiler room creeping closer to his breakdown. His wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, are also fairly different in the book too. Enough that portraying Wendy closer to that of the pages may actually make you root for her to escape with her life. I think Jack and the Overlook need an overhaul, and with Kevin’s choice above for Doctor Sleep to get its big screen debut, why not do both and make us Constant Readers very, very happy.
9. ‘The Talisman’ – Another novel set in and out of the world shared by “The Dark Tower”, The Talisman was the story of a young kid, Jack Sawyer, trying to save his mother. He finds he is able to travel in and out of this other world, the “Territories”, as he sets to travel across the country to retrieve a Talisman that could ultimately save her. This world is filled with oddities and “twinners” of people from Jack’s world. Of course, there are those who try to stop him on his journey, but Jack doesn’t give up. With his father dead, and his mother dying, he has no choice but to succeed in getting the Talisman. Seeing this story come to life would be a fantastical journey, one that can be just as scary as it is hopeful. There is a chance as a beautiful cinematic experience should someone decide to take on their own journey to bring ‘The Talisman’ to life.
10. ‘Black House’ – This is the sequel to the above mentioned ‘Talisman’. In Black House, we pick up with Jack Sawyer, much older and now a retired detective. He doesn’t remember the journey he had to make as a boy to save his mother, but that doesn’t stay the case for long. Living his retired years out in Wisconsin, Jack gets pulled into a case when bodies start popping up. The deeper he gets involved, the more his cryptic dreams reveal about what happened to him all those years ago. Now, he has to face the evil that crept in from the “Territories” and make sure that this new threat isn’t able to carry out their nefarious plan. This is another link to ‘The Dark Tower’ series and could be a dark, gritty film with the right cast and director. It may not have been the strongest of King’s work, but it ties in well with its predecessor and the world that lays parallel to our own. The one where if the Tower falls, so does all existence.
Which novels or short stories from Sai King do you want to see brought to life on the big screen? Any remakes you think need to be done in the coming years? Use the comments below to let us know your thoughts on our list and what you would add!
As always, long days and pleasant nights, Constant Readers.
Writer of stories, watcher of TV. I am an avid horror and sci-fi junkie who’s been riding with the Winchesters since their dad went on a hunting trip in 2005. Current obsessions are The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files and The Dark Tower movie. Find me on twitter – @jryan_author – for your daily dose of sarcasm and poems about my unnatural love of coffee.