Stephen King’s works have been adapted into movies time and again. While some of his novels were adapted into movies by notable directors, some were adapted by King himself and it goes without saying that there various flops and blockbusters with most of the films belonging to the horror genre. But over the years his work has gone beyond the horror genre and have been adapted to dramas, comedies, and more. Much to my surprise, there is also an Indian adaptation of King’s IT titled Woh which aired on Zee TV in 1998 for 52 episodes.
From the diverse library of Stephen King’s adaptation, here are our picks for the 7 best Stephen King adaptations into movies.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
Out of all Stephen King films, The Shawshank Redemption is one the most watched and widely appreciated films. The film around its theme of empathy, friendship, life, and death delivers what it promises to i.e., a watch-worthy film with an amazing repeat value. There is a simple and eloquent depiction of hope and friendship and redemption that stays with the viewers. Therefore, without a doubt, The Shawshank Redemption has a permanent place in IMDb’s top 20 films with a 9.3/10 rating and 2.4M user votes.
Watch The Shawshank Redemption here.
2. IT: Chapter 1
The IT universe with its two chapters brought back clown fear in audiences. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in IT portrays the clown foe with such perfection that it instils fear in viewers with its unpredictable moves and tricks. It’s inhumane, eccentric, and stays with the viewers, so it’s safe to say that IT may leave you with coulrophobia aka fear of clowns. But above and before that, IT is a movie about winning over your fears and facing your deepest emotional and mental fears. The psychological underline to IT‘s horror is what makes this film one of the best Stephen Kings adaptations.
Watch IT: Chapter 1 here.
3. The Shining
“But there are a lot of things that I don’t get. But obviously, people absolutely love it, and they don’t understand why I don’t. The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire and the movie in ice.” – Stephen King on The Shining
The Shining is one of the most loved Stephen King adaptations and King doesn’t understand why, he hates it! The thing about The Shining is that director Stanley Kubrick doesn’t exactly walk on the lines of the novel, he holds the basics of it and distorts and rebuilds everything else around. Kubrick’s film is a fantastic dark comedy that satirises middle-class mediocrity: Fathers are miserable givers in the director’s perspective, mothers are blandly joyful (but quietly suffering greatly), and children see much more than their parents.
Watch The Shining here.
4. Doctor Sleep
Directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep is a supernatural horror film and a sequel to The Shining. Danny Torrance is our lead character here with psychic abilities and struggles with childhood trauma. Dan Torrance, now an adult, must protect a young girl with similar psychic powers from a cult known as the True Knot, whose members prey on children who possess the shining, to extend their own lives. It’s evil, psychic, and engaging!
Watch Doctor Sleep here.
5. Stand By Me
Stand By Me is the first non-horror Stephen King adaptation set in the 1980s around a group of guys who, well, are just being guys! They go into the woods in the summer of 1959 in search of a corpse and adventure awaits them. The movie is certainly nostalgic for the glorious and simpler days of boyhood, but it’s also rather insightful on how seemingly little escapades can become defining moments in one’s life in retrospect.
Watch Stand By Me here.
Misery is often known as a horror movie with a satirical streak to it that makes it even more whimsical. Kathy Bates plays a devoted admirer of Paul Sheldon played by James Caan, a renowned romance author, whom she imprisons in her home until he agrees to scrap his current manuscript, which she despises, and create something more to her mind’s liking. Annie had the potential of being a simple, misogynistic villain, but in Bates’ hands, she is transformed into a complex depiction of obsession, exposing the perils of immersing oneself in others’ work.
Watch Misery here.
1408 is a psychological horror starring John Cusack in the lead role of Mike Enslin, an author who investigates allegedly haunted houses. He insists on staying in a hotel room in a New York hotel that has driven everyone who has ever stayed in it suicidally insane! As reality dissolves around him, Enslin sits in that room and going insane is the way. For a movie with such a simple plot, 1408 is a horrifying psychological thriller with a man descending into madness every passing minute and day.
Watch 1408 here.
Tell us your favourite Stephen King adaptation in the comments below!