Stephen King is a connoisseur of terror. Ever since she broke out with “Carrie,” the sleazy tale of a telekinetic teenager adapted into Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic starring Sissy Spacek, the horror auteur has had a hand in shaping our nightmares.
The 75-year-old author has dozens of novels, short stories and short stories to his name and has inspired an equal number of genre filmmakers. Mike Flanagan, the mastermind behind Netflix’s blockbuster anthology “Haunting,” has two King adaptations under his belt, including 2017’s “Gerald’s Game” (also released by the streaming giant) and 2019’s theatrical release “Doctor Sleep.” Next, he will take on the series “The Dark Tower” as a TV series.
Frank Darabont earned three Best Picture Oscar nominations for “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” both based on King’s short stories. He is also behind 2007’s “The Mist,” among several other King adaptations. Rob Reiner delivered the film closest to King’s heart with 1986’s “Stand by Me,” a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story starring Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and the late River Phoenix. Reiner would hand Kathy Bates her first Best Actress nomination (and win) for 1990’s Misery, a kidnapping thriller tied to the infamous psychological breakdown of Annie Wilkes’ genius King. David Cronenberg, George A. Romero, and more legends have hired King.
The author of “Pet Sematary” talked about the various adaptations of his works over the years. Many will remember Stanley Kubrick’s widely celebrated “The Shining” rant: Jack Nicholson’s 1980 masterpiece King “a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine in it.” He’s been equally candid about movies that have nothing to do with his work, but King says he still doesn’t like them. For example, he hated “Kill Bill Vol. 1” enough to write a full review of it in 2007, calling Quentin Tarantino’s fourth film “narcissistic” and “irrelevant.”
Harder words make it worth pursuing King’s endorsement in Hollywood. Whether he’s endorsing recent films on Twitter or addressing decades-old favorites in interviews, King’s opinion carries enough weight to sink bodies and reverse the course of projects large and small. Listed in no particular order, here are just 14 of Stephen King’s publicly recommended films.
(Editor’s note: This list is not exhaustive and will serve as a living document that will be updated over time.)