26 Greatest Stephen King Movie Adaptations

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While not all of his numerous literary works refer to THE horror genre, Stephen King is widely known as the King of Horror. Over 30 of his novels, novellas and short stories were made into films, and that's not including TV-series and various shorts. As for quality, it’s quite a different story. Some of those flicks are complete disasters, others are rather average and only a limited number are actually worthwhile.  So here it comes - our top 26 of King’s best adaptations, ranging from simply good to the greatest movies of the 20th century.

26. Bag of Bones (2011) | IMDb: 5.8

Bag of Bones (TV Mini-Series)

Bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, unable to cope after his wife's sudden death, returns to the couple's lakeside retreat in Maine, where he becomes involved in a custody battle between a young widow and her child's enormously wealthy grandfather. Mike inexplicably receives mysterious ghostly visitations, escalating nightmares and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him.

25. Firestarter (1984) | IMDb: 6.0

Firestarter

Andrew and Vicky McGee met while earning money as guinea pigs for an experiment at college. The experiment was shrouded in suspicion and mystery, and seemed to be related to psychic abilities. The two were married and had a daughter Charile, who has the ability to start fires by merely thinking about it. Naturally, the government takes a great interest in Charlie, and operatives from the secret department known as "The Shop" want to quarrantine and study her.

24. Carrie (2013) | IMDb: 6.0

Carrie

The outcast teenager Carrie White is bullied by her classmates at high school.. Her mother, Margaret White, is a pious and paranoid woman that sees sin everywhere and the need of self-inflicting punishment. When Carrie has her first period, she does not understand what is happening to her and her classmates humiliate her in the changing room. The spiteful Chris Hargensen videotapes Carrie with her cell phone and posts it on the Internet. Their teacher Ms. Desjardin punishes the students, but when Chris challenges her, she is suspended and consequently she is banned from the prom. Meanwhile, Carrie discovers that she has telekinesis and learns how to control her ability. Sue Snell, one of the girls that tormented Carrie, feels bad and asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross to invite Carrie to go with him to the prom to make up for what she did to Carrie. But Chris and her boyfriend Billy Nolan plot an evil prank with her friends to seek vengeance for Carrie.

23. Cat's Eye (1985) | IMDb: 6.2

Cat's Eye

Three horror-thriller tales revolve around a mysterious stray cat which is attempting to find a little girl in trouble. In "Quitters, Inc.": the cat is picked up by a shady New York "doctor" who uses experimental techniques to get people to quit smoking. His latest client is a man named Morrison, who learns he'll suffer some terrible consequences if he tries to cheat. In "The Ledge": the cat is picked up by Cressner, a shady Atlantic City millionaire who forces tennis pro Norris (his wife's lover), to walk a narrow ledge around his high-rise penthouse apartment. In "The General": the cat arrives in Wilmington, North Carolina, where it is found by Amanda, the young girl it has been sent to protect. What she needs protection from is a tiny, evil troll who lives behind the skirting board in her bedroom.

22. Needful Things (1993) | IMDb: 6.2

Needful Things

Castle Rock, New England, is a nice place to live and grow and Sheriff Alan Pangborn moves from the big city to the town expecting a quiet life. When Leland Gaunt opens the store Needful Things, he seems to have the object of desire for each dweller. He charges small amounts to the things but requests a practical joke for each of them against another inhabitant. Soon hell breaks loose in town with deaths, violence and riot and Sheriff Pangborn discovers that Leland Gaunt is the devil himself. Further, Gaunt is manipulating the population like puppets exploring the weakness and greed of each person.

21. Pet Sematary (1989) | IMDb: 6.5

Pet Sematary

The Creeds have just moved to a new house in the countryside. Their house is perfect, except for two things: the semi-trailers that roar past on the narrow road, and the mysterious cemetery in the woods behind the house. The Creed's neighbours are reluctant to talk about the cemetery, and for good reason too.

20. The Running Man (1987) | IMDb: 6.6

The Running Man

A parody within an action thriller. Ben Richards is an innocent man who is sentenced to the Running Man game show, a futuristic audience participation capital punishment television show. While Ben is running from champions with chainsaws and sharpened hockey sticks, the host is busy with calls to the network about ratings.

19. Christine (1983) | IMDb: 6.6

Christine

In 1957, in Detroit, a red Plymouth Fury is built and is the cause of two accidents, one of them fatal, still in the assembly line. Twenty-one years later, the outcast and bullied nerd Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham is getting a ride with his best and only friend Dennis Guilder and he sees the wrecked car for sale in a garden. Arnie immediately falls in love with the car. The car was given the name Christine by it's first owner. He brings the car to a repair shop of the despicable Will Darnell and works hard to restore the classic car. While he works in the restoration, he changes his personality to a cocky teenager and he dates the most beautiful girl in the high-school, Leigh Cabot. Soon Arnie becomes selfish and jealous of the supernatural Christine that kills everyone that is a threat to them.

18. Secret Window (2004) | IMDb: 6.6

Secret Window

Mort Rainey is a successful writer going through a rather unfriendly divorce from his wife of ten years, Amy. Alone and bitter in his cabin, he continues to work on his writing when a stranger named John Shooter shows up on his doorstep, claiming Rainey stole his story. Mort says he can prove the story belongs to him and not Shooter, but while Mort digs around for the magazine which published the story in question years ago, things begin to happen around Shooter. Mort's dog dies, people begin to die, and his divorce proceedings with Amy continue to get uglier. It seems that Shooter has Mort over a barrel, but perhaps Mort has his own ideas on how to resolve all the problems that plague him lately.

17. Rose Red (2002) | IMDb: 6.7

Rose Red (TV Mini-Series)

Dr. Joyce Reardon, a psychology professor, leads a team of psychics into the decrepit mansion known as Rose Red. Her efforts unleash the spirit of former owner Ellen Rimbauer and uncover the horrifying secrets of those who lived and died there.

16. Apt Pupil (1998) | IMDb: 6.7

Apt Pupil

Neighborhood boy Todd Bowden (Renfro) discovers that an old man living on his block named Arthur Denker (Mackellan) is Nazi war criminal. Bowden confronts Denker and offers him a deal: Bowden will not go to the authorities if Denker tells him stories of the concentration camps in WWII. Denker agrees and Bowden starts visiting him regularly. The more stories Bowden hears, the more it affects his personality.

15. Salem's Lot (1979) | IMDb: 6.8

Salem's Lot (TV Movie)

The successful writer Benjamin "Ben" Mears returns to his hometown Salem's Lot, Maine, expecting to write a new novel about the Marsten House. Ben believes that the manor is an evil house that attracts evil men since the place has many tragic stories and Ben saw a ghostly creature inside the house when he was ten. Ben finds that the Marsten House has just been rented to the antique dealers Richard K. Straker and his partner Kurt Barlow that is permanently traveling. Ben meets the divorced teacher Susan Norton that is living with her parents and they have a love affair. Ben also gets close to her father Dr. Bill Norton and his former school teacher Jason Burke. When people start to die anemic, Ben believes that Straker's partner is a vampire. But how to convince his friends that he is not crazy and that is the truth?

14. 1408 (2007) | IMDb: 6.8

1408

The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's evil room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.

13. It (1990) | IMDb: 6.9

It (TV Mini-Series)

In 1960, a group of social outcasts who are bullied by a gang of greasers led by Henry Bowers are also tormented by an evil demon who can shape-shift into a clown and feed on children's fears and kill them. After defeating the demonic clown as kids, it resurfaces 30 years later and they must finish it off as adults once again.

12. Hearts in Atlantis (2001) | IMDb: 6.9

Hearts in Atlantis

This is a gentle, innocent film about the reflections of an aging man, who returns to his home town after the death of his best friend. Memories of life at age 11 floods back as it was a magical time that changed his life. Three 11 year old children (Bobby, Carol, and Sully) share their lives. Carol and Bobby have a special affection for one another including sharing a kiss "by which all others will be measured". Bobby lives with his mother, a bitter, vain woman who looks for pleasures for herself without sharing much with her son. Into their lives comes a mysterious new boarder, who befriends the boy but generates distrust from the mother. As time passes, the man and boy share confidences and special powers are revealed. The man warns the boy to be on the lookout for the "lowmen", who were seeking him. The two share a summer's adventures and come to love one another before the inevitable happens. A confrontation with a school bully also changes everyone.

11. The Mist (2007) | IMDb: 7.2

The Mist

A violent storm hits a town in Maine, then an approaching cloud of mist appears the next morning. As the mist quickly envelops the area, a group of people get trapped in a local grocery store, among them, artist David Drayton and his five-year-old son. The people soon discover that within the mist lives numerous species of horrific, unworldly creatures that entered through an inter-dimensional rift, possibly caused by a project on a nearby military base. As the world around them turns into a literal Hell-on-earth, the horrified citizens try desperately to survive this apocalyptic disaster.

10. The Stand (1994) | IMDb: 7.3

The Stand (TV Mini-Series)

When a government-run lab accidentally lets loose a deadly virus, most of the population of the world is wiped out. Survivors begin having dreams about two figures: a mystical old woman, or a foreboding, scary man. As the story tracks various people, we begin to realize that the two figures exemplify basic forces of good and evil, and the stage is set for a final confrontation between the representatives of each.

9. The Dead Zone (1983) | IMDb: 7.3

The Dead Zone

Christopher Walken wakes from a coma due to a car accident, only to find he has lost five years of his life, and yet gained psychic powers. Foreseeing the future appears to be a 'gift' at first, but ends up causing problems...

8. Storm of the Century (1999) | IMDb: 7.4

Storm of the Century (TV Mini-Series)

A small village off the mainland is about to receive a huge winter storm. It won't be just another storm for them. A strange visitor named Andre Linoge comes to the small village and gives the residents havoc. He knows everything about them, and when he tells the truth about one of them, that person denies it. The town constable, Mike Anderson, tries to keep everyone in check with the huge storm and Linoge. Linoge keeps telling the people, "Give me what I want and I will go away"

7. Dolores Claiborne (1995) | IMDb: 7.4

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Dolores Claiborne

Dolores Claiborne works as a maid for a wealthy woman in remote Maine. When she is indicted for the elderly woman's murder, Dolores' daughter Selena returns from New York, where she has become a big-shot reporter. In the course of working out the details of what has happened, as well as some shady questions from the past and Selina's troubled childhood, many difficult truths are revealed about their family's domestic strife. This is cleverly portrayed with present reality shot in cool blue tones blending seamlessly into flashbacks shot in vivid color. As small town justice relentlessly grinds forward, surprises lie in store for the viewers...

6. Carrie (1976) | IMDb: 7.4

Carrie

Carrie White is a shy young girl who doesn't make friends easily. After her classmates teased her about her horrified reaction to her unexpected first period, one of them takes pity on her and gets Tommy Ross, her boyfriend and class hunk to invite Carrie to the senior prom. Meanwhile, another girl who has been banned from the prom for her continued aggressive behavior is not as forgiving and plans a prank to embarrass Carrie in front of the whole school. What she doesn't realise is that Carrie is gifted with deadly powers, and you really don't want to make her angry.

5. Misery (1990) | IMDb: 7.8

Misery

Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is on his way home from his Colorado hideaway after completing his latest book, when he crashes his car in a freak blizzard. Paul is critically injured, but is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, Paul's "number one fan", who takes Paul back to her remote house in the mountains (without bothering to tell anybody). Unfortunately for Paul, Annie is also a headcase. When she discovers that Paul has killed off the heroine in her favorite novels, her reaction leaves Paul shattered

4. Stand by Me (1986) | IMDb: 8.1

Stand by Me

It's the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon and four 12 year-old boys - Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern - are fast friends. After learning of the general location of the body of a local boy who has been missing for several days, they set off into woods to see it. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship and the need to stand up for what is right.

3. The Shining (1980) | IMDb: 8.5

The Shining

Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the "Shining", to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.

2. The Green Mile (1999) | IMDb: 8.5

The Green Mile

Death Row guards at a penitentiary, in the 1930's, have a moral dilemma with their job when they discover one of their prisoners, a convicted murderer, has a special gift.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) | IMDb: 9.3

The Shawshank Redemption

Chronicles the experiences of a formerly successful banker as a prisoner in the gloomy jailhouse of Shawshank after being found guilty of a crime he did not commit. The film portrays the man's unique way of dealing with his new, torturous life; along the way he befriends a number of fellow prisoners, most notably a wise long-term inmate named Red.

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