Top 5 Stephen King Film Adaptations.
Stephen King is famed for being one of the greatest horror writers of our generation and is one of a few writers that has had their work adapted to film and been a financial and a critical success. Stephen King has had about 50 film adaptations of his work not just isolating to the horror genre. This list will include 5 of the greatest Stephen King film adaptations. This does not include TV series, so IT and The Last Stand cannot be included.
5 – Misery (1990)
The only Oscar winning Stephen King film for Kathy Bates performance as crazy obsessed fan Annie Wilkes. Misery has a small cast, really only one location but yet it is such a moody and suspenseful horror. The constant conflict between writer and fan is a relevant and scary outlook at the age of internet fans that thirst for an explanation of their favourite characters. Writers these days get bombarded with tweets and emails to explain certain questions and plot holes in their favourite novels. They maybe don’t go to the levels of Annie Wilkes but the comparison is not too far from the truth. As a child watching this film, I was petrified of her character. Her presence when she appeared in a scene was truly fear inducing. Misery is a small horror film that is a perfect example of Horror being at it’s best not because of cheap jump scare but atmosphere.
4- The Running Man (1987)
An Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that is set in a dystopian future where people bet on the lives of criminals fighting specialised and trained assassins. The film is campy, it’s silly but it’s fantastic. Down to the Arnie one liners to the Christmas Light decorated Dynamo. This film is a time capsule for the Eighties. It’s fast paced, action packed comedy that is enjoyable to watch on a Friday night. One of my favourite Schwarzenegger films because of the amount of freedom he has due to the silliness of the film. If it was remade today it would not work. It would be dark and brooding. The Running Man knows what type of films it is. It may of dated but I blame that on the Lycra. It’s a fun, exciting, Arnie- fest. What’s not to love?
3- The Shining (1980)
What can I say about this film that hasn’t already been said? Okay, this film is not the most accurate adaption of King’s work. However no one can deny that this film is a visual and horror masterpiece. Very similar to Misery, it’s a very small film with only one location and a small cast. However the long tracking shot of the young child on his tricycle is haunting and still as an adult I look away every time he turns a corner. The imagery sticks in your mind to the uncanny twins to Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance. The breakdown of Jack’s mental state is slowly diminished to a lunatic that begins to questions whether the visions are all in his head. The ambiguity of the supernatural themes really expands this film into a question of your own madness as you try and figure out what really is going on. Nicholson’s performance is one of the greatest in the genre. The hypnotic glare of Nicholson and he slowly goes crazy is purely horrifying. The Shining is a film that will stay in your mind for days, weeks, years. This longing impact makes it not just one of the greatest Stephen King films ever but one of the greatest Horror’s ever.
2 – The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Number one film on IMDB. 7 Oscar nominations and a critical success. The Shawshank Redemption is considered the most popular of Stephen King’s film. However this film only ever became popular on when it was released on Video. I believe that King is at his authorial best when he sides away from the supernatural horror. King’s attempt at ‘real life horror’ is when he is at his most pure. The story of Andy Dufresne fight for innocence and escape is an inspiring story. Morgan Freeman’s turn as Red is the stand out performance in this film. A convict laden with guilt and being institutionalized, Red inspiring story steals the show. An uplifting story of hope and redemption. The Shawshank Redemption has helped people overcome there real horror and this films legacy will outlast the other films on this list. How can you hate a film about a man that hits rock bottom and attempts to film his dream to go to zhauet… zeewhatto… zewootman….. to Mexico.
1- Stand By Me (1986)
Different Seasons by Stephen King is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s a collection of four stories. Breathing Method, Apt Pupil, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and The Body. Also known as Stand By Me. This film is the most relevant to me. No I never went looking for a dead body but this film is not about that. It’s subtitle is the loss of innocence. This is what this film displays. The transition from childhood to teen, from teen to adulthood. The loss of innocence is a horror that is relevant to everyone. This is why this is Stephen King’s best story and best film adaptation. The performances of the four children is a benchmark for all child actors. It’s a film that you can revisit every year. The fear that your friends from your childhood will disappear. It’s a fear that is universal and Stephen King’s most purest story he has ever written. Stand By Me is full of horror but full of hope and joy. It’s a film that is like no other comparing King’s repertoire. If you are going to watch any of these films Stand By Me is my choice. You’ll smile, cry and laugh. That’s what you want for a film. Truly a amazing film that is for me Stephen King’s greatest ever film adaptation.
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