The Best Stephen King Movies

The Best Stephen King Movies
The Best Stephen King Movies
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In his 50-year career, Stephen King has written some 65 novels (with the 66th about to appear) and over 200 short stories. His books are estimated to have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide, and regularly snap up for film or TV adaptation. King’s name is one of the most familiar in film history having appeared in at least sixty movies (and that doesn’t even include the eight sequels of Children Of The Corn) and fifty shows so far with more still coming. So we talk about The Best Stephen King Movies here.

Stand By Me (1986)

One scorching summer, a bunch of oddball kids set out on a quest for local celebrity by retrieving the body of a lost boy that has been found by some toughies. Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell) go hunting while avoiding those bullies; gently, tentatively walking towards manhood through backwoods trails. Rob Reiner is smack dab in the middle of his hot streak from This is Spinal Tap to Misery here – he just puts it all down as perhaps the least King-like story ever told: a quaint children’s escapade – but ends up somewhere much more contemplative where growing up means feeling young friendships grow deeper and broader amidst an ever-present sense of loss that one can never get back to being pure or simple again.

Carrie (1976)

The first big screen rendering of any novel by Stephen King took place within two years after he had made his debut as an author with his first book following a year later centering around a sixteen year old girl named Carrie White. She lives with her religious fanatic mother who smothers her; she gets alienated and maltreated by her colleagues at school; finally she can’t bear it when she starts menstruating during P.E class showering session at school bathrooms. Sissy Spacek gives Carrie a wide-eyed vulnerability which soon turns into a terrible knowledge of her own sexual power as she realizes that her anger and embarrassment translate into telekinetic powers. Eventually, Carrie is on the rampage, the whole school is ablaze and the house is covered in pig’s blood. King takes Grant Wood’s haunted, gaunt Americana from ‘American Gothic’ into 20th century; Brian De Palma’s telling adds plenty more lurid European giallo to it. Plus! Look out for an early sighting of that hand-bursting-from-the-grave ending. It is one of the best Stephen King Movies.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Sadistic screws, brutal cons, bent jailers and one man languishing in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a murder: yes, The Shawshank Redemption is indeed among cinema’s most life-affirming experiences. King follows Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker who is sent down for life when he gets done for killing someone. His way out comes through old lag Red (Morgan Freeman putting all his battered street-wisdom and twinkly charm to good use) and patience, until he can stitch up the warden (a superbly pugnacious Bob Gunton). Frank Darabont finds something Capra-esque here while Shawshank was initially unappreciated but has become beloved since like It’s A Wonderful Life by Capra. What makes this film so powerful is its deceptively simple outlook: it is an ode to sticking to your guns whilst getting on with things irrespective of what others do or say; because sometimes you just have to crawl through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness before you come out on the other side where there are sunsets in front of sandy beaches with old friends.

The Shining (1980)

Stephen King in 1974 opened an atlas and randomly chose a place where he would go to write his next book. With his wife, they stayed at the Arkansas Stanley Hotel located near Boulder Colorado, and were immediately scared. “We were alone in that whole place,” he remembered, “long empty corridors.” This was what brought about The Shining. It was during one fateful night that Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant version of an author’s descent into madness while residing at the Overlook Hotel depicted some of the most haunting images ever seen on film: twin girls standing in the hallway; a lady taking a bath; blood gushing out of an elevator and finally, a door breaking open with Wendy played by Shelly Duvall screaming inside. When given custodial duties for the winter over the establishment, Wendy, Jack (Nicholson at his most insane, cynical, and malevolent) and their darling toddler Danny (played by Danny Lloyd), soon discover negative vibes permeate. As a result, Robert De Niro suffered from terrifying dreams for a period of four weeks following its screening.

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