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Top 15 Movies Based on Stephen King Stories

Shane Dayton . . . Comments

There are literally dozens and dozens of movies based on Stephen King short stories, novellas, and novels. Among these many films there are some major league clunkers, but there are also some absolute gems. If you include sequels and TV movies, the list goes well over fifty, and that’s not even including many limited release short films. Out of all those choices, here is my list of the fifteen best movies based on Stephen King works.


Pet Sematary


This work was also one of Stephen King’s finest horror novels. There is a haunted pet cemetery, spelled cutely with an ‘S,’ where everything buried comes back from the dead, but comes back twisted and evil. This is a great film where the tragic loss of a child proves too much temptation, and what comes back is terrifying and evil beyond belief. The ending of this film is absolutely fantastic, and one of the best endings of a King movie.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Pet Sematary (Special Collector’s Edition)


Storm of the Century

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Storm of the century started as a two part mini-series and has since been released to DVD. This is an excellent story, which Stephen King wrote the script to, about a stranger appearing just as the worst winter storm in history hits a small isolated Maine island. This stranger has the power to force others to do as he wants, and he demands a child to raise as his own or else. This is a chilling and incredible story.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Stephen King’s Storm of the Century




This movie with actors John Cusak and Samuel L. Jackson, is based around a Stephen King short story about a haunted hotel room that has an incredibly long and tragic history. This evil room draws so much energy that it is only mildly cleaned once a week, and briefly, and is never rented out. An author who doesn’t believe in the supernatural checks in, only to find himself in an amazing repeating hell that is bent on devouring his very soul, and refuses to let him go.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: 1408 (Widescreen Edition)


Children of the Corn


Children of the Corn was based on a short story by Stephen King (and all six of the terrible sequels were based on movie studios trying to stretch it for a cheap buck). “Outlander! Outlander! We have your woman!” This classic line and scene helps define the movie, where a child prophet has convinced every child to murder all the adults in town, as they worship “He who walks behind the rows.” Talk about the wrong town to break down in! This is a very solid horror flick, with some really genuinely creepy moments.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Children of the Corn




This three hour and change movie is a two part movie, with Pennywise the Clown perhaps one of the most disturbing horror villains in movie history. I personally point to him (and watching this movie at the age of ten) as explaining my life long fear/hatred of clowns. This movie is often judged as the first half being excellent and the second half mediocre, in part because of a changed ending. In fairness, the book’s ending would be next to impossible to fully convert into a movie format, but all in all, this movie is still a great view, and the first half is excellent. You might want to skip this one if you have a phobia of clowns.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Stephen King’s It


Rose Red


A four part mini-series turned into DVD, “Rose Red” is a little over four hours and is a great modern version of the classic haunted mansion ghost story. A professor who has been fired for her paranormal studies takes a bunch of psychics into a haunted manor, secretly hoping that their powers will “jump start” the manor like a jump to a dead car battery and give her the evidence she needs to make her career… or she could be going insane and hoping for immortality. It’s not completely clear on this point, which makes the movie all the more interesting. This movie has good characters, some really scary scenes, and ties together very well at the end. Even better, it’s usually in the cheap DVD rack, so this movie is definitely a steal at a $10 or less buy.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Rose Red


Secret Window


This is based off a Stephen King novella and stars Johnny Depp and John Turturro. This is one of my personal favorite King movies, and if you’re a writer or a would be writer, this movie will have an added bonus. Johnny Depp’s character, Mort Rainey, is a successful writer struggling with a divorce, when a sociopathic stranger, John Shooter, shows up claiming that Rainey stole his story. Shooter demands credit, and has no issue killing anyone in his way until he gets everything he wants. This story has a fantastic surprise ending, great acting, and a creepiness that is hard to match.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Secret Window


Hearts in Atlantis

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One of the seemingly great secrets about Stephen King is he’s not just a horror author. Some of the best literary fiction of the past 50 years has been penned by King, and the movie “Hearts in Atlantis” is based on one of those novellas, down playing the supernatural and playing up the amazing story line and lives of the characters involved. The book “Hearts” has four novellas, and this film is only based on one of them, but it is a faithful and quality adaptation with great acting, great direction, and a film that individuals who don’t like King will even enjoy. This movie is a modern classic, in the same vein as “Stand by Me.”

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Hearts in Atlantis


The Green Mile


Some will argue this movie should be rated higher, and they may have a point, but the fact that there are enough great movies based on Stephen King works that a film this good (rated on the top 250 movies ever on IMDB) could arguably not be in the top five just shows that there are some gems out there. Not only is Tom Hanks great in this film, but this touching movie (a not heavily hidden allegory of the Jesus story) follows the film and is a fantastic watch that generally follows the books very carefully.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Green Mile (Single Disc Edition)


The Shining
King version


While I think the Stanley Kubrik version is a good movie, King didn’t like it on the basis that it didn’t follow his story, so if the author doesn’t like it, it doesn’t make the list. King’s version, appearing first as a mini-series, is an exceptional horror film that really brings the book to life and delivers a terrifying film that is worth the watch every time.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Stephen King’s The Shining (Two Disc Special Edition)


The Mist


Based on a long short story (or short novella, depending on how you look at it), this story has long been popular with Stephen King fans. This movie was extremely well done, capturing the terror of what happens when an unexplainable mist moves in, bringing a variety of mutated insects, huge tentacles, and all kinds of terrifying beasts into a town. Locked in a super market, not only do they have to worry about the other worldly terrors outside, but by a religious fanatic creating a child sacrifice cult that splits the survivors inside. This film has an ending that you will never forget… perhaps one of the most memorable in all of movie history.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Mist


The Stand


This epic mini-series is based on the epic novel about a post apocalyptic Earth where most the world was killed by a Super Flu. The good flock to Grandma Moses, while the evil flock to Randall Flagg, setting up an ultimate conflict between good and evil even after most of the world’s population is dead. This was one of King’s greatest works, and the movie did a good job staying close to the storyline considering the massive amount of material it had to ingest into the plot.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Stand


Stand by Me


This film is also on IMDB’s list of the top 250 movies of all time, and is a fantastic coming of age story about a group of four strange mismatched friends from junior high who try to track down a missing boy, presumed dead, by following some train tracks. Meanwhile they learn about each other and themselves, and end up all changing forever because of that several day journey. This is a very touching film with some sadness, and shows that Stephen King is not “just a horror writer.” This movie is based on the King novella “The Body.”

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Stand By Me (Deluxe Edition)



Misery-Kathy-Bates L

This was one of the best horror novels written by Stephen King, and the best movie based on a horror work. Annie Wilkes, the number one fan, is the worst nightmare of every celebrity, or every individual who has ever been stalked. An author gets in an accident, but is “rescued” by an obsessive fan, who ends up killing anyone who snoops around and creates the word “hobbling.” Anyone who saw the movie just winced at the mention of that word. Kathy Bates is exceptional as Annie Wilkes, and one of the most convincing movie psychopaths of all time.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: Misery


The Shawshank Redemption


This movie is one of only three from the IMDB website that has a rating of over 9.0 (out of 10), and is rated as the second best movie of all time on that website, and for very good reason. This amazing movie is based on the equally amazing novella about a banker who is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and is sent to a sadistic prison where the guards and warden are both corrupt. The acting is incredible, the storyline is amazing, and everything about this movie works. Not only is this the best movie ever adapted from a Stephen King work, but many cinema fans agree that it was one of the better movies ever made.

Buy the DVD at Amazon: The Shawshank Redemption (Single Disc Edition)Contributor: Shane Dayton

  • SarahJ the 2nd

    excuse me, did you forget "creepshow"? Best comic book ever but terrible movie only worth watching at slumber parties when 10

    • EXACTLY! Which means, of course, it has it’s place.

  • romerozombie

    Hearts In Atlantis is supernatural if you've read the Dark Tower books.

    • bellamy

      Not all films are made in prsion, but it is an interesting finding, that some great films are related to prsion stories.

  • Tj

    I can't believe Stephen Kings only not overrated movie is not on this list, I'm sure I'm one of a 100+ people that will say that but it needs to be said.

    Almost every one of Stephen kings movies are completely unwatchable, he is by far one of the worst horror authors on the planet and he has systematically undermined the horror genre with predictable, stupid movies with zero likable characters and little to no redeeming value. The only thing saving his movies are brilliant directors doing work that Mr. King would hate.

    He is well loved among trailer trash and people too old for harry potter.

    • AladinSane

      Are you judging him by the movies or by his books? Cause I can agree that a lot of the movies on this list are "unwatchable" and I DO consider myself a huge King-Fan. And I get that people might not enjoy the stories he writes, it's simply not everybody's bag of crisps, but to call his characters unlikeable…that seems to imply, that you haven't really read the books, just watched some god-awful movie-adaptions with bad acting. Because even in the weaker stories, the characters always were what kept me reading.

    • HEE

      I'm truly sorry, but you're a worthless idiot.

    • Pattynaki

      Do you normally go around to websites and post things that make you look like a complete moron?

    • vesey

      ” Trailer trash ” ???? you must have a very inflated opinion of yourself to consider people trailer trash because they happen to like something you don’t. You must be one of those people that has spent 32 years in college thinking that some how makes you elite………

    • Hello Tj…….a pseudonym for Trailertrash Junkie perhaps? You have no idea! Maybe you should learn to construct sentences that make sense, before you bore us with your pathetic comments.

      Ugh……I could go on, but why bother! You are a blot!

    • Chris

      I am highly educated, do not live in a trailer, not that it matters, and love a good Stephen King novel. When you can show the world that you can do better than Stephen King, then you will have a right to write your idiot opinion. Until then…..go read a good Stephen King novel and learn how he deals with people like you. :-)

    • heffemon

      A suggestion: If you’re going to go around calling people names and judging their taste in reading matter, you might want to learn how to use a hyphen first. Not to mention an apostrophe. Or basic grammar. You illiterate goon.

  • Juicy

    The novel It scared me more than the film. And this is a GREAT list. Misery was the 1st King book I read

  • warningdontreadthis

    I don’t quite agree with most of the these, but I agree that nr 1 is a great movie. I remember reading pet semetary, that one was freaky.

  • Redcaboose

    Interesting list. I saw several of these and really enjoyed them, especially shawshank redemption.

  • fif1189

    I had no idea that a lot of these were Steven King. You learn something new every day…

  • tH7

    Great list..i’ve watched some of them and they are amazing!

  • holmes

    nice list, love shawshank redemption and the shining :)

  • jajdude

    Entombed guns on the list, g – but y no Carrie yo?

  • Arnaud

    Oh my god !!! What a terrible list !!!
    How can you put in there terrible made-for-tv-movies and forget Carrie (!!!!!), Christine (!!!!), Dead Zone (!!!!), or even lesser works like The Dark Half, Needful Things, Apt Pupil, that are way better than most of the movies listed here….

  • romerozombie

    I’m a massive King fan, so awesome list. HOWEVER. The novel ending of Pet Sematary is better than the film one, it’s much more ambiguous but just better cause it’s creepy as hell. Def one of his best, if not my fav. It should be a little higher up.

  • bdeans

    I have to disagree with 13 and 9. 1408 was a slow clunker, and 9 was predictable without reading the original story.

    I’ve been on the fence about watching The Mist, as it’s one of my favorite short stories, but this recommendation has pushed me over the edge; I’ll be picking it up soon.

    As this list so adeptly demonstrates, King stories are one of the few that have made for some really great made-for-tv viewing.

    I would have put Children of the Corn and The Stand at 2 and 3, and had Stand By Me hold the #1 spot. But then, I’m the lazy one critiquing the list, and not the clever bugger who put it together. :P

    All in all, well done, Shane!

  • ligeia

    I don’t think you are the only person to blame It for your fear of clowns. Lots of adults that I know are afraid of clowns because of It…..babies!

  • Englandexpects

    had to be shawshank

  • Selasphorus

    Great list, and does a great job of illuminating just how much cinematic impact Stephen King has had.

  • romerozombie

    I kinda agree with comment 10 actually. There are parts of thst movie that are greater than the whole.

    Good call on the Shining mini series. The woman in room 217 (not 237!) in that is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen. I can’t express here how awful and mind-tearing it is to see.

  • gunn

    “it didn’t follow his story, so if the author doesn’t like it, it doesn’t make the list”
    i dont really think that this should be a criteria, for this list, seeing as it is titled “top 15 movies BASED on stephen king stories, not movies that stephen likes that follow his books exactly.
    i think stanley kubricks the shining should definately be on there, and maybe even higher up.

  • tokabul

    I will never understand why “It” is so popular. I find it to be extremely boring. The rest of the movies on the list, however, are great.

  • Kiroux

    I had no idea that some of these were adapted from Stephen King’s books. Gives me a new appreciation for him! He’s always just been seen as a horror writer but is far more talented than that.

  • flamiejamie

    Well, The Mist is quite terrible compared to the actual novel. The acting is absolutely pathetic. I can’t believe the Mist is on here. Oh well…

  • sdggrant

    I’ve read em all and watched em all. Loved all of them.

    To anyone else who saw ‘The Mist,’ was it just me or did the first half of the movie really blow, but then it did a 180 and turned into a great movie. The special effects could of been A LOT better.

    Also, my fav on this list is the Stand. I read it when I was like 10 and ended up getting grounded by my mom because I stayed up for almost 48hrs straight reading it.

  • Kiroux

    And btw, 1408 was a really bad movie even though I love John Cusack and supernatural-type movies. Would rather go out and read the book.

  • Tricia

    OH my goodness I love The Shawshank Redemption! It is one of my favorite movies of all time. Good list!

  • jhoyce07

    he’s a great his thriller-suspense-horror themes..

  • mister

    Man, how can you leave The Dead Zone of this list, thats my favorite King adaptation of all time. A restrained David Cronenberg directing, Christopher Walken before he became a cliche. It looks a little dated now but its still a solid film. It should have at least been number 4 cause after 1,2 and 3 the rest of these movies are pretty average.

  • Enoooo

    Sadly most movies made from Stephen King novels just plain suck. I absolutely despised The Shining mini-series, I wanted to punch that kid that plays the son in the face. But those select few, Shawshank, Misery, The Green Mile, IT and a few others were terrific. Thinner actually wasn’t horrible, the ending was pretty sick and almost as bad as the Mist when it comes to “That just sucks for you.” endings.

  • grubthrower

    Although I agree with 3-2-1 (Shawshank is the best movie of all time, period), I am different from those that decry TV adaptations.

    “It” was superb, featuring an all-star cast that rose above themselves. It also captured the *theme* of the book quite well… who cares about the final denouement, It is all about characterization and the bonds of friendship.

    Also do not agree that if the author isn’t happy, that’s a list-killer. Kubrick’s The Shining was much better. And King himself wrote some of the most gawd-awful screenplays in history (Maximum Overdrive, anyone?) and thus is NOT an authority on what it takes to bring his print writing to excellence on the screen. In fact, Shawshank itself has noticeable differences.

    And I’m one who almost always HATES it when Hollywood screws with a book (Battlefield Earth, Starship Troopers).

    Next, Kathy Bates won Best Actress in Misery… it is rare for a non-hottie to do so, and she did because her performance was nothing short of stellar. Misery not being included is an omission that cannot be forgiven, especially since gone-tomorrow things like The Mist are included.

    Finally, I was stoked at opening night of Pet Sematary. But from the very beginning with the Exorcist-ripoff pseudo-scare, I knew we were in trouble. One of my favorite books TRASHED in the hands of an incompetent director.

    However, this list literally CANNOT be agreed with by everyone down the line, given the surprisingly (to the uniformed) large number of adaptations from which to choose.

    Dang it, I wanted to write this list myself. It woulda been different, but no one would have agreed with me, either.

  • emmstein

    dreamcatcher was great

  • astraya

    I have seen exactly one of these, and it’s at #1, so I can’t argue with that. (Sort of like the over-rated novels list, where I’d only read #1. Emma meets Shawshank; is there any connection there?)

  • Arnold

    Agree with mister, I don’t understand why “Dead Zone” is not on this list ????

  • Hmm

    Sorry, but the miniseries adaptation of The Shining is a pile of shit. The acting is terrible and it just doesn’t have the atmosphere needed for a film of its kind. Kubrick’s version is far superior, even if it deviated from the source material (the hedge maze is a much better idea than the animated hedge creatures, and the hotel blowing up seemed too excessive and out-of-place in the novel). I haven’t seen a lot of these, but I thought that Secret Window wasn’t so great and The Green Mile is really overrated. Shawshank and Misery deserve their places, but I thought that The Dark Zone should have definitely made the list, what with Christopher Walken’s great performance and Martin Sheen’s crazy President. Needful Things was also a pretty decent adaptation of the source material, and while Carrie is a good flick, the book is far better – ditto to Firestarter.
    Though I can’t thank you enough for omitting tripe like Rose Red and the truly atrocious Desperation. In fact, why not a list of the WORST Stephen King movie/tv adaptations?

    • oh i know. i cant STAND to watch the re make of the shining. its just completely awful. thats all i have to say!!

  • Copaface

    I don’t care what you say, the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining should be on here not the shitty other one.

    And where the hell is Carrie?

    I am a massive fan of Stephen King but this list fails.

    Not happy.

  • Suskis

    The Shawshank Redemption is the most overrated movie in IMDB. It is great and it is well acted, but, hell, no way it is better than “the Godfather”, “Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo” or “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

  • Writergal

    I’d say its a toss up between Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. hmmmm… Nah – Green Mile wins in my book!

  • teapixie

    Overall, I didn’t think much of The Mist as a movie, but the ending was fantastic. I have to completely agree with No. 1. The Shawshank Redemption was an amazing book and an equally amazing movie.
    And by the way Tj, I am neither trailer trash or too old for Harry Potter (whatever age that happens to be) and I’ve been a King fan for most of my life.
    I suppose having a wide range of tastes is not something you are particularly familiar with.

  • nuriko

    i love misery! :D

  • Lea

    I think you’ll find that the good characters in ‘The Stand’ flock to Mother Abigail, not Grandmother Moses :-)

  • Grogblossom

    I cannot believe Cujo didn’t make the list. That dog deserved an Oscar!

  • Rascalian

    Lea, you said it before i could! :D Good list, but Kubrick’s The Shining was far superior…glad to see Shawshank Redemption made numero uno. And Tj, i’m pretty sure that Stephen King is the AUTHOR of his books, not the DIRECTOR of movies based on his books. And if by undermined the horror genre, you mean influenced it and almost all the writers in horror nowadays, then i agree with you…and i don’t even consider myself a King Fan, but he is a fucking amazing writer.


    now thatsmore like it!!!!

    my favorite s kng book is a collection of shorts titled everything is eventual… i plan to do a concept album with my band based on that book,,,, is that legal?

  • Rob Yorkshire

    I would have included Cujo and Carrie on this list. Other than that agree with most of it, although Stephen King is the only person on the planet who prefers the Shining mini-series to the Kubrick version.

  • Leah

    completely agree with shawshank redemption being #1. it is an extremely underrated movie, and has a brillient ending.

    much kudos on the list

  • Spocker

    Carrie ought to have made at least the top 5. I’d also place Firestarter and Christine above some of the TV miniseries listed. While the book was excellent, the first SK I ever read, I couldn’t stand The Stand (punny, huh?).

    I do agree that Shawshank Redemption should be #1. One of my top ten movies of all time.

  • Nelia

    We omit The Shining because King didn’t like it? These are movies “based” on King stories… methinks it should have fulfilled the criteria. I haven’t seen the mini series, but wasn’t it widely considered to be utterly terrible? I guess I can’t really judge since I haven’t seen it. But I can say that I read the book and saw the Kubrick version and I really don’t see why King got his knickers in a twist. The Shining was a fantastic film. Creepy, compelling, and very well cast.
    I am also very surprised not to see Carrie and Christine here. I would dump, say, 1408 and Secret Window and put those in there, except higher.

  • Cybogen

    the Shawshank Redemption. A story that probably shows some close reality to what really happens in the prison population.

  • Timadekim

    Long time lurker…
    First time poster.

    I’ve been a Steven king fan since I was old enough to read. Pet Sematary was the tops as far as pure horror in a novel. I was unfortunately dissapointed when I saw it on the screen. Carrie, Dead Zone, Cujo or even Christine were better films.

    This list also ignored one of my favorite King works ever to be filmed. It wasn’t a book or short story, it was a screenplay he wrote and had George Romero direct. Creepshow was the best.

  • SCF

    Shane, this list was a good read, and I am not a Stephen King fan. I thought Misery was anything but scary. The Shining is the only King-based film that’s ever held my interest. I find that King seems to start out with a great premise, but that they go to hell when he finally puts them down on paper. I tried for a whole month to read Misery and kept falling asleep. I finally gave up. I will grant you though, Stand By Me is a fantastic story. Maybe I only like King when he’s not trying to scare me to death?

  • ronsantohof

    The best movies are from King’s shorter novels and short stories (Carrie and Dead Zone). The longer novels (It, The Stand, Rose Red) become long mini-series events that drag out over 2, 3, and 4 nights and become tedious and boring with run-on sentences and paragraphs and chapters and novels that really need a good editing job but never do because nobody would dare make Stephen King re-write anything; like most of his novels.

  • Barabas

    1408 better then Carrie and The Dead Zone? Srsly wtf?

  • Peri

    I was a huge SK fan in high school, but reading–or rather trying to read–Pet Sematary pretty much killed it. It wassn’t until my then-boyfriend and I went to see Shawshank Redemption that I began to explore his non-freakout-horror stories/movies and found that he really is a great story teller. I’m going to have to go get Secret Window now.

  • Writergal

    @ TJ: I fully agree with TeaPixi’s comments! Hmmmm….I wonder, if SK is “the worst horror writer on the planet”, (as you put it)why so many of his stories have been published, and why there have been so many directors eager to bring his stories to the big screen? So Mr King’s work may not be everyone’s cup of Poison, but then again, neither is your attitude.

  • Baxter

    I don’t wanna be buried in a Pet Sematary…
    Gotta love the Ramones.

  • Bel

    Good list, I am a big Stephen King fan and most films made of his work hardly ever do it justice. Like mentioned though, I would argue that the Green Mile should be further up – it sticks so closely to the book and the actors were perfectly chosen for their respective roles. Fantastic film. And I’m glad Christine didn’t make it onto the list – it is one of my favourite King novels but (no disrespect to John Carpenter) the film absolutely REEKED!!!

  • Blue

    I’ve seen most all of these movies and agree with the list mostly so good job. The movie I seem to enjoy most is the Green Mile.

    “I try’d to take it back but it was too late.”

  • Don

    Grandma Moses in The Stand?

  • kearak

    Cat’s Eye anyone?!?!?! hahahaha I watched it every day when I was little. The little gremlin guy in the bedroom scared the crap out of me. It’s my number one, only for nostalgia sake though: )

  • NickNamed

    @ Leah #43: Shawshank Redemption UNDERRATED? Puh-lease. It’s one of only three films to get above a 9.0 on IMdB (as the list states). I would call Shawshank many things (I would go so far as to say vastly overrated myself, it works wonderfully as a sleeping aid for me) but never underrated.

  • bumble

    I thought The Mist was terrible – bad acting,bad CGI,not scary at all..cant believe you put it above The Green Mile..and 1408 was pretty silly too.Misery and Shawshank on the other hand – brilliant films that deserve the top spots.

  • Metalwrath

    I usually agree with IMDB ratings, and I do believe I have a good taste in movies, but honestly The Shawshank Redemption wasn’t really that appealing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I don’t really understand all that hype surrounding it.

    The Mist was a huge surprise for me, I had never heard about it before watching it on DVD, I didn’t even know what to expect, so I was quite pleasantly surprised. The ending is pretty damn hardcore, but apparently different from the short story.

    I’ve seen most of the movies but will certainly check out the others thanks to this great list.

  • PhantomBanker

    While I agree with the list’s author that Kubrick’s “Shining” was too far and away different from the book to be included, I don’t think King’s version was good enough to make the list. I watched it with high hopes, but “Ooh! Just how King would have wanted it!” turned into “meh.” I agree with most of the list, tho, especially Shawshank. Great acting took a good story and made it better. I still think it’s shocking that the kid in “Stand by Me” was a younger (and much plumpier) version of Jerry O’Connell.

    Point of order though: Was “Storm of the Century” ever written as a book or story, or was it written directly for the screen? I liked the movie, but if it was never in print, I’m not sure it meets the criteria.

  • suavejave

    Shane… You so totally rock! Shawshank Redemption has got to be the best movie ever made… Awesome plot, brilliantly directed and superb acting! I’m with you on this one! BTW, great list!

  • Ducky23

    “IT” is THE reason that my fear of clowns is so strong. Before I saw this movie as a youngster (not sure what age) I liked clowns, even dressed as one for Halloween. But “It” killed the clown for me. And I will never watch that movie ever again. That being said King is a wonderful writer. I read Green Mile before I saw the movie. The book is moving, to say the least, and the movie is outstanding. Tom Hanks and Michael Clark Duncan are awesome actors and perfect for the film. “The Shawshank Redemption” was good the first time but I’ve never been able to sit through the entire movie a second time.
    I read “The Girl Who Knew Tom Gordon” some time ago and thought that it would make a wonderful movie. Another book that was good, “Dreamcatcher”. I started it but never finished it though, the story became boring in the end and the movie left a lot to be desired.

  • BigwigRabbit

    Now if only someone would make a movie based on Brian Lumley’s first 3 vampire books!

  • Mom424

    Not too bad Shayne, but you dropped the ball with a couple of them. The Mist sucked for the most part. Only a few scenes make it at all worthy; the ending which you’ve mentioned was great, but I also found the religious fervor/terror to be thought provoking. Secret Window wasn’t that great either. Never saw The Shining mini-series – who would want to after watching Jack Nicholson?

    Should have included Carrie because it made his movie career and was a damn fine film and The Dead Zone because it was awesome. Christopher Walken rules.

  • I Love Paul

    I can never make it through the stand. I always fall asllep or get distracted. I will finish it one day though.

  • meetoo731

    The Shawshank Redemption is a beautiful movie about hope i agree that it should be at #1!
    The Mist however is awful as far a movies go with the most disturbing yet stupid ending!
    I don’t think it should be on this list replace it with Carrie and The Green Mile should be #2 or at least #3 as misery was really great as well!

  • Callie

    Oh dear…I agree Cujo and Carrie are missing.

    I prefer King’s short stories/novellas to his novels (he gets way too wordy sometimes for me…Needful Things would have been really good minus 100 pages or so) but this was a nice list.

  • Sherri

    I’ve been reading King for years, and I’m usually disappointed by the movie versions of his books. Carrie was good, Misery was excellent, and Shawshank is one of the best. I loved Maximum Overdrive, just because it’s such cheesy goodness and so 80’s in every way. Sometimes a bad movie can be a lot of fun.

  • RandomPrecision

    get busy living
    or get busy dying

  • Patty

    Ummmm, where’s Carrie??? I love the original and the remake. Take out that crappy made-for-tv remake of The Shining and put Carrie in instead.

  • STL Mo

    I recently read the graphic novel redition of the origins of The Gunslinger from the Dark Tower (?) series, and enjoyed it. Recommended for graphic novel enthusiasts.

    The TV version of The Stand was decent — it’s hard to fail when you have Gary Sinese, Ray Walston and Ossie Davis among the cast — but like the novel, it breaks down in the second half.

  • oouchan

    The first horror book I read was The Stand when I was 10. I did’t understand a few parts but I got the idea…I have loved reading his stuff (except a few like Geralds Game and Bag of Bones).

    Next movie should be Cell! If they don’t ruin it, it could be the best thriller movie ever. After reading that one, I didn’t use my cell phone for a week! (interesting note: Steven King doesn’t have nor will he ever have a cell phone per the quote at the end of that book)

    It and Green Mile should be higher on the list. Great picks. Hated Rose Red…that one stunk…so did the Mist!
    The Shining (the original! that horrible remake should be destroyed!)
    Maximum Overdrive
    Creepshow (just for laughs!)
    The Dead Zone

  • Timadekim

    Didn’t think The Stand broke down Mo. It evolves from one story to another. As the focus moves from the plague to the rebuilding and then to the final confrontation we get to learn more about the characters and what roles they will eventually play. Not as much “horror” in the second half but i found it just as compelling.

  • scarlet_tears


    I blamed it all to him.
    He’s the reason why i hate clowns, why i don’t like mascots.. because every time i look at them, i just see that creepy smile!!

    Rose Red was creepy too.. Imagine a house building on its own. Creepy!

    And i have to watch stand by me and The Shawshank Redemption

  • Goatboy

    Great list! Shawshank is definitly the best movie based on a Stephen King story.

  • Timadekim

    oouchan..I agree with Gerald’s Game. Add Delores Claybourne to that list of ones I never finished. Lisey’s Story I am also struggling with. I hope someone here can tell me something about it to make me press on.

    Bag of Bones however was a classic haunting tale. I love a good ghost story.

  • Realist

    The Mist was very good, but I saw the ending coming a mile away.

  • STL Mo

    Timadekim – I guess what I found unconvincing was how Flagg went from menacing and malevolent bad guy to impotent tool. In both the novel and movie — which I really did enjoy — it seemed to end with a wimper instead of a bang (well, in one sense it DID end with a bang…). Sure, the unravelling of Flagg’s little empire was part of the point, but I was unconvinced by how it happened and how it was portrayed.

  • Jules

    I love this list! I would recommend… for anyone… read The Stand! It’s something like 700 pages, but it’s one of the best reads out there. I read it when I was younger and I think I’ll read it again.

    Shawshank Redemption is an excellent read as well, so much more depth than the movie.

  • oouchan

    yeah…forgot about Delores Claybourne (easy to do, lol)…couldn’t get through it. However…Rose Madder is a great one!

    Ooops…forgot Salem’s Lot! That was a great one…movie was ok, but the book was freakin awsome!

    What about Firestarter?

    Also….Eyes of the Dragon…now the part with Flagg running up the stairway swinging a double ended battle axe has got to the the most hair raising part of that story. Did anyone else start yelling at Peter to move a little faster?!

  • steve d

    Interesting list, but a bit misguided. There is no way that Kubrick’s version of The Shining should have been left off because “King didn’t like it.” It far outweighs the TV version in acting, script, production and creepiness. It’s a classic. Apparently King had problems with a lot of the movies based on his books, so the argument for leaving it off is unfounded.

    I agree with #1, 2 and 3, but The Green Mile should have been higher. I really enjoyed The Mist, and found it to be an excellent version of the novella. (I did get a jolt from the ending) Get the DVD and watch the version that Frank Darabont did in B&W! Really cool.

    Carrie absolutely should have been on this list, instead of some of the TV productions. I’m also surprised no one mentioned The Running Man. Pretty cheesy, but a lot of fun. Definitely Creepshow!! Love that movie!

  • francucumber

    shawshank is no. 1 on imdb

  • steve d

    Hey oouchan!! #81! Thanks for reminding me of Salem’s Lot!! A TV production, but really friggin’ creepy!! I’ll never forget the scene of the kid floating outside the bedroom window! Great and definitely should have been on this list!

  • Timadekim

    Mo..I think the fact that Flagg was pretty much exposed at the end as a tool was part of the point. He wasn’t what he thought he was. His empire being brought down by Trash was an exclamation point. I can tell your a fan, like many here, and that speaks volumes to the writings of King.

    Love this list and love this site.

  • oouchan

    Not a problem, steve d! If you didn’t read the book…i recommend it. I picked it up recently to re-read again and forgot how flippin creepy that book really is! I love it when you read a book and then suddenly all the hair on the back of your head stands up….yeah, better than any movie!

  • Cedestra

    I am questioning some of these movies, and the order, but the overall content, writing, and thought put into this list makes it great. I almost thought it was JFrater for a moment! Great choice on #1!
    Normally I check all the comments, but I don’t want to today. That being said, Stephen King has a great “program”. He will sell the rights to any of his short stories for movie adaptation for $1.

  • DeadLast Johnny

    Growing up, my dad always read King novels, and always put us through watching the movies. The only book I’ve read of Kings was 1408, and the stories that are with it in the book… and as a result, I didn’t like the movie as much as the book. So I consider myself a fraction of the sum of people who say, “the book is better than the movie” :):)

  • ringtailroxy

    I was 8 when my mother let me watch “Cujo.” I loved the movie, I ‘knew’ it was a story, and I went to the library the very next day & the librarian actually let me check out the book! (why a librarian would allow a pre-pubescent girl to check out Stephen King novels is beyond me now…)I have been reading King since before I could spell ‘macabre’.

    For my 33rd birthday, my classmates bought me “Just After Sunset”
    I had been rather disappointed with “Duma Key” and felt that maybe King was loosing his edge after such a long career. Boy, was I wrong! “Just after Sunset” was stunningly amazing and I loved it.

    I never really like the movies based on King’s novels. I do like parts of his movies… but the books are always more satisfying.

    He truly is a king and nobody holds a candle to him. I consider King a reincarnated Poe.


  • zombiezacky

    I attempted to watch 1408 three times, and fell asleep each time. It just couldn’t hold my attention.
    Kubrick’s version of The Shining was so much better than that mini-series. I couldn’t stand watching it!
    Stand By Me is a movie I grew up watching with my brothers and dad and I absolutely love it.

  • Stephen

    This is a great list. Shawshank redemption is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the Green Mile almost makes me cry just thinking about it.

    As for IT, my dad let me sit down and watch that when I was 4 years old.(Thanks Dad) I still have nightmares about evil sadistic clowns.

  • Ashley R

    oh i like this list. i love stephen king! espically children of the corn. thats probably my favorite movie of his. :D. i also like creepshow…i own that one haha xD

  • alpenstocks

    Kubricks version of “The Shining” is a masterpeice of cinema. Omitting it from the list because King didn’t like it is deviating from the spirit of the list. I mean, its still based on the book. And its the best FILM ever made from a King book. And some of those other movies on the list are just plain BAD.

  • Brickhouse

    Woohoo! I knew The Shawshank Redemption had to be number one. My all-time favorite movie.

  • Kacie

    Shawshank Redemption is actually listed as the number 1 movie of the 250 movies on the imdb list now

  • DiscHuker

    so, to summarize.

    shawshank great.
    mist sucks.
    where’s carrie and cujo?
    i hate clowns!

    great job shane.

    the only one i would add, somewhat tongue in cheek is “The Running Man”. ahhhnold in tights with some classic meat head action star lines.

    (after ahhnold’s character cuts Buzzsaw in half with a chain saw]
    other guy: What happened to Buzzsaw?
    ahhnold: He had to split.

  • The Grey GOAT

    Wow, some good movies on here. I really liked the books of Pet Semetary and IT, the movies as a kid scarred the crap out of me, not so much now though. The book version of IT was much better than the movie, which I saw before reading the book so afterwards my look on the movie was jaded.

    I thought The Mist and 1408 were exceptionally good. The Shining (Kubrick version) wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really scare me all that much either. Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies, but the Green Mile while good, is a little slow for me.

  • Freshies

    It was already mentioned but, Cuju should be on here. I also think Pet Semetary should be higher on the list. The sound effects alone in that movie gave me nightmares.

  • Marv in DC

    I like this list a lot but there are a couple ones that I have a problem with.

    “It” was a great book and is one of my favorites, but I thought it didn’t work well as a miniseries at all. The acting wasn’t very good and there is just too much of the story that got left out or dilluted. Pennywise,in the book, is terrifying but was completly underwhelming in the movie. One of the things I have always thought about King was that the movies where he isn’t involved heavily tend to be the best ones. Case in point is His version of “The Shining” as opposed to Kubrick’s. Kubrick’s is superior by far.

    I think “Carrie” should be on this list as well.

    My main problem with this list is the inclusion of “The Mist” I was really excited to see it because I loved the short story so much. And truth be told I was completly enthralled with the movie….until the last two minutes or so. The ending deviated from King’s story soo much and effectively ruined the movie for me. I honestly remember thinking as I was watching that I needed to go out and buy the DVD so I could watch it anytime. Then the final “twist” (if you could call it that) happened and I said to myself “self, don’t ever buy this or rent it again” It was just so amateurish and junior year film school that it ruined what was a fine movie. I am obviously not going to give away spoilers but it just seemed like the director was too full of himself and thought Hardcore equals poignant ending, when in reality it was childish and stupid. King’s ending in the short story just seemed to make more sense in context with the story. In the movie it just seemed to be a way to tie up the end of the story. Sorry to go off on a rant but I really had high hopes for it. I guess I learned my lesson.
    Other than that it is a great list.

  • MJ

    Although some of my favorites were left off…. I loved Cat’s Eye…. this list is AWESOME!! I love Stephen King. He has been scaring the hell out of me for more than 20 years now!!!

  • Metalwrath

    Oh yeah, how come Carrie and Dead Zone aren’t on the list? Those are great movies! Christine, on the other hand, is meh.

  • Metalwrath

    Oh another great Stephen King short story adapted into a movie is APT PUPIL. Its not very well known but I think its pretty awesome, the ending is really cool.

  • smurff

    I did not enjoy The Mist so much, but I think that the Carries needed a mention.

    Thanks Shane.

  • Randall

    Okay, let’s get some things straight here.

    1) Shane, I’m sorry, but Stephen King is most definitely NOT recognized as a great writer of literary fiction in a critical sense, and it is most emphatically NOT true that “some of the best literary fiction of the past 50 years has been penned by King.” Honestly Shane, I realize you’re a huge fan, but dig your head out of your ass. Stephen King is a hack, a formulaic writer of genre fiction. He is not a great artist, even if he himself thinks he is. In fact, there’s some evidence that King has a rather high opinion of his own (very limited) literary skills, which is often a good indicator that said skills are in fact not what he thinks they are. We might call this the Harlan Ellison syndrome. At any rate, it’s no insult to King to admit that he’s certainly popular and knows how to tell a story, but is not *more* than that. Those are in fact admirable qualities and accomplishments. But let’s not overstate his talents and his status. Your claim that King has written “some of the best literary fiction of the past 50 years” is a load of rubbish.

    2) For all this, King is not even the best writer of horror over the last half-century; he is simply the most popular–which is not the primary measure of quality. Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson are, in fact, far better writers, and their output has always outclassed that of King. Moreover, both Bloch and Matheson have proven their versatility within their form, by penning not only novels and stories, but screenplays as well. King, on the other hand, seems to have little ability with the script as a form, and doesn’t even understand a good movie when it’s produced from one of his books (The Shining).

    3) Having said that, your “logic” for leaving off Kubrick’s version of “The Shining” is not only daft, but downright laughable and impossible to grasp. Films are collaborative efforts; a novelist is free to have his opinion of what’s produced from his precious work, but his opinion on it doesn’t automatically negate (or on the other hand, uplift) that film’s value. Moreover, Stanley Kubrick is generally recognized by a consensus of critics to have been one of the greatest film directors in the post-war period… and while “The Shining” wasn’t his best, it was far, far from his worst. It was a terrifying, eerie, excellent piece of work, produced by a master director and visualist. Stephen King, by comparison, is nothing more than the horror-genre version of Erle Stanley Gardner—a limited writer who has a good formula down, but is by no means an “artist.” And oftentimes the author is not, therefore, the best judge of what can be produced from his words. In King’s case, I’d say he was FAR from the best judge.

    4) Your inclusion of clunkers and half-realized crap like “It” and “The Stand” and “Rose Red” over, say, the original version of “Carrie” indicates that you just plain have no taste, Shane. Pure and simple. But then that was rendered obvious when you made your aforementioned gushing statement about King ranking with the literary greats of the last 50 years.

    Sorry to be cruel, but I’ve long labored against this silly need on the part of his fans to try to lift King into the Heights. He hasn’t got it, he never will have it, and he doesn’t belong there. Why not just be happy with what he is? An enjoyable read for some (though actually I’ve never found him such) and an apt storyteller who can produce some chills and scares?

  • Ellen

    I agree with the people saying Kubrick’s version of “The Shining” should be on the list. King’s opinion shouldn’t matter, the list is not “King’s favourite movie adaptions of his books” is it? It’s an amazing film that definately deserves to be on there.

  • Natasha

    I was pissed off for 2 days after I watched The Mist, because of the ending. 1408 was one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

  • Natasha

    Randall you’ve got too much time on you’re hands dude.

  • Natasha


  • Kreachure

    Woohoo, Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies ever, I’m so happy it’s #1!!!

  • londonafter

    i’m so sorry for my ingorance, i didn’t know the shawshank’s redemption was based on a Stephen King’s novel, i’m sorry again, i used to underestimate King’s work, and i started reading his novels a few years ago. He’s an amazing writer and i’ve seen most of this movies, but, i thought kingdom hospital was amazing, stanley kubrick’s version of the shining, but your point is right, but where the hell is Carrie!?? that movie is a classic!!

    i thought the ending of It was horrible, both the movie and the specially the novel, i read almost 1500 pages of pure horror to get to such a lame ending!!??? he obviously ran out of ideas and wanted to finish the book ASAP

  • kofeelite

    The movie version of “Dolores Claiborne” was great (as was the book). Kathy Bates again, Jennifer Jason Lee does dark and brooding so wonderfully and the character actor who plays the drunken, pervy father (I can never remember his name) really gets what he deserves. Vera the rich bitch is soooo creepy-this film should have made the list instead of crap like “The Mist”!

  • MKO

    Must say that “Secret Window” gargled balls. The story was predictable and stupid, and Depp seemed to be phoning it in. Also, though I do not know about the story version, I thought 1408 was incredible, but completely ruined by the ending.

  • Tom

    Stephen King is to horror as Mills & Boon is to romance

  • MartinL

    King’s version of The Shining? KING’S? Like we’re supposed to believe that Stephen Weber would be an improvement over Nicholson? Or an absolute mediocre nobody named Mick Garris would be an improvement over Kubrick? Please. You have a Rebecca Mornay fetish — that’s the only explanation for this insanity. And somebody else mentioned how obnoxious the kid was. (I don’t know that I’d want to punch him in the face, but he didn’t make me feel for him like the kid in the original did.)

    How you could miss Carrie, Christine, Cujo, and the Dead Zone? For that matter Salem’s Lot? In your defense, Shane, I will say that there’s just a hell of a lot of King on film out there. There’s even a Graveyard Shift (based on a late 70s short story of his) and a thing called The Langoliers, which I think was made for the Sci Fi Channel, and which King had a cameo in. But on the other hand, man, I’m seconding Randall: King’s noto ne of the greats. Maheson and Bloch are definitely better. For that matter, you might go back to some of King’s obvious influences, like Lovecraft and Poe. Now those guys could build up some lasting creeps — even if they’re a bit wordy by modern standards. (And both have had their best work lensed with actors like Vincent Price and Boris Karloff … you should really explore that stuff long and deeply, and give us a list on that material.)

  • copperdragon

    Where are???
    The Shining (kubrick version)
    Cat’s Eye

    Those along with
    Pet Sematary
    Stand by Me
    Children of Corn

    would make a better top 10+
    with IT as honorable mention…

  • If I want a piece of fluff reading, King might do. However, under no circumstances will a movie based on fluff reading , be a movie I want to bother seeing.
    I’ve read some of the King short stories when I was desperate for something to read, and that was all that was available. They were okay. Not great, but kept me from having to raid the pantry for labels to read.
    I’ve never understood the widespread worship of King. He’s a hack. He takes an idea an beats it to death in one novel after after another.
    He’s not going to be remembered in 50 years, but William Faulkner will.

  • dan231

    segue – I don’t agree with that. I like King and have read almost all of his books. I have never read Faulkner. Sure King may not be a classic writer in the same category, but you can’t discount his writings. He is a great story teller. I will say most of his movie adaptations are sub par, but I think budget and director vs. original script vision is a huge factor in that.

  • smurff

    # 107 – 108 Natasha I second and third you on that one.

  • PT

    The Shawshank Redemption is without doubt one of the most over rated film ever made. I just can’t understand why it keeps appearing at the top of “Best Film” lists. I can only guess that Mr King and his minions spend all their time voting for it

  • Zac R C

    The ending of The Mist was a really dumb attempt at a “twist” which in itself often ends up simply being a dumb way of letting the villain win for no reason. The Mist is no different. Needlessly melodramatic and the way it flows is unintentionally hilarious.

    What’s more, whether or not the author likes a movie has little to nothing to do with the quality. It has to do with the quality of the adaptation, but it has no impact on anything else unless you’re an idiot who says “book are always better than movies” (A baseless claim as they are two completely different media and you can’t compare them in that way). Stalislav Lem didn’t like Tarkovsky’s Solyaris, Anthony Burgess didn’t like Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, they’re still masterpieces of film. If a director just tries to make a cinematic transcription of the book and nothing more, I’d have to say they’re really bad directors.

    But Misery’s a damn good horror flick.

  • bjhinokcok

    The Langoliers, Riding the Bullet, Thinner, Maximum Overdrive….and the list goes on and on…..
    The scariest book I have ever read in my life was The Shining! And I don’t scare easily…..I would start having panic attacks dang near and have to put it down for a while before continuing…..

  • yoyo

    Great list – The book version of The Stand, Boulder, Colorado is an important locale. Sadly, none of the filming was done in Colorado due to a tricky Amendment. Amendment 2, targeted equal rights to gays & lesbians, was misunderstood and backfired. Many groups worldwide banned anything “Colorado”. But you can get a glimpse of my beautiful hometown in the beginning of Kubrick’s the Shining. King live down the street from my friend while he was writing the Stand and the Shining. We never saw him.

  • Pearlytom

    whats the mist is doing on n°5??

  • KEV

    Pet Sematery is an absolute piece of crap. I think you ran out of movies at about 11 backwards.You should make this a top 10 list.

  • Spacechick

    Was ‘Apt Pupil’ ever made into a movie? I recently read it along with the Shawshank Redemption and thought it was excellent.

  • Kris

    Would’ve liked to see Carrie, but I’m also happy that Storm of the Century made it. I ask people if they’ve seen that movie and they look at me like I’m retarded.

  • em

    Great list! I would swap The Mist out for Apt Pupil, but that’s just my opinion :)

  • hannah

    shawshank redemption is one of the most amazing films of all time.
    like wise greenmile

  • Randall


    Naturally I once again agree with you 100%. I think the fascination with King is another symptom of the dumbing down of our culture. It isn’t that writers like King don’t have their place; after all, if we have a High Culture, then there has to be a Low Culture too–it’s only fair. :-) But as you know, when people want to MIX the two, you get midcult, which stinks no matter how you smell it. (I paraphrase Dwight MacDonald, who said it far better). I don’t think we can go so far as to say that King is midcult, but his followers seem to push him in that direction, and King seems to place himself there by his attitude. (Naturally neither King nor his followers would ADMIT to him being midcult—his followers–some of them, at least, apparently want to place him High). Why? Why this fascination with a hack teller of creepy stories? Well, because more people today have a harder time conceiving of anything better, than people say… oh… 40 or 50 years ago. Back then, we had a rich horror tradition in both films and print. We had good craftsman like Matheson, Bloch, Rod Serling, and dozens of others plying the genre, and even Roger Corman’s and Hammer’s formulaic-but-stylish film-making added into the brew. I guess when exploitation became the POINT instead of a sideline, things started going south. And then King’s reputation was made, as far as I can see, with the original film version of “Carrie,” which resonated with teenagers and created the whole mystique of King. And then he came to seem loftier and “better” than the hack-produced slasher films of the time…. and that developed into this further mystique about him that he was some kind of “great,” some kind of an artiste. And whereas in the old days cream used to rise to the top (more or less) nowadays its celebrity and branding that rise, and the cream gets siphoned off into cult status. King became a “brand” and his name attained celebrity status… and from there we have the situation we see here. A fourth-rate hack writer of chills elevated onto a pedestal of worship.

    I often think that it isn’t because literature is such bad shape that this kind of thing happens, but it’s because FILM is in such bad shape that it happens. We don’t REALLY look to the literary or art scene for our cultural totems and meanings and statements anymore; we look to film and popular music. And while music has had its ups and downs over the years, film has only gotten increasingly sucky. And the overall cultural zeitgeist has gone down into the spiral with it, where names like Stephen King and Steven Spielberg are considered “great” just because they sell a LOT of what they make.

  • copperdragon

    hannah (#128):

    In what way was it “amazing”? The subject itself is dreary, the characters are unoriginal, the ending was predictable, and there were no flash-bang effects to “amaze”.

    I understand you liked the movie, but you are misusing the word “amazing”.

  • Lifeschool

    Lots of personal views today – lots of ideas. Thanks for the list. I’m not a ‘fan’ but am a movie buff. Have enjoyed most of these; and I agree that Shawshank is a good film – though perhaps the Green Mile was better acted. Perhaps a comment on here to clear up the ommissions would be helpful. I always forget to add the obvious until I’ve posted the list!

  • Nelia

    This is really random, but you know who I loved as a kid? R.L. Stein. He wrote this utterly terribly but entertaining horror books. Goosebumps were for kids and then when you got older you could graduate to his books for older kids that generally involved a lot of gruesome deaths for cheerleaders.
    Even at that age I knew they were terrible books, but that didn’t stop me from reading pretty much all of them. Say Cheese and Die! for instance, was about a deadly camera. If someone took your picture with this camera you were pretty much in for it… Good stuff.

  • Nelia

    Damn, errors all over my post, “he wrote these utterly terrible but…”

  • TEX

    104. Randall, 116. segue
    Thank you both for your most perceptive entries.

    And for the rest – EDGAR ALLEN, to those who have evoked your beloved work in comparison to this formulaic hack, do smite them with full fury from wherever you are!

  • Bunbunbunbun

    I’m way to lazy to read through all of the comments to see if anyone has said this before but:

    The movie version of the Mist sucked really, really bad compared to the short story. You didn’t mention it in the list, but they changed the ending in the movie version. That just ruined it for me.

    A great movie you missed was The Langoliers. It followed the original story very closely, and while the graphics were very, very bad, it was an all around great movie.

    Also, I don’t see why people don’t like Stephen King. I adore his novellas and short stories, and I honestly think he’s an incredible writer. His best works, in my opinion, happen to be the ones that aren’t necessarily of the horror genre. I could NOT put down Duma Key and Lisey’s Story (some of his most recent novels) and short stories like The End of the Whole Mess, the Jaunt and Autopsy Room 4 are just incredible! (The End of the Whole Mess made me cry so much!)

  • joebecca

    I have read most of Kings novels.. as far as the movies go, yes, Green Mile should be higher, The Dead Zone should be on this list, and I hated The Mist. One of the dumbest movies i’ve ever seen.

    great list though!

  • jake ryder

    Seen them all read them all. Children of the Corn is a piece of crap. Otherwise good list despite the exclusion of The Dead Zone.

  • stuck8

    I am going to repeat what has already been said, but have to get my 2 cents worth on this one.
    * Agree with others The Dead Zone should be in the list.
    * I hated It. Loved the book, hated the movie. All star cast? It was a bunch of has been TV actors, and the movie was not scary in the least. Tim Curry was ok as the clown, but overall a lame movie.
    * if you were going to include a TV one, I agree that it should have been The Langoliers.
    * And agree with many comments that putting in the TV version of The Shining is a crime! The Shining is one of my all time favorite Scary movies. Great filming, acting, directing, just an all time great quality movie.
    * Bag of Bones is being worked on! I loved this book. I hope they do not go for the cheap shocks on this one and screw it up like they do most of his books. But looking at the director’s past movies, I am not holding my breath.

  • alienrobs

    Christine missing????
    Firestarer missing???
    children of the corn was great when i was about 9 and i Watched it recently, it is crap.
    Kings new short story book is crap as well. i must have read the skeleton crew about 50 times since i was a teen, and was chuffed to get this for christmas.
    Sadly not one story got me thinking.
    Oh well!!!

  • YogiBarrister

    I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King or most of the movies based on his work, but I’m compelled to watch Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me everytime I surf into them.

  • Jael

    The Shining is my favorite movie based on a King novel, mostly because it is one of the few that can’t scare me. My Color Guard team watched this movie pn Halloween and it literally scared the geebus out of the toughest girl on the squad.

  • VioletWings

    the short story “Children of the Corn” was very good, I happen to prefer King’s short stories to his long novels, simply because they get to the point more. However I have read a majoriy of the books mentioned, and I agree with Misery probably the most, what a great book! And a wonderful movie. I loved It in novel form, but the movie was SOOOO drawn out, When it was over i couldnt believe i had just spent a whole afternoon watching it!

  • Becca

    I agree with the placements for all of these EXCEPT the Mist. That movie was incredibly boring and it didn’t feel like King at all, something all these other movies have managed to accomplish. It felt like another generic horror movie, albeit one with a fantastic ending. Dreamcatcher should be where The Mist is. -_-

  • lo

    segue and randall-

    i love you both, but i really do feel that many of king’s short stories (and only the short stories/novellas) are excellent. are they great, immortal literature? no, probably not, but there genuinely are some fantastically told stories in there. there is also quite a cult around his “dark tower” series, i haven’t read them, but a few people i respect hold them in high esteem as books (including the writing quality) and seem to see them as a totally different type of output from his horror pulp fiction. in short, i think the man CAN write, he doesn’t have enough talent to fill all of his VAST output (of mostly formulaic money makers) with it, but it does show up in concentrated doses in some of his short works (and they’re not all great either, segue i don’t know which ones you happened to read, but i assure you there are good ones.)

    back to the list: rose red/the diary of ellen rimbauer was never produced in print until after the TV movie. king wrote it directly for the screen, any “book” form that appeared was a marketing tie in. so when you take that and his TV “shining” into account, it becomes pretty clear that king should never do his own screen adaptations!

    also, “misery” (which i haven’t seen) didn’t invent the word “hobbling” it has long existed as a word referring to a method of temporarily disabling livestock -especially horses- so they couldn’t run away. king just applied the term to a human, not invented it.

    lastly, i saw 1408 after reading the creepy little story, so maybe i “read-in” a creepiness to the film it in actuality lacked? hhhm, thanks for making me think of that.

  • xKaylax


  • Bella

    I love all of these movies! I’ve seen every one except It, so i’ll be sure to check it out!

    Great list!

  • Randall


    Thanks, we love you too… but I never said King wasn’t a decent storyteller. I recognize that he is (though I confess, yes, that having attempted to read him several times when I was younger, I felt it was hit and miss… sometimes he was engaging… but just as often not). But being able to tell a story well is NOT the end all of being a good (let alone great) writer. John Steinbeck could tell stories too. But he was not a great writer. He was middling at best. And King is no Steinbeck.

  • Miss Destiny

    The only one of these movies I have seen is Secret Window, which I thought was a great movie!

    I haven’t read any of King’s books until now. I just started reading the Dark Tower series. I’m nearly finished with the first book and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it!

  • Tj

    36. teapixie
    52. Writergal

    These comments make me sad, not because they disagree with me but because they sadly have no backing.

    1. You want some great horror/cult authors with some range and originality? Read Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, Mark Z. Danielewski or Edward Lee (if you can take cheesy gore fests).

    2. By saying that movies getting made or a lot of people read someone is a way of implying that they are talented in any way is about the most fluff filled comment on this board. I guess Uli Bowl is a talented and great director then, that L.Ron Hubard is a god of science fiction writing, that makes Phillip K. Dick look like a loser.

    King is mediocre in every way, and he is loved for it. he is a horror author that never pushes your buttons, he never gets under your skin, his only good tricks are using tried and true means of 5 year old horror (Clowns, are you kidding me? It is no ones reason that they are afraid of clowns, you were afraid of clowns first but It may have been your first contact with one due to their lack of popularity.)

    Hes safe and secure horror, hes a metal band that plays power ballads about the girl that got away every time.

  • Egg

    Glad the Mist is on here, I think it was one of the films that really captured Stephen King’s characters – realistic but with a thin, distinct layer of cheese. Dreamcatcher was probably the truest King movie – the story, characters and execution were perfect.
    I really can’t wait until people get their ass in gear and make Cell already – it’s my favourite of his books and you can never go wrong with a zombie movie!

  • steve d

    If I may comment on King as a writer, I would hardly call him a hack. He may not be a writer of literature, but that does not make him a bad writer. He has some good books and some poor ones, just as a lot of writers. Many of whom claim to be writers of true “literature.” There are really bad writers out there making a living on it, many are making an incredibly good living (Twilight series anyone? Pure crap! In fact, King himself recently dissed the author for being a bad writer!) The thing is, none of what he does is meant to be “literature.”

    And the films that come from his books, just as the majority of movies made, are meant for entertainment. Pure and simple.

    Pulp fiction has been around for decades, and just because it doesn’t live up to the haughty taste of some folks, doesn’t make it bad.

    Opinions, opinions, opinions!!!

  • Andree

    flamie: I totally agree. I was so disappointed by The Mist, I felt sick about the $10 I wasted renting it. And because my brother suggested I rent it, I will never trust his taste in movies again. He violated our movie trust. He’s lucky I still talk to him.

  • Egg

    I happen to think Stephen King is great and I read a lot of Algernon Blackwood and etc. His writing is different, his characters are interesting and to people who say “he’s a hack” really… shush. If he’s not your taste then fine, but to say he’s bad because he has no place in your room of classic Gothic and Post-war literature is being elitist. “I don’t know what people see in this Tarentino character, DW Griffith was FAR superior to that hack.” “Quite so good chap *smokes cigar*” Give it a rest, we know you’re intellectuals already. “Dumbing down of our culture” wow guys.

  • sheltiesan

    Excellent list, although it probably should have been a top 20 or 25. ;-)

  • oouchan

    I really like King as a horror writer. Give me a thrill…not gore. That just makes be want to…well, puke! Why would I want to read such other authors as Clive Barker or Edward Lee (read both to my dismay) when I can get that scary feeling from King or even Koontz.
    I agree he is not the best out there. There are way more fantastic writers then he will ever be. But to be entertained…give me a King novel. I have read all of his works and many of them more than once…just for the thrill.
    Also, if he was as bad as many of you say…why did you read his works, buy his books, watch his movies? He is popular becuase of the cheap thrill he can give. As long as you keep that in mind…enjoy!

    He is a decent writer…that’s all. However even though the stories are good…MOST of the movies suck.

  • lo

    randall: OT but about steinbeck- i read it so long ago, but i remember thinking “east of eden” was very well written. i attempted “grapes of wrath” and “travels with charlie” but simply wasn’t interested in either of them.

    but i have to know, do you think “east of eden” is poor writing? also i’d love a few examples of what books you find to be truly great (so i can read them if i haven’t already.)

  • Mabel

    99. Marv in DC: I actually liked the ending of “The Mist” for the FILM. I wondered what they were going to do, since the story ending is somewhat ambiguous. The place where they messed up in that one was pausing an incredibly knuckle-biting scene in the pharmacy to show off a stupid special effect (spiders inside a guy) that not only completely shattered the tension, but gave away what was about to happen next. Otherwise, I thought it a very good adaptation, and the ending made me fall off the couch!

    As for the rest, “Children of the Corn” is a mediocre short story that made a terrible film. “Misery” was good not because it was scary, but because the characters were so good. King is at his best when he concentrates on character, not on trying to scare you. I enjoy his books even when they don’t scare me. (And you can’t scare me with this stuff – I’m too jaded.)

    “The Dead Zone” is a good example of character over scares. It certainly has scary parts, but the overall emphasis is on the people and how this situation affects them. It’s a very strong book and the movie was well done, with good actors.

    “The Green Mile” was AWESOME. Tom Hanks is great. I read the book the way SK wanted me to: in installments, not waiting for the compilation (which I have now).

    I agree that there are better, more literary writers, but King will always be a special favorite because I usually enjoy his stories very much. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid and it’s been interesting to watch his body of work change over the years.

  • youngchuck72

    i absolutely love shawshank redemption i agree with that
    the shining is a great fillm also

  • ericdraven26

    i didnt read through all 158 comments, but a quick correction, shawshank redemption is actually number 1 on IMDB

  • guy

    usually dont watch much scary movies because they are not good but almost all these movies are ones i have watched time and time again.

  • Liza

    I have to say this is a good list but I would’ve made it differantly. I’ve actually seen all of these movies myself and I’ve read some of the books they are bases on. I’m surprised to see Rose Red was included, I found it to be pretty disappointing and way too long and boring at times. I’m also surprised that Carrie wasn’t included. It’s an iconic film and King really rose to fame b/c of this story. It’s also an iconic horror film that takes place in a high school setting that is now a popular genre.
    I was also surprised to see that Cujo wasn’t included since that is also an iconic film. I would’ve replaced storm of the century with Cujo since Storm is good but it’s also too long and some scenes were just not needed at all. So, overall I did enjoy reading it and I hope my comments are thought worthy. thanx for reading ;)

  • Shadow

    Woo Hoo!!!!! Awesome list!!!!

    My first King novel was ‘Rose Madder’, and an excellent novel it was…. kept me up for several hours a night for a week when I was fifteen. ‘It’ has to be among the best, as is “Insomnia”, and a lot of others…

  • Safiya

    Hello, I am a huge Stephen King fan and I buy every last one of his books and am in the process of collecting his movies. Actually, all of his books are magnificant, however, I have been disappointed by a lot of the movies, I don’t think the directors and the ones that write the screenplays based off of his books have done a good job (Stephen King does not write the screenplay for his movies). The Shining (Stephen Kubrik’s) is definitely on to put. Although I have seen Stephen King’s version, his is actually a little more erier, but Kubrik’s had much better actors involved….Who can forget Jack Nicholson. But there were some classics that were extremely good that did not make the cut. If I wrote the list I would include, in no particular order:

    1. Green Mile
    2. Cujo
    3. Carrie
    4. Pet Semetary
    5. Stand By Me
    6. It (does get boring after the second half, even in the book)
    7. Rose Red
    8. Misery
    9. Needful things
    10 Sleepwalkers
    11. Silver Bullet
    12. Children of the Corn
    13. Monkey Shines
    14. The Shining
    15. Firestarter

  • Uncle Sam

    Personally I’d have placed “Hearts in Atlantis” and “The Green Mile” higher on the list than “The Shining” and “The Mist”: For me the latter two were way too BORING++ and Cliche’d++ to be as high as they were. As for “It” – has virtually turned me off Stephen King -based movies forever!

    I also tend to believe King’s Novellas and Short Stories are actually far superior to his novels – I think he tries to be TOO shocking in the full-length format.

  • Levi

    The elderly woman in The Stand is Mother Abigail Freemantle, not Grandma Moses.

  • cannabiscallan

    I’ve seen 9 out of 15 of these but haven’t read any of the books :)

  • kittym

    When I was a child “It” scared the bejeezus out of me. I watched it again for the first time in over a decade a few months ago, and found it completely ridiculous and totally un-scary. Go figure.

    I’ve never read any of Stephen King’s work, but I have seen all of these movies, and while some I truly enjoy, others completely put me off the thought of reading one of King’s novels. He is the next on my book list, though, whenever I get the time to actually read recreationally again.

    Oh, and I’m giving a shout-out to Kubrick’s “The Shining” as well — much, much better than King’s version.

  • lo: sorry it took so long to get back to you, but I was having trouble connecting with LV for several hours.
    I don’t remember all of the short stories of King’s that I read, but the one’s I liked I do recall: The Body, 1408, Needful Things.
    Those three had something compelling in them. They all, if I remember correctly, were morality plays.
    Since I generally read non-fiction, 3 to 1 in fact, I am very picky, very, very choosy about my fiction. I saw you ask Randall about Steinbeck. I read all of Steinbeck in high school and loved it. I don’t know how I’d feel about it now, as an adult.
    Faulkner and Joyce I love and Tolstoy I love. When I hear people say they can’t understand or “get through” one of them, I’m astonished! I find them easy to understand. My children were reading them in high school, so the “too difficult” label doesn’t hold water with me. Boring, is a personal opinion, and that I can buy.

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  • the Raven

    just chiming in to say that hearts in atlantis is a beautiful story. er, several stories. either way, it was one of my favorites…

    and misery was my first stephen king book….and i believe the first film based on his work that i saw. pure win, that.

  • IononthePont

    Ah,Shawshank Redemption was extraordinary film, maybe one of best I’ve seen in my life. The same could be said about Misery; Kathy Bates is simply marvelous in this movie. However,I cannot say the same about Red Rose. It was interesting story, but the movie simply put me into a sleep.
    I’ll agree with whoever said that Dead Zone should have been on the list.

  • anthony p

    I loveds the Mist, has such a funnily morbid ending, thought dreamcatchers might be on here but hey cant disagree with the list King has an awesome style of writing.

  • kayla

    Oh man, Rose Red? That was one of the most boring miniseries ever! I still can’t believe I sat and watched the whole thing. Carrie should have been on this list and the original Shining should be on there as well.

    Any King fans hear the rumors of a Dark Tower movie?

  • TenthxTry

    no langoliers? :/

  • lo

    segue- since i typed that i read “east of eden” “so long ago” i’ve been trying to pinpoint when it was. i’ve read it more than once, but i think it was first when i was 16 and last when i was 19 or 20. maybe it wouldn’t seem as lovely to me now, but i remember this one page that was nearly a prose poem that stayed with me, i wish i had the book here. i found it (thanks google):

    “Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the please of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then – the glory – so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.”

    ~John Steinbeck, East of Eden

    i’m dying to hear what books/authors strike randall as “great.” these last few “book lists” have made me so sad that nearly all my books are in storage 6 hours away :(

  • Mom424

    Segue, Randall: If you read The Body did you not also read Apt Pupil? Very creepy story with none of the contrivances possible; no supernatural element. One of better written stories too. I believe SK has become a victim of his own popularity – he doesn’t need or heed an excellent editor; his stuff will sell anyway. Sometimes it is a good thing when someone prevents us from indulging in our every whim. He could be a great technical writer if he chose that path – and it shines through every so often regardless.

  • lo

    and for the record, i am a steven king fan, that’s why i know random things like the fact that “rose red” was written directly for the screen by king and was not a “real book” prior.

    mom424- “rose red” is a great example of king indulging his every whim just because he can! (it’s pretty poor, but i still enjoyed it as a haunted house yarn). i’ve read few of his novels, but think i’ve read nearly all the short stories. this list has made me think of one called “Little Sisters of Eluria” that i read recently and enjoyed.

  • Noman

    “no langoliers? :/”

    Ha, that’s what I was gonna say.

  • Phillies

    I can’t believe it took so long for someone to mention the Dark Tower series. As for the movies (it’ll have to be movies), I haven’t heard anything. I can’t imagine them being very good though…

    As for the whole “Is King good?” debate, as someone who’s read a decent share of his books, he is a very entertaining read. That’s all. He is the literary equivalent of eating potato chips. They’re delicious, and you can’t have just one…but they do nothing for you nutritionally

  • robby57

    where is thinner
    one of the best stephen king films ever.
    much better than some of the films and terrible mini series on here!

  • Zac R C

    153. Egg – February 12th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    DW Griffith IS better than Quentin Tarantino though.

  • GoLightly

    Everybody certainly has their opinions on King’s works and films. I’ve read everything he’s published and seen all the movies/mini-series. I have a Master’s in American Lit. and I think Stephen King is an incredible storyteller. If anyone has had a bad experience with one of his works, I’d suggest skipping all of his short stories and anything written after his accident. King seems to write short stories as a hobby because he does not have the skill for them. Comparing King to Poe is ridiculous because Poe is the Short Story Master. I say read The Gunslinger and you will be forced to reconsider King’s talent for storytelling.

    Matheson is derivative and predictable.
    Faulkner is overrated.

  • chaosinc

    #64 BWRabbit
    I seriously thought that I was the only person who knew who Brian Lumley/Harry Keogh are. I own and have read every one of the books in all aspects of this series, and love them!

    As for the question about Storm of the Century, it was released originally (before the mini series) in screenplay form. At first, when i picked up the book, my thoughts were that it was going to be a hard read. Turns out it wasn’t.

  • Cyn

    admin. note –
    post a link or click a link at your own risk.

    posting links will put your comment into moderation.
    clicking a link will not only take you off site but could also infect your computer. a comment was posted just recently that when clicked set off my security measures and then crashed my system. so ‘clicker’ beware.

    i would urge you to not post any hyper links at all but simply the text info. for someone to copy/paste and follow the link in that way.
    better safe than sorry.
    ‘your safety is my concern’ admin ;)

  • DK

    Phillies (178): That is the most perfect analogy! That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about SK, I enjoy reading his books because he is a great story teller. I disagree with whoever stated that his short stories are bad, I think he excels at short stories.

    Anyhow, as for the list, I agree with the top 3 absolutely. There are some others I’ve never seen, and I think the Kubrick version of Shining was excellent, regardless of King’s opinion. I do wonder why Carrie was left off the list, I’ve always thought that was one of the better movies made based on a King story.

  • jesse

    i believe shawshank is first on IMDB not second, haha its cool though

  • 174. lo: That piece from East of Eden is burned into my brain. I think it whenever the air is the perfect temperature and I’m driving with the top down, or when it’s almost sunset and I’m knee deep in the ocean, running through the surf…I think it when I’m gardening and the deer wander into the garden, or just when walking down a country lane with my camera. It’s a truism that everyone should learn at sometime in their early lives.
    175. Mom424: If I read Apt Pupil (I’m guessing you assumed so because it must have been part of a collection which included The Body), I don’t remember it.

  • DK

    Oh Apt Pupil was just chilling. Yes Segue it was part of the same collection. The Body (Stand by me), Shawshank, and Apt Pupil were all in the same collection of novellas called Different Seasons. There was one other story in that book called The Breathing Method, which was alright, but I think the other 3 surpassed it. Apt Pupil stayed with me for quite a while after reading it, stories don’t usually linger like that for me, and even now just thinking about it makes me shudder. It was made into a movie with some actors I like, but I haven’t seen it, and I’ve heard it was pretty terrible.

  • Tig

    the picture of It is so terrible!!
    im so scared!

  • sharlu

    I agree with Shawshank, we had to watch that for a film study when I was in 6th form and I have to say I never got sick of it. But c’mon! Why no Carrie!?!?

  • gabi319

    I recorded Rose Red when it aired, sat down to watch it, fell asleep well before the first installment finished… I figured I was just exhausted so later I sat down, searched for where I left off (this was a VHS recording) and promptly fell asleep again within 30 minutes. By that point I realized it was the movie and not exhaustion. It was a couple days struggle to get through the whole movie and by the end I was angrier at myself for wasting so much of my time than at Stephen King for making such a crappy movie.

    I recently read Shawshank Redemption and was disappointed. I didn’t like it but I loved the movie (usually it’s the opposite for me). The only thing I liked about it was that occasionally, my inner monologue would read it with Morgan Freeman’s voice.

  • kazana

    The Shawshank Redemption has to be one of my favourite movies of all time! cool list

  • Adrian

    I think that saying that S.K it’s like potato chips is so rude and offensive to many of us who really enjoys S.K works, sure, some of them are just plain good old “guilty pleasures” but some of them are just great, “Rage” is just a superb novel, even praise by most academic writers,”On writing” has more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book i have ever read or reviewed, and “Bag of Bones” with a a great director can become in one hell of a film, King’s work most definitely is literature, maybe not the one preferred by the academic-literary elite, but it is literature.

    I suggest reading S.K acceptance speech when he was honored with the National Book Award, here’s a few paragraphs.

    “Tokenism is not allowed. You can’t sit back, give a self satisfied sigh and say, “Ah, that takes care of the troublesome pop lit question. In another twenty years or perhaps thirty, we’ll give this award to another writer who sells enough books to make the best seller lists.” It’s not good enough. Nor do I have any patience with or use for those who make a point of pride in saying they’ve never read anything by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark or any other popular writer.

    What do you think? You get social or academic brownie points for deliberately staying out of touch with your own culture? Never in life, as Capt. Lucky Jack Aubrey would say. And if your only point of reference for Jack Aubrey is the Australian actor, Russell Crowe, shame on you.”

    If an elevator full of people starts free-falling from the 35th floor of the skyscraper all the way to the bottom, one of those view elevators, perhaps, where you can watch it happening, in my opinion, no one is going to say, “Goodbye, Neil, I will see you in heaven.” In my book or my short story, they’re far more apt to bellow, “Oh shit” at the top of their lungs because what I’ve read and heard tends to confirm the “Oh shit” choice. If that makes me a cynic, so be it.

    I remember a story on the nightly news about an airliner that crashed killing all aboard. The so-called black box was recovered and we have the pilot’s immortal last four words: “Son of a bitch”. Of course, there was another plane that crashed and the black box recorder said, “Goodbye, Mother,” which is a nicer way to go out, I think”

    “There’s a great deal of good stuff out there and not all of it is being done by writers whose work is regularly reviewed in the Sunday New York Times Book Review. I believe the time comes when you must be inclusive rather than exclusive”.


  • teapixie

    Tj, Tj, Tj,
    What can I say. I went back and reread my comments, and, as suspected, never claimed that King is a great author. I said I am a fan. My reading spans many genres and authors. I’m not bogged down in one particular area. I have watched a number of films based on his works and in most cases have been disappointed.
    I find films based on his non-horror work much more enjoyable than many of the horror movies. The Shawshank Redemption is an outstanding film, as are The Green Mile and Stand By Me.
    I still don’t understand how this makes me trailer trash. That seems to be an awfully rash and harsh description for someone who doesn’t even live anywhere near a caravan park, let alone a trailer park. I assume from your wording that you live in the U.S. Not everyone does, you know.
    If I’m wrong, I apologise, and come to the conclusion that you are just an idiot.

  • Sus

    overall decent list I think…but The Green Mile should 250% be above The Mist…that movie was HORRIBLE I thought. Never scared me for a minute and I’m EASY to scare haha. I don’t disagree having The Mist on there in general because most people I know did like it, but I don’t see how it could possibly be higher ranked than The Green Mile.

  • Randall


    Every writer has his or her flaws, so you ask me to name authors that I consider “great” and I’m hesitant. Even Dickens sometimes wanders between high-writing and hack-writing. So does Proust, and and any number of other big names you could think of. Others are sometimes pedantic or boring.

    I’d suggest to you DH Lawrence, but Lawrence at times can be a bore, and even at times edges close to purple prose. But there are a few books where no one surpasses him.

    I’m a huge admirer of Henry Miller, and I consider him “great” but not in the way that we mean. Miller often went overboard with his surrealistic sloppiness; he was an incautious, at times messy writer. Nevertheless, Tropic of Cancer is still one of the greatest books ever written, and a few other of Miller’s books are nearly as good.

    Faulkner was great, but also had his flaws.

    Orwell is another one I admire, but I don’t go to him, usually, for beautiful moments of prose (though occasionally he IS beautiful). I go to him for clean, spare writing that is nearly flawless. I’m not talking about 1984, or Animal Farm, which are not his best books–but the only ones people seem to know. I’m talking about “Keep the Aspidistera Flying” and “Down and Out in Paris and London” and “Homage to Catalonia” and “Burmese Days.”

    Nikos Kazantzakis is great.

    Louis-Ferdinand Céline

    Joseph Conrad



    Melville (but his poetry is awful).

    Henry James (though he can be an awful bore)


    Thomas Hardy


    Andre Gide


    Herman Hesse

    —all are “great” in one way or another. Many more I would call “good”: Pynchon, Fitzgerald, Graves, Bellow, etc. etc. etc.

    Above all James Joyce is great. Sometimes, yes, pedantic and dense, and hard to grasp. Cold and precise. But “Dubliners,” for all its flaws, is to me still the greatest collection of stories ever written. And “Portrait of the Artist as Young Man” one of the greatest novels. And certainly “Ulysses” has a place all its own.

    I could go on, but it’s morning and I haven’t had my coffee yet. If this’ll hold you for now, great.


  • Pengi05

    Okay so I haven’t watched Pet Sematary in years since I was a little kid but as a kid it was the only movie that for whatever reason scared the crap out of me. This is coming from someone who had a Freddy Kruger themed bedroom since she was 3 (night light, sheets, dolls, etc…). I have seen 11 of the 15 movies mentioned. 1408 was the first movie me and my current bf ever saw together. Anything with Johnny Depp gets my vote. :) I like this list

  • TEX

    I like potato chips, but I can’t read SK – but I’m not knocking his fans out there. At the very least reading isn’t a waste of time, and you should read what you enjoy.
    I admit to being a Steinbeck fan since I first read “The Red Pony” when I was ten years old, forced to do a book report. In the school library looking for thinnest of books, and one about ponies. How could I go wrong? I discovered how dark prose could be – it was like a slap in the face. Life as a series of disappointments and the futility of hope, in some perverse way made me feel better.

  • Barlow

    sheesh… and i thought bickerings like these only happened in youtube. relax guys, your intellectual vanities aren’t being questioned here.

    some guy mentioned cat’s eye, that was good specially that quiters inc with james woods. hilarious. with music from the police.

    how bout the running man? yeah it was cheesy but so what? its an arnold scwarzenegger movie. it’s not like they set out to remake the godfather.

    and that salem’s lot on tv with david soul was creepy as well.

  • 195. Randall: Good lord, Randall! We even read alike! I’m beginning to think you’re my long lost brother (not that I ever had a long lost brother).

  • Miss Misery

    Where is Carrie? (1976, please burn the 2002 remake)

    And Salem’s Lot? (1979, please burn the 2004 remake)

    And Christine?

    And you could probably throw in Silver Bullet for an honorable mention.

  • oouchan

    Miss Misery:
    Forgot about Silver Bullet! That was a great one! The part when his electric wheelchair died on the bridge and the priest was sloowwwly walking toward him….

  • Randall


    Maybe I am….

    But of course, we’re simply both possessed of excellent taste, and we’re both well-educated and/or similarly educated, and both damn smart… and how about some more self-patting on the back? ;-)

  • psychosurfer

    195. Randall, are you familiar with Miyamoto Musashi?

    Shane Dayton, the more I read your lists, the more I disagree with your likes.

  • Randall


    “…are you familiar with Miyamoto Musahi?”

    Only with his art.

  • 202. Randall:…and how about some more self-patting on the back? ;-)
    Oh my, Randall, I’m blushing at the extremely naughty thought which whizzed through my brain!
    You knew it would, too!

  • psychosurfer

    204. Randall, Wow big confusion there sorry, I meant Yukio Mishima (I´m currently reading “The book of the 5 rings” by Musashi hence the confusion).

    I find Mishima´s work (and life) astounding and consider his prose to match any of those giants you mentioned.

  • Bella

    I love this list! I’ve seen most of these movies. Some of my favourites are The Shining, Children of the Corn and It.
    The books are very well written.

  • Randall


    heh heh…

    I hope it didn’t go by too fast… ;-) That wouldn’t be like me at all. ;-)

  • Randall


    Yes, Mishima… I tried reading him once, but got distracted. I’ve meant for a while to take another shot at him.

    It’s interesting how the lives of some writers can be so strange, sad, tragic, or even seedy—but their works can be so brilliant and sublime. Mishima is a good example–basically he was, in real life, a fascist who loved boys and I believe treated his wife abysmally, and ended up committing hara kiri.

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  • ringtailroxy

    I have been an avid King fan for decades. Next to Poe, (and some Barbara Kingsolver books) he’s about all the fiction I can swallow.

    (I’m mostly a non-fiction, David Quammen & Richard Dawkins kinda gal)

    If you have any horror genre fiction recommendations, I’d be pleased to hear them. Mind you i said HORROR… not GOREFEST.


  • Randall


    I’ll tell you a lil’ secret roxy. As you know, I am a writer. And I’ve got this novel thing that I’m trying to bring to completion, and maybe it’ll make me a household name or maybe it’ll only make me a few hundred bucks. I don’t know. And as you know, I was once upon a time a serious English major with pretensions of academic greatness, and then I came to my senses and did other things (many other things) instead. Blah blah blah, long story. But the point is, as you know, I am involved, in several different ways, with the Life of Fiction (we might say).

    But my secret is, I’m not a big fiction reader myself. Oh, I’ve read tons of it—some that I was forced to, much that I wanted to… I’ve sought out quite a bit of it. But I am not an AVID reader of fiction, and certainly not of my contemporaries (if it’s not premature to use that term, but I guess it is). I feel I have great taste in fiction, I know what’s good—I’m confident in my critical skills. But when you get right down to it, I really prefer to *read* non-fiction… History, Art Criticism, Art History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Science of all kinds… many such things. Perhaps it’s the push-pull between the artist and the scholar in me, I dunno. Or maybe it’s the ADD.

    Anyway… horror genre fiction recommendations? Richard Matheson and/or Robert Bloch. There’s two I’d recommend right off the bat.

  • Sara

    In The Stand movie, it wasn’t “Grandma Moses” everyone flocked to – it was Mother Abigail. I didn’t read the book, so maybe Grandma Moses was the name in it.

  • Kevin

    Great list, I have seen every one of these movies multiple times and I can’t get enough of them. However, I would put Christine at #2 and move the Green Mile to #3. Cujo to #4 and remove 1408 and Secret Window altogether. But maybe that is just my dislike for Johnny Depp coming out.

  • 211. ringtailroxy: Glad to see someone else knows the joys of David Quammen! While you’re enjoying his writing, and Richard Dawkins, don’t forget Jared Diamond…and don’t start with Guns, Germs, and Steel. Start with something like the Third Chimpanzee.

  • madmex

    The first adult book I read was The Dead Zone. After that I was hooked and read everything I could of Stephen King’s works.
    Great list.
    Hopefully they will do The Dark Tower well.

  • Madalliw

    ummm…..Firestarer? I loved the book. I agree the movie was not quite as good but I am still surprised it didn’t make the list.

  • Anon

    Randall, (195), also segue & lo,

    Diverging from the topic, if not the thread.

    Randall, it concerns your list within a list, which might be added to but not improved. I think ‘Nabokov’s Blues’ by Johnson and Coates would be appreciated by all of you. Despite the title, it has nothing to do with clinical depression or jazz! It eulogises Nabokov’s fine scientific achievements and explores their relationship with his literary genius. It also analyses reaction to his science by the literary world, and scientific reaction to his literature.

    The book was gifted to me by an American friend and colleague who majored in literature and once intended to specialise in Nabokov and Chinese grammar, but ended up professionally in the same line as myself. I discovered his ‘full house’ shelves of Nabokov when we stayed with him during a lecture tour of the West Coast, and we shared our reciprocal passion for the author.

    Cocincidentally, Nabokov’s scientific study region overlaps ours, the southern temperate Andes, although he never visited down here.

  • Bella

    I agree that Carrie would have been a good choice for this list. But its jfraters decision, not ours. :D

  • Adrian

    “True individualists tend to be quite unobservant; it is the snob, the would-be-sophisticate, the frightened conformist, who keeps a fascinated or worried eye on what is in the wind”.

    Louis Kronenberger

    A quote, that appears to me, fit’s well in here.

  • 218. Anon: I’m always thrilled to get another good recommendation to add to my ever growing list of “books to buy and read”.
    On another note, Anon, I am going to do a series of those “exoticized” photos, my son calls them “psychedelic”, in a triptych. Of the other two, one will be a normal rendition and the other will have all the colors dropped out, but printed in black & white as if in color, then hand colored. They’ll be matted together.
    Today, I received my Derwent Coloursoft Pencil set of 72, in the beautiful wooden box…a thing I have desired forever. I’m jazzed!

  • spinfreely

    The story/novella that should be made into a movie is
    The Long walk written as Richard Bachman.
    The first thing I ever read by S.K. and it hooked me for life.
    I still get the shivers thinking about the first “ticket”

  • lo

    Randall- thank you for your list! always interesting to hear what we all deem of “great” merit.

    i own “portrait of the artist…” and a few works by others on your list, and must make the sad admission that i haven’t had time to read them! i LOVE owning books, more than any other material, non-living (plants and turtles) good. old, glorious used editions, beautiful new ones, i’m a bit of a bibliophile. i went through a patch where i had some income and living space to let me buy some works i simply felt i needed to read, then my life changed a bit and i was traveling and with much less spending money, everything went into storage, new books were borrowed from friends, not bought.

    i’m visiting my parents in about a month (and it will be my birthday) so this will be a great time to dig through my book boxes and find them. perhaps it will be my birthday present from my own past! ;)

    Anon- thanks for your addition to the list-in-a-list as well.

    and segue thanks for the great comments too. i will look up some stories from your old acquaintance Charles Beaumont (i do have access to a university and a municipal library, will have to control the urge to buy new books). i remember reading “free dirt” in an anthology. the story of his early death and his family is tragic.

  • meiz

    The Shawsank redemption is best movie ever! And I just knew it was adapted from King’s novel!!

  • mcshemp


  • Paramneisa

    I absolutely love The shawshank redemption, one of my most favourite movies ever. I’m just odd but I think Tim Robbins is so cute in that movie.

  • Anon

    Adrian, (220),

    “True individualists tend to be quite unobservant…

    A quote, that appears to me, fit’s well in here.”

    But not, I would suggest, in many other contexts. I am a natural history field investigator. Unobservance would deny me critical specimens. As a combat pilot it might lose you your life: as a lawyer your case: as a detective your guilty party: as an angler your fish: and as an auctioneer your top bidder, to name but a few.

    Maybe what you have in mind is something more or less related to what we insecurely secure children used to know as showing off, but rather more adult and sophisticated here. You might then add: if the cap fits …

    But maybe that approach is to a degree what LV invites and needs anyway. My solution on finding any LV topic or thread an overgrown path of dense, unwanted (by me) knowledge is to give it the bum’s rush …

  • Mary

    THANK YOU for putting the miniseries version of the Shining on this list!! For anyone who has read the book and has an appreciation for storyline and plot and not just “thrills and chills” this version is amazing! I always try and convince friends and family to watch it over Kubrick’s horrible rendition but no one ever wants to. I love it so much, as that is one of my favorite books of his as well and the movie just depicts it so well.

    Green Mile should be number 1. No book or movie has effected as much as both of these, I love it unconditionally and will never watch it again for the horribly deep emotional scars I have from watching it the one and only time – and from reading it. An amazing story.

  • diogenes

    -continued from the “the overatednovels list”-

    …….I havent read any book by King. I think I read a short story in a collection book of horror shorts once, but dont remember which one. but I admire his backwoods-like humor (and maybe his down to earthness) from what I have picked up on, from movies and his cameos & interviews or articles. I know I read that he is ,by far, the most succesful horror writer ever and I suppose this success is measured on sales (which in some ways is suppose to be connected to his populiarity). But lets face it, if one wants to publish what one has wrote than there must be a wish to have it be read. All the Grisham interviews I have seen in the past week or so (because of his twenty third(?) finished novel), brings up King for his ability to write a certain astonishing amount of pages each day. He’s a great story teller and a great writer for the shear fuel in him for writing . Kubrick himself acknowledged the makebelieve aspect within his own craft…acknowledged artifice and acknowledged reality…. acknowledged that King was not within the same lexicon of the so called literary greats, but with horror and fantasy, in my guesswork, a separate lexicon exists. Artifical is only believable if it is based in our own understanding of nature and reality. This silly balance stretches with taste and experience , intelect and personality.It can be a difficult set of truths to play with, in my opinion. Because the role of truth ,by self priciple… and ficticious truth by way of a broadening artistic reciever. But,the Hi and Lo and the clear division and blurry disolve between, has lot to do with and intrigue of the mind. Whatever that means.

  • diogenes

    oops, just wanted to get out there that I like King simply for the fact that his “writer’s upbringing” was directly fathered by The Ackermeister and Gaines.

  • Grogblossom

    How can you not love Kubrick’s feel-good Shining?

  • Grogblossom
  • Adrian

    For 227 Anon.

    The quote was in relation to what some call “Self appointed literature elite” or the more common word “Snobs”.

    I hate it when someone appoints themselfs as a higher literature authority and saying “that is like eating popcorn, or yes yes that is for white trash” sad for someone to be so far apart of popular culture.

    In the words of mexican poet Jaime Sabines, “there are two kinds of poets, the kind that says “light…blue light…light that touches my soul in the intrensic ways of love”, and the ones who when they step at a stone they say “that fucking stone”

    Best regards.


  • Stormie

    IT is the reason I have a fear of clowns my older siblings forced me to watch it when I was pretty young.

  • redhawtharley

    “The Langoliers” made me scared to fly.

    I love Stephen King, and I enjoyed all of these movies (except IT. Damn clowns.)

    I can’t wait for Roland to come to life on a Dark Tower movie!!

  • duckyjem

    My boyfriend is terrified of clowns and yet likes the film Stephen King’s It. I love green mile it one of my fav films. I really should watch Secret Window again cos its a good film.

  • Anon

    Adrian, (233),

    Ah yes.

    An authority: Someone who conveys by statement or implication: This is the way it is because I say so.

    A humble consumer: One who begins, “Personally, I hate (love) this …” or “In my opinion ….”

    Take it on from there.

  • captain howdy

    What about Salem’s Lot…a great read and a very good adaptation for TV.

  • Savanti Romero

    Shawshank, The Stand, 1408, (TV Version) Shining, The Mist. But what about Night Flier, Kingdom Hospital and Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

  • Lizzie

    This list is a great affirmation of King’s often ignored genius/prolific writing!

  • 233. Adrian: For 227 Anon: The quote was in relation to what some call “Self appointed literature elite” or the more common word “Snobs”.
    I hate it when someone appoints ***themselfs*** as a higher literature authority and saying…
    I do so love when someone decides to lambast another for being more educated and more intelligent than they, therefore “snobs”, and only serves to underscore the absurdity of their being equals by misusing the English language. As noted above; themselfs (*NOT* a word), should be themselves.

  • Vandal

    “IT” was copy of Dean Koontz, “Phantoms”.
    “Rose Red” was based exactly on the “The Haunting” which was remade with Liam Neeson (SP?). Almost exactly the same.
    “The Stand” was ‘mayhaps’ as long and as boring as the book.
    Other stories are great original works however. BUT, where is ‘Carrie’, ‘Cujo’, ‘Christine’?
    Admittedly a great writer, poor actor, smoker, drinker, but I think a more well rounded list is needed. But it is your list…

  • Adrian

    Yeah well Segue, english is not my first language, spanish is, so im still learning, if you want to make fun of that, so be it.

    As to your words, what was first the egg or the chicken??, so you decided that you are more educated and intellegent than me, based on what? on me saying that people “in my humble opinion” (Thanks Anon..i mean that) someone shouldnt blast anyone for reading S.K books, and i even wasn’t talking about if the cap fits.


  • 243. Adrian: You made the first move by calling Anon a snob. As he is a friend, I am not about to let that go unanswered.
    Are you seriously asking which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’m sure you can’t be. You sound too intelligent for that.

  • Adrian

    MM i actually didn’t call him a snob, i was referring to Tj i believe is he’s or her nickname,calling many of who enjoy S.K words “White trash” it was all just a misunderstanding, Anon actually sounds pretty elegant in he’s words and we can agree on disagree.

    My point was that if i someone bullying someone for he’s reading, for me to denounce it, doesn’t make a bully, so i believe.

    And you are totally entitled , everyone in here, to say S.K works are dumb, great, so so, or whatever, it’s when you make statements like the one above, that gets me.

    By the way, im gonna intensify my english lessons, a lot of people write in this awesome page, but the “axis of ammm list verse” Randall, you and Anon, are a very smart one, and i cant wait to have more tools to have smarts talks with all of you, meanwhile im holding on into google translate :D.

    Best regards.


  • lo


    “Stephen king was a notorious racist.”

    “was a” when did he die? or change his evil, heinous ways? you’re so silly! go play where people will appreciate your astounding wit.

    *edited troll removed*

  • Adrian

    Lol!…ok Segue..i dont sound like i?? :D

  • lo

    thanks cyn :)

    np :)

  • Anon


    And I was only tongue-in-cheekily trying to clarify or focus down on what Adrian was saying. Or rather not saying. That’ll teach me to stick my oar in business that doesn’t concern me.

    Bienvenido, Adrian. A small piece of LV advice. It’s always safest to address your differences directly to the person or persons concerned. The danger otherwise is that some ‘innocent bystander’ may think you mean them, take umbrage, and get sucked into the fight. Happens all the time. Believe me, those of us whose native tongue is English often have trouble enough interpreting the nuances of our comments to one another as well. Cyn’s advice: put on your thickest skin as you enter LV.

    segue, thanks as ever, but I’m quite sure he was only explaining carefully to me rather than having a go.

    Adrian; whatever its shortcomings, your English and your courage to use it put my Spanish and equivalent cowardice to shame. I wouldn’t even attempt a Spanish version of LV!

    Apropos, folks. I spent a lot of time and type elsewhere, perhaps in an evolution topic, making the point that it had to be the chicken (i.e. the egg came later). I think the point was accepted, albeit reluctantly! Once is enough though.

    I prefer: Why did the chicken cross the road? The only limit to answers for that (including as by the famous) is the capacity for ingenuity. My favourite latest short and sweet rely is: Because it was a Catholic. A reply as from Stephen King, anyone? To lay a ghost – maybe?

  • lo

    anon, my friend-

    i was raised catholic (one of my grandmothers still doesn’t know that i refused to make my confirmation ceremony (back in 1996), it would pain her so to think i’m thusly barred from heaven that we fear she might drop dead upon the news -she’s now 86.) i am an atheist, for a long time now, but i took all my “religious ed” after-school courses for many years and did studies on my own.

    but i think it would have to be a catholic “made the sign of the cross, or “preformed the sign of the cross” on the road, or upon crossing the road, etc, the word play (in english) just doesn’t let the pun work -but i wish it did!

    and i think the egg came first! following the idea that the parents were almost evolved to being “chickens” as we know them and they happened to lay that very first egg that encoded the new gene pattern closest to “chickens” as we know them today :)

  • lo


    i have a response, but it’s in moderation because of (i think) “what came…..the chicken or the” the word we’d put in the …. is automatically modded, sigh, i forgot.

  • Kimmers

    I’ve always wanted Insomnia to be made into a movie….
    One of the greatest books I have EVER read!

  • 247. Adrian: Lol!…ok Segue..i dont sound like i?? :D
    No, lol, no Adrian, you don’t. So please forgive me, I was overreacting, as I am wont to do when I sense a friend has been attacked. However, after going back, rereading the entire sequence of events, I can understand what actually took place.
    You seem quite nice, and I’m sure we’ll all be happy to help you with your English (which is quite good, btw).

  • Anon


    Never argue with an expert. So I’m not. I’m just putting up a question. People cross themselves. That’s how I’ve always heard it expressed. Can a person then not simply cross another? Or does that involve more complex syntax as you explained. I.e. The mother made the sign of the cross/performed the sign of the cross on her baby, rather than the mother crossed her baby? This is interesting as insider information beyond the comment. I notice that soccer players here, for example, touch the pitch and then cross themselves. As a result, I assumed it may perhaps not be in order to cross inanimate objects, but that wouldn’t matter at all for the purposes of wordplay.

    I’ll just précis chicken and egg as follws:

    Evolution is a seamless process. It isn’t possible to draw a line across any given set of parents and offspring and say, for example: the parents ain’t chickens, the chicks are. Evolution inevitably carries you right back to the first spark of life. The first spark of life is assumed to have consisted of functional adults, not eggs. Anyway, by definition a chicken egg per se is the result of sexual reproduction, a process which evolved by imperceptible degrees via ‘consenting’ adults much later! It is typified as the fusion of gametes to form a zygote, which is the definition of our egg in this case.

  • Buster




  • Fabulous list! I love it :)

  • tits mcgee

    i didnt read all these, but i see at leasat 255 had it right:


    it’s not only the best stephen king story, but the best movie, too. wtf, son!

  • lo


    i’m only familiar with the act of people “crossing” themselves. so you could definitely say “the chicken (if we’re anthropomorphisizing the character of the chicken for the sake of the story) crossed itself before crossing the road” referring to the action.

    but it’s a reference to the physical act of touching one’s shoulders, head, and chest in the pattern of a cross (which could be done “for” a baby too small to have the motor skills (or care!) to “cross” itself). it is not ever preformed upon inanimate objects, as they lack equivalents to the human form of head, shoulders, chest -and i feel it would be some kind of sacrilege to do so!

    “making the sign of the cross” is a direct reference to the crucifixion of jesus for humanity. attempting to preform it on an object (or non-human animal) somehow seems akin to “idol worship” or something equally bad in the catholic world view, as jesus isn’t seen as “dying for” these non-human things.

    chicks-and-eggs, hmmm, i guess it’s hard to determine exactly where a “new” species begins ;)

  • Roland Deschain

    the list is great!

    I hope they make “THE DARK TOWER SERIES” a movie too!

  • Anon


    Yes, I was aware of the significance of all you pointed out. It was the limitations beyond that interested me. For example, since we’re within the bounds of Stephen King, the cross is used in literature and films, and certainly in real life, to exorcise ‘evil’. It also occurred to me to wonder whether it would be ‘un’sacriligious to use it to sanctify an object or place positively for some reason or other. Of course, there’s a big difference, since one always sees exorcising and the like performed with a ‘ready-made’ cross. However, as you say, lacking a physical cross and making the sign in an exorcism emergency would still involve the terminology ‘performed the sign of the cross’.

    My chicken could only cross the road therefore because it had catholic (with a small c) choices in life! (My wife says she pities my poor late mum, since I’ll never give up an argument as lost.)

    There’s a big kafuffle between the worlds of evolutionary systematics and traditional taxonomy over the definition of organisms.

    The first takes a three dimensional or holistic view, observing that if you define evolution as if a natural tree, it isn’t possible to have distinct organisms with a beginning and perhaps an end either (bar extinctions). Indeed, to a certain extent, the only distinct organism is the individual, including its clones, where relevant. The only conceivable (pun intended) exception is a species formed by natural hybridisation, although it’s doubtful if that could ever occur completely from one generation to the next. There is no arguing the truth of this standpoint.

    Traditional taxonomists take a broadly two dimensional or cross-sectional view, albeit at different epoch levels to accomodate such as fossils and other extinct former organisms. They (we) protest the pointlesness of a world of objects we cannot name, however logical the reason! Trees of evolution in cladistics and the like are therefore presented as unnaturally rectangular-branched, as with the family trees of genealogy. And traditional taxonomists have terrible problems and dilemmas with actively evolving groups!

    Regarding the egg conundrum. Take the individual in isolation and the egg came first, naturally. My egg came before ‘I’ did. But then you are back to the ‘but who made God’ argument, because my parents made my egg, and their eggs came first, and so on. In fact the individual approach is dangerous because it gives certain oxygen to Creationism by implying there has to be a ‘start point’ for every taxon.

    So, as I said, if you take an evolutionary holistic view, it has to be the chicken, i.e. the ready-formed adult.

    Until the day we find life on earth started as spores from space that is … Hahaha.

  • Anon, lo, I realize I come late to this chicken/egg argument, but I have always thought of it as a more convoluted question than Anon is trying to make it.
    Certainly, if we’re talking chickens and only chickens, then his argument has validity; but in my mind I have always thought of all of the creatures who had to come before the chicken, in order to create the chicken, all, or at least most of whom, had to hatch from eggs. Therefore, eggs preceded the chicken by millions of years.

  • MiskoBinesii

    Personally, I liked the Dreamcatcher movie. The big problem with many people liking it, is that it makes no sense. The book, while it was an ok novel and not as good as the movie I think, filled in many of these plot holes. The idea of having a Memory Warehouse inside your head, where a mini-you walks around, finding information when you need it, is an incredible idea.

    15- Loved the book, never saw the movie but I’ve always wanted to.
    14- The movie was better than the script, but both could take up hours of my time whenever I think about it.
    13-Never seen or read.
    12- Why I hate kids.
    11- Why I hate Clowns
    10-Never seen or read.
    9- Both the book and the movie was good. The movie’s ending was better than the books which is why I own it instead.
    8- Never seen or read, but good to know that King isnt always a scary writer. Probably pre-Dog takeover book (sad, sad MonkeyBone reference)
    7. Another movie I own, and would be number 1 on my list, followed very closely by #1.
    6. Nope
    5. The movie was incredible! I predicted ending the first time I saw it, and because of that, I completely laughed my ass off. I still laugh about it to this day.
    4-3-2. Never seen, but will rent soon.
    1- Any time this movie is on, I watch it. I will even stop watching my cartoons to watch this movie. This movie is why Morgan Freeman is my favorite black actor (White-Johnny Depp [because of Secret Window nonetheless] Native-Wes Studi). Also Andy’s brains and chess-like planning helps make this genre of movie my favorite.

  • Anon


    You cunning wee thing, you. I see what you’re getting at. You’re perfectly correct, but I suspect cheating! In other words, if we take the conundrum as meaning the chicken (Gallus gallus) specifically, but the egg as meaning any old egg in time and space, let’s say a dinosaur’s egg, then of course the egg came first. But that’s so blatant it hardly amounts to a riddle worth asking, unless you’re simply trying to trip up pedantic, know-all clever-Dix like me. It’s like my trying to wriggle out of Catholic by shifting to catholic in 260 above! Clearly the riddle derives from genuine puzzlment at origins, in which case the chicken equally symbolises anything that hatches from an egg.

    Which was exctly was I was trying to get into. I.e., NOT chickens and only chickens, since a definable start point for that (i.e. the species Gallus gallus) will only work in a context of Creationism. However, if you then claim there is a ‘first’ egg somewhere along the evolutionary road, you are also essentially espousing Creationism. As I noted, evolution is seamless, and so will inexorably draw you back to the first organism on the planet, which is at present considered to be a functional adult with no ‘eggly’ beginnings. Subsequently, the first recognisable eggs had to be laid by existing adults a couple of billion or so years later, some hatching descendants of which eventually seamlessly evolved into chickens.

    That holds until, as I also remarked, we discover we are descended from space-spores! Ah, but you would then have to ask where those spores came from. An adult alien, maybe …

    Episode Two. The chicken or egg question goes cosmic. Hey, surely dear old Douglas Adams threw this egg thingie in our faces?

  • Courtney

    Unfortunately, I felt that SECRET WINDOW *suuuucked* because I figured out the “surprise ending”, like, five minutes after John Shooter arrived, so I felt very cheated.

  • lo

    arhg, i lost my whole response via clicking error (my mouse arrow was on the safari “back button” when i hit it!

    anon & segue-

    i’m sticking to my “egg came first” argument! even if evolution is “a seamless process” (no argument here) it still follows that there were once “proto-chickens” who laid the very first eggs which then hatched and bore living creatures we would recognize as “chickens.” evolution doesn’t preclude this outcome, in fact it supports it! as segue said, every creature in the long lineage leading to the “chicken” that we are now aware of hatched from an egg.

    so we must assume that some “proto-chicken” parents merged DNA and the female laid an egg containing an offspring who possessed the genetic characteristics we now define as “chicken.” assuming these characteristics where both dominant in that individual’s genetic contribution to its progeny and well suited for survival in its physical environment, we can safely say it was the very first “chicken” and it hatched from and egg.

    none of this requires creationism to work, evolution does it just fine on it’s own!

    well, that’s the gist of it, i swear it was longer, more detailed, and marginally wittier before i lost the text (really, i swear ;) )

    how cool is it that we can actually debate this classic riddle logically, tongues in cheek or not? i love LV. (even though this has less to do with steven king than arguably any other comment stream on this list….i still like it here)

  • 265. lo:…how cool is it that we can actually debate this classic riddle logically, tongues in cheek or not? i love LV. (even though this has less to do with steven king than arguably any other comment stream on this list….i still like it here)
    Me too. That’s why I’m still here, a year later.

  • Gosh, I didn’t know Shawshank Redemption was one of King’s! How cool! I loved “1408” – what a great flick!

  • Anon

    lo and segue,

    Yes, you are both absolutely correct. To define any egg-reproducing organism taxonomically in its own right and take it as an example, the egg has to come first. Reason being that all changes result from recombinations or mutations at that stage. (Sorry Mon. Lamarck, we know you tried hard to suggest otherwise!) In fact even if you take an evolutionary systematic point of view, from the moment sexual fusion resulted in the equivalent of an egg (or seed), that held true. Presumably there had to be sufficient potential variation through mutation before sexual reproduction could function. (An interesting thought: were such extensive eons of pre-sexual biological time obligatory for the sexual stage?) Otherwise the offspring of two ‘clonally’ identical parents would be ‘clonally’ identical as well, which would rather defeat the object of the exercise (except for leading to the – whoopee – orgasmic Joy of Sex!).

    I guess my point was/is based on taking (or assuming) the chicken and egg not taxonomically literally (as Gallus gallus), but as a metaphor. I.e., which came first, the adult life-form or its eggly/seedly equivalent? It always struck me that way, so I arrogantly supposed the same for others!

    It doesn’t affect the argument, but the interesting thing is that if we could go back in time, there would be points at which we would all recognise and agree on the definition of Gallus protogallus, and its much later derivative, Gallus gallus. No one, though, would agree at what precise generation one ceased and the other began. And there would be endless argument about how to define the ‘messy’ intermediates of the transformation. That’s what I meant about the problems traditional taxonomists have with groups in active evolution.

    lo, (265),

    Can I offer a tip from bitter experience. For safety, it’s possible to prepare a comment in a file in the computer, copy it to the comment box and post. Whatever happens at the LV stage, you always have your original. Once submitted, you can elimiate. However, I find that solution rather tedious. As a rule I simply copy any finished comment into the pc’s memory before posting. If it’s a long comment, I may copy at some point then keep overcopying as I add more. If the system isn’t behaving itself for any reason, I sometimes do also then print that copy to the bottom of a handy file to be absolutely sure, and again eliminate when all has gone ahead hunky dory.

  • Cait

    No Carrie? No decent version of The Shining? This list scares me more than any Stephen King book ever could.

  • Anon

    you rang dear? ;)

    *dumps trash*

  • Anon

    Posting pure Stephen King at last (and not before time), may I endorse ‘Stand by Me’ as being one of our small and select in-house video/DVD library. Great films can build up to and have such a dramatic climax that they stand little if any repeat viewing. This doesn’t detract from their quality. On the other hand, our collection is based on films that have given us particular delight or stimulation (most top rated by critics and public as well), but which can be watched and enjoyed over and over. ‘Stand by Me’ fits this criterion.

  • Will

    I’m so glad that the Shining mini-series made the list and not the Kubrick version. I could not believe how far-off from the original it was, as if it were not even the same story!

  • Anon

    Nice one, Cyn. Ever efficient. What would we do without you? LV might go to the trollz! Hahaha.

    *pray you never have to find out ;) *

  • Anon

    I’m warning you, Cyn. If you go, I go. That’s not just an idle threat either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Leaves Cyn to stomp out excess exclamation points.)

    *cool! then we’ll run off together. LOL say Cancun?* ;)
    *leaves !s cuz his are cute*

    *oh wait, Cancun too touristy….have to think on it*

  • Shaaronie

    I loved the adaptation of “The Mist” which by the way, you can see in full on you tube. I also think “Shawshank” is over rated. I found it much to syrupy and predictable. I much prefered “Murder in the First” with Kevin Bacon, truly under rated. Mr. Bacon deserved an oscar for that one.

  • Satanicus

    good list. it the movie didnt live up to the book at all but the first half was ok. the ending of the mist was sikkkk

  • bloomfever

    Stephen King is my favorite author. I have a library of his novels. I love this list. Desperation is one of my faves but the movie was so so. Disapointing. IT has made me forever afraid of clowns. Green Mile is amzaing, I have yet to see the Mist which is sad cause it too is a favorite short of mine. Good Job

  • T-bone

    The 1979 SALEM’S LOT miniseries scared the crap out of me when it first aired and it still gives me the willies today. That scene with the white-eyed vampire kid floating outside his best friends window and scratching at the glass had me sleeping with the light on!

  • Brian

    I just went over to IMDB, and Shawshank is number 1 all time based on votes, just ahead of Godfather and Godfather 2.

    I agree with most of this list, except I would have put IT higher, and maybe slipped Misery a little lower. Also, I probably would have had Carrie at 15 as opposed to Pet Semetary.

  • Beastie

    For all those waiting for the Dark Tower movies to be made, you’ll have to wait until Lost ends next year. The writers of Lost bought the rights to make the movies from Steven King for $19. If you’ve read the books, you’ll find that a peculiar number =)

    I for one am excited because I love Lost which has a lot of influence from some of King’s books like The Stand as well as The Dark Tower books. Also, King is a big fan of Lost and only wanted them to do the movie because he wants it done right.

    “the Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed”

  • fire dool

    i love your movies they are scary and funny and they have a lot of interestig parts in them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kingfan

    Good list but your leaving out dreamcatcher.

  • blaze

    Maximum overdrive needs to be on this list.. he directed and wrote the story for the movie. It is the only movie that is purely his work.

  • Andrew

    I don’t know if it’s already been said but i’m not going to read all of the comments, but the Shawshank Redemption is now number one one IMDb. so yeah. and it is the best movie ever made by anyone ever.

  • Zack

    This list has too many problems. The Shining mini-series was absolutely HORRIBLE compared to the Stanley Kubrick version. Also Carrie and the Dead Zone should have made the list and although The Stand was agreat book the mini-series was quite bad in my opinion. I would also have Pet Semetary much higher on the list.

  • covrage

    The scariest thing worth knowing is loneliness; the scariest idea worth qvestioning is if we are alone in this VNIVERSO

  • kweng

    the only movie that i’ve watched in full here is secret window, and “it” scared the hell out of me when i was a kid

    aw. no carrie?

  • femme

    Shawshank is actually #1 on IMDB. I understand there was a lot of complaining about it, because apparently whoever runs the site, isn’t a fan and couldn’t bare to see The Godfather bumped down to #2, even though Shawshank had many more votes for a long time.

    I guess eventually it became so obvious, they had no choice but to let the movie take its rightful place at the top.

  • Corwin

    My personal favorite is “The Dead Zone”. The actors are really good, esp Martin Sheen and Chris Walken. And who else but Stephen King could get away with naming his main Character “John Smith”? Another novella that would make a good movie is “Road Work”. An interesting bit of trivia I read was that Stephen King wanted Clint Eastwood to play Flagg in “The Stand”…Might have been kinda cool. Now I know what yer thinkin’…did he fire 6 shots, or only 5…

  • Akrid

    I laughed when I saw Mist at #5. That movie was absolutely terrible. The rest of the list is okay relatively okay though.

  • mikaro

    Pet Semetary may have seemed scary when you you were ten, but if you watch it as adult I think you will find that it is utterly laughable. The acting is painfully bad at times, with the Tasha Yar actress delivering the single worst performance I have ever seen.

    Honestly, Pet Sematry the movie is just pathetic, and justly got a roasting from South Park for being just plain ridiculous. I think the Herman Munster actor was in it too for gods sake! By including this rubbish and the TV version of The Shining over the Kubrick version you reveal a very shallow appreciation of King adaptations.

    I mean, have you ever actually seen Carrie or Salem’s Lot? If not you really have no business writing a list like this, anybody with any sense can see you do not know anything about either films or books. If anyone is a hack it is the author of this highly annoying list, it looks like someone has just used Amazon reviews to formulate a list about films they have never seen.

  • JRM

    The Mist is my favorite. Overall, I agree with your list.

  • Keaisha 13

    umm im only 13 and dont no much about king but i do now a lot of his movies especially mist tat movie go so hard i dont kno what ok well that’s it for now bye.

  • Keaisha13

    o yeah i for got that movie children of the corn man i seen all the chilldren of the corn movies im a big fan u dig and i am a SCARY MOVIE FAN i will watch anything that is scary but my cousin Deyanni dont like scary movies like i do i just seen that one movie that came out a few weeks ago called orphan man that movie was off the hook and i loved the freaky twist at the end u dig halla

  • duke_the_reaper

    where the f*** is “the shining”…it’d be at #2

  • Keaisha 13

    duke what r u talking about the shining i mean wow really just be quiet cause u aint making snice

  • sparkelina

    agree with most of those…apart from ‘the mist’. because that is one of the worst films i have ever seen, minus the ending, which is fantastic.




  • UtahRugbyGuy

    Ok list. Some of the made for tv movies should not be on here at all. They are mostly shite. King movies are only as good as their director and King doesn’t usually display the passion he should about getting top directors for ALL his films. I mean, he’s Stephen muthaf–king King!!! One of the most influential, iconic writers in history. If he cared enough, he could have ANYONE he wanted direct any given film of his. …and sometimes he just doesn’t seem to care. This said, when a really good director does one of his stories and the movie is better for it, it shouldn’t be number 6 on the list. I agree with Shawshank at the top but The Shining and Stand By Me should be 2 and 3. Utter classics. …and where’s Running Man? I know it was an Arnie movie but still a King story and still a GREAT story.

  • You didn’t put Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on the list because Stephen King didn’t like it? You’re full of shit.

    And I do agree with The Shawshank Redemption, best film ever.

  • pithlitt

    There seems to have been some discussion about whether or not King is a “good writer” or just a “good story teller”. It seems to me, that to be a good story teller, you must be a good writer, otherwise the story wouldn’t be as good. Stephen King will someday be taught beside many of the “great” authors we grew up having to read. He writes in the “common tongue” of his readers, most of his dialog is as natural as a full moon, and he has that knack of reaching into your dreams. Not with everything he’s written of course, but no other author has either. As previously stated by others, don’t get bogged down in his horror, it’s his other works that truly set him apart.

  • roedev

    pet semetary should have been higher

    • courtney

      no, if you read the book you’d know that the movie people BUTCHERED pet semetary. i think 15 in generous

  • Seanor what

    This seems like a list designed to annoy people who know better.

    Is there any true fan of King or cinema who would exclude The Dead Zone?

    This “list” is ignorant.

    For shame.

  • SpoiledReader

    You spoiled the fun I could have with a 3 hours movie : “Storm of the Century”. I didn’t want to know what “he demands”… Please be careful next time. Thanks.

  • Elizabeth

    Has anyone ever READ 1408? If so, then you know that almost none of the movie was in the story. It was rather disappointing!

  • The Mist was a disaster. Terrible ending sorry I wasted my time.

  • the stand is one of my favorite movies. It pisses me off that its in the vault. They need to sell that! but if i can sit through it (i have trouble sitting through movies that are over two and a half hours long) then its gotta be good!!

  • I have to say that King's mini-series version of The Shining (in my opinion) was much better than Kubriks. I just think that King's is more meaningful especially with how at the end Jack realises what he's done.Such a heartbreaking scene and superbly acted. And even though Jack Nicholson is a great crazy actor, I don't think he was suited to the role.

  • Drop.

    ..The Stand was a horrible movie. Amazing book, terrible movie.

  • TheGuyWhoIsn'tHere

    This really should've been Top 5, as the only good Stephen King films are your top 3, The Shining, and Carrie. The rest of the movies (as well as all of Stephen King's stories) suck tremendously, especially IT.


    • normlsmoker

      That’s why you’re “theguywhoisn’there” obviously. Idiot.

  • Glowbug

    The old woman's name in the Stand was Mother Abigail, NOT Grandma Moses! Sheesh….

  • justjohn

    How about a list of Stephen King adaptations that stink?

    Lawnmower Man and Maximum Overdrive for starters…


  • "The Green Mile" & "Hearts in Atlantis" are brilliant!

  • W

    The Mist had a TERRIBLE ending

  • steve

    the mist? seriously?

    • blahblahblah


  • blahblahblah

    Hmmm….Family Guy did remakes of your top three. is that how you chose them?

    • courtney

      lol OWENED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Airy

    Dude 1408 and Secret Window were lame. Shawshank and It were awesome though.

  • Simone

    Great list. However, I hardly agree with your call on The Shining. It is based on SK novel and the (unfortunate) fact that the King did not like it, does not diminish its value as a movie. Kubrick, whilst reducing the book, goes actually well beyond the novel, and gives an almost metaphysical dissertation on Good and Evil. And, let me tell you, every time I re-read the novel, I cannot help but putting Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance… That is what makes a great movie: once you see it, the characters will belong to the book too, forever. That does not happen to me with every SK’s novel (or any other author’s, for what matters), even after I have watched the movie.

  • M

    You forgot Langoliers

  • courtney

    Great except Apt Pupil kicked The Stand’s ass. And also Carrie did suck compared to the book, but i think it should have at least gotten 15. otherwise, nice! :) and agreed, i hate clowns

  • Bart

    ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?! The Shining should be number 1!

  • Liz

    ….The Pet Cemetery in the book and movie is a good place….the people/creatures come back when buried in the haunted Indian burial ground…just sayin’

  • Cailean

    Did you know the Running Man is a Steven King story? I agree with your top two but very little after that.

  • Ron

    Christine and the Dead Zone were also done very well.

  • ????? ???

    thank you

  • fredthe3rd

    People! Has nobody mentioned Dolores Claiborne?! If you’ve never seen this film, do yourself a favour… You won’t regret watching it!

    Additionally (and this is controversial) The Running Man should be on the list! Who cares if it missed the point of the book, it’s a fun film!

  • TravisME

    As a long time reader of Kings books I have to say that 1408 was a very very poor film IMHO of course. Also The biggest disappointment of a book to movie has to be The Green Mile. The books where again IMHO the best he has ever done. The movie was a sad portrayal of the book. If you even liked the movie read the books you will be blown away..

  • RubyMoon

    As an avid Stephen King fan both books and movies,i think this list should be way longer!what about Carrie,Needful Things,TommyKnockers,Thinner,Salem’s Lot,Christine,Dolores Claiborne to name a few.come on Listverse do your homework!

  • RubyMoon

    Oh and not forgetting Running Man and Apt Pupil!

  • What? No Dead Zone. I’ve always loved the story and the film. Both are great psychological thrillers in the vein of Hitchcock.

  • Captain Spacker

    Man Rose Red was fantastic, its so good to find out someone else likes it. And I’m sorry, but The Shining is no. 1 no two ways about it

  • Laura

    Have you even heard of Salems Lot or Silver Bullet? or too far before your time?

  • Jared

    No Carrie???? This list is completely bogus

  • Peso De Guzman

    Apt Pupil should be here.

  • Kyle Richards

    How did “The Dead Zone” not make the top 15? 1983 movie, not the recant television series. Honestly, I would rank it “2 behind S.R.

  • RobMer

    The Dead Zone not only has to be on the list, it has to be in the top three films.

  • LaDeeDah

    Good list, but I definitely think Carrie should have placed. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were incredible in that film.
    Creepshow was also really cool. The zombie father scared me when I was younger! I enjoyed Creepshow 2 as well, even though it wasn’t as well received.

  • Normlsmoker

    Great list! I didn’t think the movie “It” was that great but the book, as usual with King, was! I’ve been slightly disappointed that “The Gunslinger” and “The Eyes of the Dragon” have never been translated into film, I’d like to see Peter Jackson do something with them! For a Hollywood that seems to be fresh out of good ideas for films there is a lot of good material there! “The Eyes of the Dragon” was the first King book my mother would let me read when I was in the fourth grade and I’ve been hooked ever since! Although I haven’t loved all of his work he is one of my most favorite story tellers.

  • Yeah, I’m very curious myself. Did the author of the list not see Carrie and The Dead Zone, not remember them, or does he actually think all of these movies are better?

  • Mica

    You missed The Shining…

  • Love “The King”! Saw both ‘The Stand’ and ‘Storm of the Century’ a few years ago on video. Trying to get them both on DVD through Amazon. Thank you Listverse, so much good stuff here.

    The Stand… of the great novels of all time. The mini series……WOW! Sinise, Lowe (in a non-speaking role), Ringwald (her best ever role) all nailed their roles perfectly. A remake pending? Interesting!

    Storm of the Century…..particularly wonderful, considering it is not from a novel/novella, is an outstanding achievement. The line(s), “Give me what I want and I will go away”, builds such suspense throughout this brilliantly crafted (low budget), claustrophobic thriller. A true wonder of the horror/thriller genre.

    Further reading for King fans………”22.11.63″ shows why King is literally…..”The King”. Back to his brilliant best. I laughed….I cried….and never wanted the damn book to end.

    Also track down a short story called “The Jaunt”, from a book called “Skeleton Crew”. It has ‘movie’ written all over it and an ending that simply SHOCKED the living daylights out of me. A true joy!

    The Mist film…..breathtaking!

    I could go on forever!

    Long live “The King”!!!!

  • make money online

    I appreciate, lead to I found just what I used to be taking a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • drowningbarbie

    I must be the only other person on the planet that liked The Shining miniseries.
    Didn’t like Secret Window, however, or 1408, and The Stand is just lame. I really love that novel though.
    For all those wanting The Stand on dvd, I bought it from K-mart last year for $8( this is in Australia). I should have saved my money!!

  • sherry

    i see i made it threw my ordeal ,wherever that type of stuff came from,my inner beauty is still there, it took money to pull that off.. i realize who he and she is.. do you feel hatred when you write,what type of setting do i need to get my inspiration to write>tick,hog,moth,and snake s,you have already wrote books on those topics,i want to write a novel from exsperience ,about all four together,think i can?after that stuff released from me ,those two had peole trying to put it back in me…..just want to contact your email from time to time!

  • jouford

    It’s gotta be said, you were well off the mark with a few entries in this list. The Stand is probably regarded as King’s best book, and deservedly so. But the film is average at best. It barely scratches the surface of the book. And the least said about Hearts in Atlantis, the better. The book was engaging, charming, harrowing, and quite eery. The film was absolutely dreadful.

    I also don’t understand how Carrie and Christine were omitted from your list. I know it’s just your opinion but, come on, those two movies are classics.

  • Edgar Allen Poe Stephen King ain’t.

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