In terms of authors, there have been few more prolific than Stephen King. In honor of his upcoming new book and 66th birthday we have a special guest article!


With anticipation building for the release of Dr. Sleep, Stephen King’s long-awaited sequel to The Shining, one can’t help but wonder whether or not that story will ultimately be realized as a film. Certainly, there have been several wonderful film adaptations of King stories over the years.

In honor of the upcoming release of King’s new book, here’s a look at the Top 5 Cinematic Adaptations of Stephen King novels.

5. The Shining (1980) – This is a contentious pick for King fans. While the film is heralded as one of the greatest horror films of all time now, it was largely panned by critics upon its initial release, and King himself was vocal about his dissatisfaction with director Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is a writer and recovering alcoholic who has taken a seasonal job as a caretaker for The Overlook Hotel in Colorado, which is the stuff of ghost lore because of ghastly occurrences which have taken place there previously. Torrance’s son Danny (Danny Lloyd) has psychic power, and thus, has a viewing window into the spirit world within the hotel. While it is not entirely faithful to the book, there’s no disputing this one’s legacy as one of the scariest films of all time.

4. Christine (1983) – The story brought a whole new meaning to “vehicular homicide.”  The evil car trope is one that King has employed a few times, but never as successfully as in this novel, and director John Carpenter’s treatment of the story stands head and shoulders above the incredulous Maximum Overdrive and Trucks. Keith Gordon plays Arnie, who is an impotent, teenage nerd until he becomes the owner of the titular red and white Plymouth fury with bizarre, regenerative powers, and a taste for human blood.

3. Misery (1990) – Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a pop novelist who becomes severely injured in a car crash in a remote town after completing his most recent manuscript. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) is an obsessive fan and former professional nurse who takes the immobile Sheldon into her home, and tortures him. Bates delivers the performance of a lifetime, and the film is also a surprising tonal departure for director Rob Reiner – and a highly successful one, at that!

2. The Green Mile (1999) – Directed by Frank Darabont, this film tells the story of corrections officer Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) working the death row block of a prison during the Great Depression. Edgecomb’s life is turned upside down when John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is brought into his life. John is a large African-American man who has been falsely accused of raping and murdering two young white girls. We learn that he has magical healing powers. Of all the adaptations of King’s novels, this one is perhaps the biggest tear-jerker.

1. Carrie (1976) –  A landmark horror film. This was King’s first outing as a novelist, and Brian De Palma’s first outing as director. Sissy Spacek stars as the painfully awkward telekinetic girl who is tormented at school by her peers and at home by her mother (Piper Laurie), the religious fanatic. When a practical joke goes awry during the senior prom, Carrie exacts her revenge, and the whole town pays dearly.

Author Bio: Brandon Engel is an entertainment blogger with who has  a keen interest in horror literature and films. He has written extensively on werewolves, vampires, ghouls, and other apparitions. Among his favorite writers are H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Edgar Allan Poe.