Seven years ago today, the 2013 film remake of ‘Carrie’ was released. Stephen King is one of the most psychologically daunting writers of all time, but undeniably so, their movie counterparts are equally as chilling. Here is a list of the absolute best Stephen King movies to date.

Written by: Reb Czukoski – October 14th, 2021 10:01 pm pst

Best Stephen King films

Credit: The Producer Circle Company, Peregrine Productions, Hawk Films

The Shining

An aspiring writer, Jack Torrance takes his wife and psychic son to a hotel in the barren Colorado Rockies when he accepts a position as an off-season caretaker. A large storm leaves the family indefinitely stranded in the hotel, leaving Jack to grow insane from the inexplicable and potentially paranormal activity, which causes him to turn on his family and live up to the prophecies of his predecessors.

The screenplay was adapted by Stanley Kubrick, who also directed the film, and is an undeniable classic. It was put on the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2018 as an extremely influential piece. Its sequel titled, Doctor Sleep follows the son in adulthood and is equally as thrilling, but the original is definitely a must-watch! You can find it on HBO Max or Amazon Prime Video!

Credit: Braveworld Productions, Taft Entertainment

The Running Man

In the year 2017, the dystopian United States has become a totalitarian police state and puts on a game show called The Running Man, where convicts take on the role of runners and must escape professional killers called stalkers to earn pardon for their crimes. A man framed for putting on a massacre gets caught up in the game and must fight for his life all while trying to prove his innocence. 

As you’ll see with more movies down below, Stephen King loves a tale of innocence and exoneration. There were lots of mixed reviews on the film as there were some issues with plagiarism from a French film, but that doesn’t take away from Stephen King’s intentions with his novel and the concept of the film is still very interesting. Give it a watch on Hulu!

Credit: New Line Cinema, Lin Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, KatzSmith Productions

It

After a series of missing children in Derry, Maine, a group of bullied children who call themselves the Losers’ Club come together because of their personal experiences with an evil clown that shapeshifts into any fear and preys on kids. Knowing that nothing will put an end to this monster, the group sticks together and plans to kill It. 

It has two adaptations from the Stephen King novel. The most recent has two movies in the It franchise and both of them highlight really enticing cinematography and special effects makeup. All the critics agreed with the appeal of the movie and It ended up grossing over $700 million in the box office, over 20 times the cost of production. If you haven’t seen It already, you can stream both the 1990 and 2017 versions on HBO Max or Hulu!

Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment, Nelson Entertainment

Misery

A famous Victorian romance novelist, Paul Sheldon, travels across the country in his car but gets caught in a blizzard that leads him to spin out off the road leaving him unconscious. When he comes to, he finds himself in the home of his number one fan, Annie Wilkes, who is also a nurse. Annie does not have the intention for Paul to get better despite being his only form of care, and Paul finds himself in a dangerous situation with no means of escape, figuring out a way to survive.

This film is full of incredible actors and Cathy Bates’ performance as Annie Wilkes even won her the Academy Award for Best Actress at the time. There weren’t a lot of financial expenditures for the movie since it took place in a snowy cabin for the majority of the time, but it was one of the best movie adaptations and the only Stephen King one to win an Oscar. The book was just as good, but if you want to see the film, you can watch it on Hulu, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime Video!

Credit: Red Bank Films

Carrie

A socially outcasted senior in high school, Carrie White, was born and raised by a highly religious woman that doesn’t believe in sex or even menstruation. Carrie’s classmates get punished during a physical education incident by the teacher that has taken a liking to Carrie. A couple of classmates vow revenge and plan to humiliate Carrie, who they don’t know at the time has telekinetic powers and unstoppably releases them at Prom.

Recognized by many as one of the greatest movies of all time, the original 1976 version of Carrie was massively successful. It had an extremely low budget of just $1.8 million but was the creator of an iconic prom scene that influenced lots of pop culture. Carrie was Stephen King’s first-ever published novel and there are now two Carrie films from adaptations of his book. You can find the 1976 version on Sling and the 2013 remake on either Sling or Amazon Prime.

Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment, Darkwoods Productions, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

The Green Mile

Paul Edgecomb is a prison guard at a Death Row penitentiary whose life gets turned around when a man accused of child rape and murder, John, gets sent to the Green Mile. Paul sees that John is truly a kind soul and has a gift of supernatural powers.

This was another high-grossing Stephen King film, starring Tom Hanks. Although not winning many of the accolades, it was nominated for several different awards and was a very true-to-the-book screenplay adaptation from the original novel. It was comparable to The Shawshank Redemption and is an interesting take on magical realism. Watch it now on HBO Max!

Credit: Columbia Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment

Dolores Claiborne

A journalist, Selena, receives an anonymous fax stating that her mother, a housekeeper of a rich elderly woman, is suspected to have killed her. Selena already had intuitions that her mother killed her father when she was younger and now they must both bear the weight of the trauma from their old family days as they stay together during the investigation. 

Cathy Bates makes another strong appearance in this Stephen King film, playing another psychologically thrilling and dangerous character. Many people agreed that Bates was almost perfect for these roles she was given and even though it wasn’t the most successful in the box office, it is worth watching just for her performance. If you want to see it, you can find it on Amazon Prime Video or Youtube!

Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank jailhouse holds a successful banker who was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife and her lover. His demeanor leads people to believe his guilt, which is how he ends up with two life sentences in prison, but to move past what seems to be the new torture of his existence, he befriends other prisoners such as a very impactful one for him, Red.

This film was insanely popular among critics and has an extremely high approval rating despite the lack of box office success. It features Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins among many other great actors and was another one of the Stephen King adaptations that was preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. A film endorsed by Nelson Mandela speaks volumes and if you want to see this culturally impactful story of redemption and imprisonment, it’s available on HBO Max!

About The Author:

Reb Czukoski is an intern with AfterBuzz TV and a senior at Emerson College studying visual media arts with a focus in animation and minoring in peace and social justice. They are currently pursuing a career in animation and graphic design, with an interest in movies, music, and social media.

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