Horror and fantasy legend Stephen King is one of the most adapted authors in history
Some of King’s tales have become treasured classics as films, from Stand By Me to Misery to The Shawshank Redemption. Many others have been converted into nothing more than tedious B-Movie schlock.
But there are a number of criminally overlooked Stephen King film adaptations that are actually well worth seeing. Here are six of the best.
Cat’s Eye (1985)
Fiendish dark comedy is the crucial ingredient of this offbeat horror anthology. Three twisted tales are offered up for your delectation, taking in monstrous trolls, a vile crime boss and (best of all) a clinic with a VERY uncompromising approach to curing addiction.
The Dead Zone (1983)
David Cronenberg’s cult thriller sees Christopher Walken’s sympathetic everyman thrown into turmoil when he acquires a strange power: the ability to see people’s intimate secrets and futures when he comes into contact with them. Both a blessing and a curse, it soon takes protagonist Johnny down a very dark path.
Somewhat underrated, this absurdist tongue-in-cheek saga concerns an obese smalltown lawyer, cursed to gradually wither away to nothing after he runs over an elderly gypsy woman. Cue deliciously squelchy body-horror, and shenanigans veering from the sublime to the ridiculous.
A jaded, washed-up and cynical writer who pens books on ‘haunted’ buildings gets much more than he bargains for when he checks into a hotel room linked to dozens of deaths. The ominous build-up piles on the tension (thanks in no small part to Samuel L Jackson’s earnest warnings), while the maleovelent force that John Cusack’s protagonist finds himself at the mercy of is genuinely nightmarish.
Needful Things (1993)
A strong cast including Max Von Sydow, Ed Harris and Amanda Plummer shine in this story of an ordinary town plunged into gradual chaos, discord and violence when a shop owner begins to make tantalizing promises to its citizens – on the condition that they carry out increasingly sinister ‘favours’.
Apt Pupil (1998)
Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Sir Ian McKellen, it’s perhaps surprising this isn’t better known. But that could be down to the pitch-black subject matter, of course. Adapted from the same collection of novellas that gave us The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me, this unsung sibling sees a teenage sociopath ‘befriend’ the Nazi war criminal he realises is living in secret nearby. Incredibly intense, and occasionally skin-crawling.
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