I can directly attribute my adoration and fondness for Stephen King to my Aunt Karen. She was always reading his books and watching horror movies and encouraging me to do the same. I’ve always held a spot in my heart for the works of King, even when I throw one of his novels down in frustration (Under the Dome) or find it to be less than it was built up to be (Salem’s Lot), and that extends to film.
In honor of Mr. King’s 68th birthday, I present the 5 best films that were adapted from Stephen King novels and short stories. In no particular order:
The Annie Wilkes of the book always seemed squishier and spittle-covered than the robust and dead-eyed movie Annie. Like most of King’s works, it’s one thing to read that someone has been hobbled. I thought I understood what was being conveyed in the novel, but Misery the film violently set me straight.
2. Pet Sematary
When I read Pet Sematary, I was probably about 11 years old. The novel itself was frightening, but when I left it in the family car one night and awoke to find it in my room, that was even worse. Once I removed the book from the freezer and finished it, I was determined to watch the events play out onscreen. From the gruesome death of baby Gage to Zelda, Pet Sematary delivered on being even more horrible to behold than my imagination could comprehend.
VHS tapes were hard to fit into a freezer.
3. Tales from the Darkside: The Movie — “The Cat From Hell” segment
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is another flick I mainlined as a child. I found it terribly entertaining that one of the Lawrence brothers was being prepared by Debbie Harry for a dinner party. Even more than that, the fact that witches could be coerced into telling stories to prolong ones life if found in a similar situation seemed like a good life lesson.
King’s segment features a cat that systematically murders the entire household of a man whose pharmaceutical company killed thousands of cats during drug research. In desperation, a hitman is called in to take out the cat. That hitman? David Johansen of the New York Dolls.
Can’t sleep, clown will eat me. Can’t sleep, clown will eat me. Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.
All these years later and I still think a satanic, hacksaw-mouthed clown will pop up out of a sink, drain, or sewer and start feasting on my innards. BEEP BEEP.
My love for this flick probably began with my love for Corey Haim. Then I realized there was a giant fucking werewolf, a souped up wheelchair, Gary Busey, and Gary Busey’s teeth. I still watch Silver Bullet whenever I have the chance, sisterly voice-over and all.