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Stephen King - on the Screen
“Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.”, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” (Stephen King)
Some quick facts: Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947. His first horror novel, Carrie, was published in 1974 and was a bestseller. King's next novel was Salem's Lot (1975) followed by The Shining (1977) all bestsellers.
Hollywood was soon knocking on his door, the first movie based on his work was Carrie (1976) directed by Brian de Palma, it was a hit and nominated for two Oscars. Many more novels and movie adaptations followed.
One of the most popular writers of all time Stephen King has won more than 50 literary awards, sold more than 350 million books worldwide and his estimated net worth is $400 million.
The following is a chronology of 40 of the best movie and TV adaptations with facts, ratings and poster art.
Carrie (1976) directed by Brian De Palma and starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen and John Travolta.
Both Spacek and Laurie were nominated for Oscar Awards.
Based on Stephen King's first novel published in 1974.
Tagline - If You've Got A Taste For Terror... Take Carrie To The Prom.
US Box Office - $33.8m
IMDB Rating 7.4
David Soul and James Mason in Salem's Lot (1979) directed by Tobe Hooper and also starring Bonnie Bedelia, Lance Kerwin, Lew Ayres and Reggie Nalder as Kurt Barlow. 184 mins.
Made for TV and a personal favourite of mine Salem's Lot was cut down to two hours and released in cinemas in Europe with some extra nastiness thrown in for good measure.
Kurt Barlow (Reggie Nalder) may well be the ugliest vampire ever to appear on screen, the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Nalder was previously best known as the assassin in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
A sequel A Return to Salem's Lot was released in 1987 and was directed by Larry Cohen
IMDB rating 6.5.
"Wendy, darling, light of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in."
The Shining (1980) directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Long, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone and Joe Turkel. 146mins (119mins)
Hated by Stephen King and slammed by critics on it's release Kubrick's film is now regarded as a masterpiece of horror. Based on his 1977 novel.
US Box Office - $44m
IMDB rating - 8.5
Creepshow (1982) directed by George Romero and starring Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, E.G. Marshall, Ed Harris, Viveca Lindfors, Ted Danson and Stephen King as Jordy Verrill.
Screenplay by King, five tales of horror - Father's Day, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, Something to Tide You Over, The Crate and They're Creeping Up on You.
Inspired by the old E.C. Horror Comics of the 1950s.
US Box Office - $21m
IMDB rating - 6.6
Cujo (1983) directed by Lewis Teague and starring Dee Wallace, Christopher Stone and Ed Lauter. 93mins.
Who let the dog out?
Based on Stephen Kings 1981 novel.
US Box Office - $21.1m
IMDB rating - 5.8
The Dead Zone (1983) directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Anthony Zerbe and Martin Sheen. 103mins.
The movie takes place in the fictional town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of Stephen King's stories. Based on his 1979 novel.
US Box Office - $20.7m
IMDB rating - 7.3
Christine (1983) directed by John Carpenter and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky and Harry Dean Stanton. 110mins.
John Carpenter's turn to direct a King story this one was about an evil 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine.
Stephen King's novel was published earlier that year, 1983.
US Box Office - $21m
IMDB rating - 6.4
Children of the Corn (1984) directed by Fritz Kiersch and starring Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin and Courtney Gains. 92mins.
A cult of evil children terrorise a young couple.
Followed by seven sequels and a made-for-tv remake.
Based on Stephen King's short story included in the collection, Night Shift (1978)
US Box Office - $14.5m
IMDB rating - 5.3
Firestarter (1984) directed by Mark L. Lester and starring David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney and Louise Fletcher. 114mins.
8 year old Charlene 'Charlie' McGee has pyrokinetic powers, where's Professor Xavier when you need him?
Based on Stephen King's novel first published in 1980.
US Box Office - $17m
IMDB rating - 5.8
Cat's Eye (1985) directed by Lewis Teague and starring Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Robert Hays and Candy Clark. 94mins.
Screenplay by Stephen King based on his short stories Quitter's Inc, The Ledge and The General.
Christine the evil Plymouth Fury has a cameo nearly running over the cat, the cat is than chased by Cujo or a dog that looks like him and James Woods is watching The Dead Zone on TV, he remarks "Who writes this crap?"
US Box Office - $13m
IMDB rating - 6.0
Silver Bullet (1985) diirected by Daniel Attias and starring Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Everett McGill, Megan Follows and Terry O'Quinn. 95mins.
Based on the Stephen King novel Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
An underrated horror mystery, one of the town folk is a murderous werewolf but who can it be?
US Box Office - $12.3m
IMDB rating - 6.0
Maximum Overdrive (1986) directed by Stephen King and starring Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith and John Short. 97mins.
Stephen King has a go at directing and makes a hash of it.
Based on his short story Trucks which is included in the collection Night Shift (1978).
The Earth passes through the tail of a comet and machines all over the world become homicidal.
US Box Office - $7.4m
IMDB rating - 4.9
Stand By Me (1986) directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton. River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O' Connell, Keifer Sutherland and Richard Dreyfuss. 89mins.
One of the highest rated Stephen King adaptations and based on his short story The Body included in the collection Different Seasons (1982).
The first of the Stephen King movies not to feature a supernatural setting. Shawshank prison gets a mention, the story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" is among the loosely connected stories in the collection.
The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.
US Box Office - $52.2m
IMDB rating - 8.1
Creepshow 2 (1987) directed by Michael Gornick and starring Tom Savini, George Kennedy, Lois Chiles and Dorothy Lamour. 92mins.
Three horror tales by Stephen King - Old Chief Wood'nhead, The Raft and The Hitchhiker.
Tagline - When The Curtain Goes Up, The Terror Begins!
US Box Office - $14m
IMDB rating - 5.5
The Running Man (1987) directed by Paul Michael Glaser and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura and Richard Dawson. 101mins.
Stephen King wrote the novel in 1982 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
Set in the year 2019, a familiar year for sci-fi fans the year of Akira, Blade Runner, The Island, and Daybreakers. Convicted criminals run and fight for their lives on Live TV.
US Box Office - $38.1m
IMDB rating - 6.5
Pet Sematary (1989) directed by Mary Lambert and starring Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne, Brad Greenquist and Miko Hughes. 103mins.
Based on Stephen King's novel published in 1983. Nominated for a Saturn Award - Best Horror Film.
Miko Hughes may be the big screen's youngest horror star at just 27 months of age.
US Box Office - $57.4m
IMDB rating - 6.3
Graveyard Shift (1990) directed by Ralph Singleton and starring David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Andrew Divoff and Brad Dourif. 89mins.
Workers at an old mill are attacked by vicious mutant rats.
Based on Stephen King's short story included in the collection, Nightshift (1978).
US Box Office - $11.5m
IMDB rating - 4.2
Stephen King's It (1990) directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and starring Tim Curry, Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O' Toole, John Ritter and Richard Thomas. 192mins.
A two part made for TV movie based on King's 1100 page novel published in 1986.
People with a phobia of clowns should probably stay away from this one.
IMDB rating - 6.8.
Misery (1990) directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen and Lauren Bacall. 107mins.
Kathy Bates won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as Annie Wilkes the deranged fan of author Paul Sheldon expertly played by James Caan.
Based on Stephen King's 1987 novel which was also adapted as a play.
US Box Office - $61.2m
IMDB rating - 7.8
Sometimes They Come Back (1991) directed by Tom McLoughlin and starring Tim Matheson, Brooke Adams, Robert Rusler, Chris Demetral and William Sanderson. 97mins.
Made for TV movie based on Stephen King's short story which is included in the collection, Night Shift (1978).
A man and his family return to his hometown and is terrorised by a gang of youths who it turns out had died in a car accident while attacking him when he was a kid.
IMDB rating - 5.4
The Lawnmower Man (1992) directed by Brett Leonard and starring Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright and Geoffrey Lewis. 107m
The script had so little in common with Stephen King's 1975 short story he sued to get his name off the credits.
The directors cut is 140mins long.
The now dated CGI effects in the virtual world were cutting edge at the time, they took eight months to complete and cost $500,000 for about 10 minutes worth of CG.
US Box office - $32m
IMDB rating - 5.1
Sleepwalkers (1992) directed by Mick Garris and starring Brian Krause, Madchen Amick, Alice Krige and Ron Perlman. 91mins.
Krige and Krause play mother and son shapeshifting creatures with a fear of cats. Star Trek fans will remember Krige as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact (1996).
An original screenplay by Stephen King based on an unpublished story.
The film features cameos from Mark Hamill, Joe Dante, John Landis, Tobe Hooper and Stephen King.
US Box Office - $30.5m
IMDB rating - 4.7
The Dark Half (1993) directed by George Romero and starring Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris and Robert Joy. 122mins.
A writer's alter ego turns psycho and goes on a killing spree. Hitchcock would have enjoyed the scene where thousands of sparrows attack (the sparrows were played by finches).
Screenplay by Romero based on Stephen King's 1989 novel.
US Box Office - $10.6m
IMDB rating - 5.8
Needful Things (1993) directed by Fraser Clarke Heston and starring Max Von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, Amanda Plummer and J.T. Walsh. 120mins.
Based on Stephen King's 1991 novel. A mysterious old gentleman, Leland Gaunt (Sydow) opens a shop called Needful Things in the town of Castle Rock. The shop seems to stock everything a person desires but there is a price to pay.
Fraser Clarke Heston is the son of Charlton Heston.
US Box Office - $15.1m
IMDB rating - 6.0
The Tommyknockers (1993) directed by John Power and starring Jimmy Smits, Marg Helgenberger, John Ashton, Robert Carradine, Joanna Cassidy, E.G. Marshall and Traci Lords. 181mins.
A TV miniseries based on Stephen King's 1987 novel.
An alien spaceship is found buried in the woods near a small town, when it's excavated something strange starts happening to the inhabitants of the town.
IMDB rating - 5.2
The Stand (1994) directed by Mick Garris and starring Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Ruby Dee, Miguel Ferrer, Corin Nemec and Matt Frewer. 366mins.
A miniseries shown in 4 parts and costing $28m, based on Stephen King's hefty 1344 page novel first published in 1978.
A deadly virus wipes out most of the population of the Earth, a demon in the shape of Randall Flagg (Sheridan) takes advantage of the devastation and wreaks havoc. Flagg has appeared in six other King novels.
IMDB rating - 7.2
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown and James Whitmore. 142mins.
Nominated for 7 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), Best Cinematography, Best Music (Thomas Newman), Best Sound and Best Editing.
Based on the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" included in Stephen King's collection, Different Seasons (1982)
The film wasn't successful on release but has been very popular on video and DVD, it's now listed as one of the greatest films of all time.
US Box Office - $28.3m
IMDB rating - 9.2
The Langoliers (1995) directed by Tom Holland and starring Patricia Wettig, Dean Stockwell, David Morse, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Frankie Faison and Bronson Pinchot. 180mins.
A miniseries in 2 parts based on Stephen King's novella included in the collection, Four Past Midnight (1990).
Passengers and crew on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston mysteriously vanish after it passes through a strange aurora, only 10 remain on board to land the plane.
IMDB rating - 5.9
Thinner (1996) directed by Tom Holland and starring Robert Burke, Joe Mantegna, Lucinda Jenney, Michael Constantine and Kari Wuhrer. 92mins.
Based on Stephen King's 1984 novel published under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.
An arrogant obese lawyer is cursed by a gypsy and starts to lose weight, getting thinner and thinner...
US Box Office - $15.3m
IMDB rating - 5.4
The Night Flier (1997) directed by Mark Pavia and starring Miguel Ferrer, Julia Entwistle, Dan Monahan, Michael Moss and John Bennes. 93mins.
Based on the Stephen King short story included in the collection, Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993).
A reporter on the trail of a serial killer dubbed "The Night Flier" begins to suspect his quarry might be a vampire.
US Box Office - $0.1m
IMDB rating - 5.7
The Shining (1997) directed by Mick Garris and starring Steven Weber, Rebecca De Mornay, Courtland Mead, Will Horneff and Melvin Van Peebles. 273mins.
A three part miniseries based on Stephen King's 1977 horror novel.
King wrote the screenplay, he wanted to make sure the series was a truer adaptation than the Stanley Kubrick movie which he disliked.
Steven Weber won a Saturn Award for his role as Jack Torrance.
IMDB rating - 6.0
Apt Pupil (1998) directed by Bryan Singer and starring Brad Renfro, Ian McKellen, Joshua Jackson, Bruce Davison, James Karen. David Schwimmer and Elias Koteas. 111mins.
Based on Stephen King's novella included in the collection, Different Seasons (1982).
Todd Bowden (Renfro) discovers that the old man living nearby is a Nazi war criminal, he tells him that he won't turn him over to authorities if he tells him stories about Nazi atrocities during the holocaust.
Ian McKellen won a Best Supporting Actor Saturn Award for his role and the film won Best Horror Film.
US Box Office - $8.8m
IMDB rating - 6.6
The Green Mile (1999) directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell and Barry Pepper. 189mins.
Based on Stephen King's novel first published as a 6-part paperback series in 1996.
Nominated for 4 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Best Sound.
US Box Office - $136.8m
IMDB rating - 8.4
Hearts in Atlantis (2001) directed by Scott Hicks and starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, Mika Boorem, David Morse and Alan Tudyk. 101mins.
Loosely adapted from Stephen King's novella "Low Men in Yellow Coats", included in the collection, Hearts in Atlantis (1999).
A mysterious old man arrives in town and befriends a young boy who discovers the man has psychic powers and is being pursued by strange people called the "low men".
US Box Office - $24.1m
IMDB rating - 6.8
Rose Red (2002) directed by Craig Baxley and starring Nancy Travis, Matt Keesler, Kimberley Brown, David Dukes, Judith Ivey, Melanie Lynskey, Matt Ross and Julian Sands. 254mins.
A four part miniseries written by Stephen King and not based on any of his stories.
Rose Red is the name of a mansion which is reported to be haunted and 23 people have disappeared or died there. A team with psychic powers decide to spend a night in the haunted mansion.
IMDB rating - 6.4.
The Dead Zone (2002) a TV series starring Anthony Michael Hall, Nicole de Boer, Chris Bruno, John L. Adams and David Ogden Stiers.
80 x 60mins episodes running for six seasons from 2002 to 2007.
Based on characters from Stephen King's 1979 novel of the same name.
IMDB rating - 7.5
Dreamcatcher (2003) directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Sizemore and Donnie Wahlberg. 136mins.
Screenplay by Kasdan and William Goldman, based on Stephen King's novel published in 2001. King wrote this story while he was recovering from a near fatal accident when a car hit him while he was out walking.
Four friends with strange psychic powers go on a camping trip and get caught up in an alien invasion. The parasitic invaders, known as sh!t weasels, are being hunted by a military unit led by an insane Colonel.
US Box Office - $33.7m
IMDB rating - 5.3
Salem's Lot (2004) directed by Mikael Salomon and starring Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher, Donald Sutherland, Samantha Mathis, James Cromwell and Rutger Hauer as Kurt Barlow. 181mins.
A two part miniseries based on Stephen King's 1975 vampire novel, which was also adapted as a miniseries in 1979.
Ben Mears (Lowe) returns to his old home town only to discover the place is plagued by vampires.
IMDB rating - 6.1
1408 (2007) directed by Mikael Hafstrom and starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack and Tony Shalhoub. 104mins (112mins directors cut)
Based on Stephen King's novella first included in the audiobook anthology Blood and Smoke (1999) before appearing in written form in the collection Everything's Eventual (2002).
Mike Enslin (Cusack) specialises in debunking haunted houses, he decides to spend the night at the infamous room 1408 at the Dolphin hotel. He is warned by the hotel manager (Jackson) that over a span of 68 years 42 people have died in the room, 12 were suicides.
US Box Office - $71.9m
IMDB rating - 6.8
The Mist (2007) directed by Frank Darabont and starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones and William Sadler. 126mins.
Based on Stephen King's novella which was first published in the horror anthology Dark Forces (1980).
After a violent thunderstorm, strange, bizarre creatures start emerging from another dimension attacking and killing the people of a small town.
A black and white edition of the film is included on the DVD.
US Box Office - $25.5m
IMDB rating - 7.3
Bag of Bones (2011) directed by Mick Garris and starring Pierce Brosnan, Melissa George, Annabeth Gish, Anika Noni Rose, Matt Frewer and Jason Priestley. 234mins.
A miniseries in two parts based on Stephen King's novel published in 1998.
A best selling novelist, grieving over the loss of his wife and unborn child, returns to his summer home in Maine. He starts to have disturbing dreams and strange visions, he discovers ghosts are haunting the house.
IMDB rating - 5.8.