Theme Times – Stephen King Movies

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Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy novels. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. King has published 61 novels (including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman) and six non-fiction books. He has written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections.

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire oeuvre, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004) and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007). In 2015, King was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature. He has been described as the “King of Horror”.

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I am a huge fan of Kings and have followed him since the 70’s – in fact l used to write to him as a 13 year old and was still writing to him when l was 19 and he always responded to each and every letter  – which was something for the later 70’s and early 80’s as there was no Internet. I used to write to him, James Herbert, Guy N Smith, Peter Tremayne, Fritz Leiber, William Peter Blatty, Jay Anson, Graham Masterton, Deen Koontz, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, Peter Benchley and also Anne Rice in the later 80’s. They ALL wrote back, long before the arrival of email…. l used to write to a lot of horror writers – l have no idea where those letters are now, lost to the sands of time no doubt, as in the hay day there must have been a box of perhaps 100 assorted letters.

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The true hard core horror buffs amongst you will recognise many if not all of those names. Of them all,  they were all  favourites, but my three main writers were King, Herbert and Smith. King would often include advice with regards writing in his letters back and of course like many l also bought his book ‘On Writing’ which is where l saw many of his early tips to me reappear. All Awesome writers. Of course sadly Herbert is no longer with us, but his books live on as indeed all good horror writers do. Of course what also live on , are their books in film and Stephen King’s work is NO stranger to the flicks, below is what l consider his Top Ten Horror Novels to Horror Films.

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Now how about you, fan of both film and book or just book or just film?

1 – Misery – 1991

After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who claims to be his biggest fan. Annie brings him to her remote cabin to recover, where her obsession takes a dark turn when she discovers Sheldon is killing off her favorite character from his novels. As Sheldon devises plans for escape, Annie grows increasingly controlling, even violent, as she forces the author to shape his writing to suit her twisted fantasies.

 2 – The Mist – 2007

After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to gather food and supplies. Soon afterward, a thick fog rolls in and engulfs the town, trapping the Draytons and others in the grocery store. Terror mounts as deadly creatures reveal themselves outside, but that may be nothing compared to the threat within, where a zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) calls for a sacrifice.

3 – The Dead Zone – 1983

After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to gather food and supplies. Soon afterward, a thick fog rolls in and engulfs the town, trapping the Draytons and others in the grocery store. Terror mounts as deadly creatures reveal themselves outside, but that may be nothing compared to the threat within, where a zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) calls for a sacrifice.

4 – Creepshow – 1982

A compendium of five short but terrifying tales contained within a single full-length feature, this film conjures scares from traditional bogeymen and portents of doom. In one story, a monster escapes from its holding cell. Another focuses on a husband (Leslie Nielsen) with a creative way of getting back at his cheating wife. Other stories concern a rural man (Stephen King) and a visitor from outer space, and a homeowner (E.G. Marshall) with huge bug problems and a boozing corpse.

5 – Carrie – 1976

In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.

6 – Cujo – 1983

In this tale of a killer canine, man’s best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo is bitten by a bat, he starts behaving oddly and becomes very aggressive. As Cujo morphs into a dangerous beast, he goes on a rampage in a small town. Stay-at-home mom Donna (Dee Wallace) gets caught in Cujo’s crosshairs on a fateful errand with her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro). Stuck in their tiny car, Donna and Tad have a frightening showdown with the crazed animal.

7 – Dolores Claiborne – 1995

In a small New England town, Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) works as a housekeeper for the rich but heartless Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt). When Vera turns up dead, Dolores is accused of killing her elderly employer — so her estranged daughter, Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a well-respected New York City journalist, decides to visit her mother and investigate the matter for herself. As Selena digs deeper into the case, she uncovers shocking truths about the murder and her own childhood.

8 – It – 1990

In 1960, seven preteen outcasts fight an evil demon that poses as a child-killing clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once and for all when it returns to their hometown.

9 – Pet Sematary – 1989

Doctor Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.

10 – The Shining – 1980

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

So there we go folks, what l consider to be the Top 10 Stephen King Horror Films – but that’s just me, how about you? What would your 10 be of horror books to films?

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7 thoughts on “Theme Times – Stephen King Movies

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  1. I’m a HUGE fan. I have almost everything King ever wrote too, including his books under his pseudonym “Richard Bachman”. His decades in the making “Dark Tower” series holds pride of place, as I have almost all the original books, as they came out. The movie “The Dark Tower” was awful. “Dark Tower” (eight books plus one novelette) was far too complex to cram into ONE movie. The back story was so massive that to do it justice in film or TV format, they’d have to find a better screen/script writer than they hired to do the one movie they did. I have the serialized “The Green Mile” books, purchased as they came out in serial form (half dozen (maybe more, I forget) small novelette length books). I believe King said it was ala the great Charles Dickens and his habit of doing some of his works that way that inspired King to do Green Mile that way. Some of the books I admit to not being able to finish reading as they feature cruelty to animals – dogs in particular. Not “Cujo” oddly enough (that one pissed me off that the owners never got the dog inoculated for rabies), but “Gerald’s Game”. I couldn’t finish it.

    Some of the ‘middle works’ (i.e. books King wrote around the mid point of his career) like “Tommyknockers”, “were so poorly done (and who am I to judge? King is a published, world-famous author and I’m nobody) that I read them and was angry that I had bothered. Some of his recent works didn’t grab me particularly, and the collaborative book he did with his son “Sleeping Beauties” was pretty awful IMHO. I’ve not followed the “Dr. Sleep” trilogy (I think it’s three books) either. But “Elevation”, “Joyland” and the most recent book he published kept me riveted, I devoured them. I was disappointed that the very newest one (due out in May of next year, but available on-line as a ‘pre-order’ wasn’t ready to read right now.

    I’ve only ever seen “The Shining” (with Jack Nicholsen, who will always be the character I see in my mind’s eye when I think of that movie or re-read the book) , ‘The Green Mile’, “Shawshank Redemption”, “Silver Bullet”, “Creepshow” and the one whose title I can’t recall right now about the demon possessed vehicles (big rigs being possessed is UBER CREEPY btw) as to the movies they made out of his works. The books are definitely my preference.

  2. OH! I forgot this one and silly me. “The Stand”. I’ve seen the film (TV film) and I’ve read the whole book. It was a door stop sized novel too. Fascinating and really creepy in that isn’t that where our world is headed right now? A ‘bug’ will take humanity down in the end I suspect. Or maybe it’s just me being weird.

    Lastly, THANK YOU RORY! The package arrived today and I can’t wait to use the notebook. I’m going to keep my Halloween make-up kits and so forth in the bag, and the stickers and card were great! Thanks again! 😀

    1. The Stand was a classic it was a killing book alone considering the weight of it! – l dropped it once and it landed spine down on my toe – it was evil, but a darn good read 🙂

  3. I am also a HUGE King fan. His Dark Tower series quite possibly saved my life, as I’ve written about before. He and his son Joe Hill are pretty much the only authors I buy actual print books of their work these days. I buy ebooks or borrow from the library mostly.

    I didnt even know Dolores Claiborne was made into a movie😯 Kathy Bates seems like an excellent casting choice for the character. I usually dont really like the films they make from his books. There’s just so, so much that doesnt translate. He’s a fantastic writer and seems like a nice man too.

    Ha! Melanie and I have gushed all over this post, I hope we didnt leave a mess🙊😂😂

    1. Hey Angie, l agree with you both – SKing is an awesome writer and sadly not all of his books translate that well to the big screen because of the depth to them, but hey King used to be in a lot of his own movies – l guess he is happy, he mades millions 🙂

  4. Nice post Rory 😀.
    I’ve seen a lot of his moves but not read many of his books if I couldn’t get it from the library I didn’t read it, couldn’t afford to buy books as a kid and still can’t.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

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