The 5 best and worst movie adaptations of Stephen King (according to IMDb)
Acclaimed master of horror Stephen King is sort of an intersection between book lovers and movie geeks because the only thing more impressive than the value of the library horror novels he has written is their volume that has been adapted to the big screen. In between, there are some of the most iconic works of art in horror media as a whole. Despite all of that, his list of top picks on IMDB isn’t even one of the genre he’s primarily known for.
Ironically, almost all of its lower-rated movie credits are horror offerings. Whether they were too conceptually bizarre for mainstream audiences or simply suffered from messy production, one thing is for sure – IMDB’s reviews weren’t nice. To illustrate, here are the five highest-rated Stephen King movie adaptations via IMDB, alongside the five worst. As a catch, they must be directly adapted from a short story or book originally written by King. Suites and suites without roots in its literary library are prohibited.
ten BEST: The Doctor’s Case (2018) (7.9 / 10)
Believe it or not, Stephen King actually wrote a Sherlock holmes adventure. Entitled The doctor’s case, it was originally published in the years 1987 The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of original stories around the classic characters of Arthur Conan Doyle.
The intrigue surrounds Holmes and Watson investigating the murder of a certain Lord Hull, a man whose abusive treatment of his family was endured in an attempt to receive some of his wealth by way of inheritance. Despite working on a small, crowdfunded budget, the film’s relatively rare reviews have been rave.
9 WORST: Mercy (2014) (5.0 / 10)
Pity is adapted from the short story by Stephen King Grandmother, originally released in 1984. It’s a decently creepy little business that follows eleven-year-old protagonist George as he has to care for his bedridden grandmother, only to learn there is an elder. evil that lurks in the facade of the helpless old woman.
Although the film adaptation sought to channel the rising star power of Chandler Riggs during his run on The walking dead, his performance drew fierce criticism, with some claiming his acting drugged an otherwise passable script. Conversely, others praised the acting talent but scoffed at the attempt to stretch a short story beyond its limits. Where the two ends meet is in their aversion to this movie.
8 BEST: Stand by Me (1986) (8.1 / 10)
Support me was adapted from the 1982 Stephen King novel titled The body just four years after its publication. And as coming of age tales typically accompany Stephen King, this one is an absolute classic, both in its literary and cinematic presentations.
The plot follows a quartet of young boys who, upon learning that another child from their town has gone missing and is presumed dead, embark on a journey to find his body. The cast here is particularly noteworthy, featuring a host of then-young names who would become incredibly well-known, such as Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and more.
7 WORST: Graveyard Shift (1990) (4.9 / 10)
Sometimes the horror formula may seem too simple. Choose a coarse or scary creature, make it bigger and scarier, and you will have instant horror magic in your hands. This was the formula applied to Stephen King’s short story, Change of cemetery, originally published in 1970. And that would prove that the formula does not necessarily guarantee good results.
The story essentially follows the exploits of a few workers at a textile factory trying to clear a rat infestation in the factory’s long-abandoned basement. Only the rats grew up and became horrible monsters. That sums it all up pretty well, honestly. The movie version is straightforward B movie material, and not in a fun way.
6 BEST: The Shining (1980) (8.4 / 10)
Seminal horror classic The brilliant is renowned enough within the horror community to demand very little explanation for its presence here. While this goes down in history as an iconic entry to horror cinema, King’s own feelings regarding the film adaptation have been mixed to say the least.
At the center of his doubts about Kubrick’s interpretation of his story is the downplaying of Jack Torrance’s drinking problems, a theme King had strongly identified with during the writing of the book. While he believed Kubrick had managed to produce a scary and visually gruesome film, King felt that there were many thematic elements he had deliberately focused on being reflected on for his adaptation.
5 EIRP: Cell (2016) (4.3 / 10)
Move, Black mirror, because Cellis here, and they have real zombies. Kind of. Make the commentary social with all the subtlety of a constantly spinning chainsaw, Cell answers this timeless question: what if your cell phone decides to turn you into a stupidly wild, zombified shell of your old humanity?
It hurts to say it, but this one was doomed from the start. Aside from the hilarious concept on the nose, the people affected by the deadly cell phone signal are called … the telephonists. Yes, the telephone operators. Given the presumably unintended hilarity of the core concept, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its film version wasn’t liked.
4 BEST: The Green Mile (1999) (8.6 / 10)
Originally published as a six-volume serial novel by King from 1996, The green Line is, unsurprisingly, one of the most successful and critically acclaimed film adaptations of his works. The novel and its resulting big-screen adaptation were both incredibly successful, and rightly so.
As well as being adapted from one of King’s finest literary achievements, the cast, character performances, and Oscar-nominated screenplay all came together in a way best described as fortuitous. Barely a shocking entry here, all things considered, but one that commands respect.
3 WORST: The Mangler (1995) (4.1 / 10)
Can it be said that a horror story about a spooky, haunted washing machine really had a lot of hope from the start? The subversion here is to be appreciated – finding horror in unexpected places, in the everyday and the mundane. But this 1972 King short film may have just shot a little too straightforward for “mundane.”
And as you might expect, the film adaptation that took place two decades later didn’t go as well. As an interesting note, horror legend starred Robert Englund, best known as the man buried under the prosthetic makeup of Freddie Krueger.
2 BEST: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (9.3 / 10)
And to top it off as the top rated Stephen King adaptation on IMDB is none other than Shawshank’s Redemption, adapted from his 1982 short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. For the uninitiated, The Plot follows wrongly convicted criminal Andy Dufresne through his trials and tribulations behind bars and eventual redemption.
There are quite a few critics out there who will likely tell you that this is one of the greatest films of all time, nominated for no less than seven Oscars. Oddly enough, he failed to get any of them home, although he received a host of other praise.
1 WORST: The Devil’s Gift (1984) (2.4 / 10)
Receiving the dubious honor of Stephen King’s worst film adaptation according to IMDB is The devil’s gift. The credit to King is, fortunately, perhaps indirect. But the plot of the film is fairly widely accepted as being a plagiarism of its short story, The monkey, which he mentioned on the film’s IMDB page as a writer.
The film follows the exploits of a murderous ape who strikes cymbals, which is perfectly legitimate at first glance. The entirety of the film manages to turn out to be utterly bland despite the comedic absurdity of its premise, which is a rare achievement in the ’80s horror fare.
NEXT: 10 Stephen King Stories That Would Be Impossible To Show On The Big Screen
10 deleted scenes from the 2010s that would have made his movie better
About the Author