Stephen King is the best living writer

The 13 best Stephen King films of all time

For many, Stephen King - the author of such famous works as "The Shining", "The Condemned" and "The Dark Tower" - is the undisputed master of horror. The sales figures of his books and the gigantic fan base that supports the American author and fills his pockets speak for themselves. But what is much more interesting about King's works is how incredibly difficult they are to film.

Stephen King Films: Our Recommendations

Many well-known directors and screenwriters have gripped their teeth on Mr. King's novels. But despite everything, the 2017 version of "ES", the horror saga about a clown who cannot be looked at peacefully, is no exception when it comes to cinema success. So if you don't want to wait until autumn 2019 for the sequel, you will find serious alternatives to the man-eating monster in our list.

In this list you will find our recommendations, quasi the top Stephen King films of all time (as of October 9, 2017). Keep in mind, however, that many of these cinematic art expressions are children of their time. With this in mind, we have narrowed our list to those films that have aged excellently and can skilfully hide the influence of the ever-gnawing ravages of time.

Above: Stephen King, born September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine.

Carrie - Satan's Youngest Daughter (1976)

The story of this film revolves around the protagonist of the same name, played by Sissy Spacek. The shy outsider is teased at school and suffers from the strict upbringing of her godly mother at home. In the course of her story, the young girl increasingly shakes off her shyness and instead develops telekinetic skills. When her classmates' pranks reach a terrible climax, she can no longer suppress her gift.

The work of director Brian De Palma was a real shocker of its time and left both audiences and critics speechless. Although “Carrie” is told in a subtle way, so there is a lack of action and / or great horror elements, this version, just like the original book, convinces with the detailed depiction of human abysses and their behavior ... “Satan's youngest daughter “Can be seen more as a fantastic drama, but also works as a horror film on certain levels.

Director: Brian De Palma ("Passion", "Scarface", "The Untouchables")

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt

Christine (1983)

This recommendation should be taken with caution, as the horror film by the legendary director John Carpenter is more of an ironic swipe at the genre than a really creepy representative of its kind. The film is about playing with the viewer's fear and trying to get through everyday life Objects to cause maximally distorted paranoia. So if you want to be scared by all the rules of the art, you should look around for other films. However, if you are ready to put yourself fully into the situation, you should get your money's worth here in a highly entertaining way.

"Christine" is about the young man Arnie, who has suffered badly at school. To at least have some fun in his spare time, he buys and restores a 1958 Plymouth Fury. During this work, the character of the main character changes; he becomes more self-confident, but unfortunately also more arrogant. And shortly afterwards, the murders of those who caused Arnie pain begin. The car, which goes by the name of Christine, has a demonic life of its own.

Director: John Carpenter ("The Rattlesnake", "Big Trouble in Little China", "Vampire")

Starring: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Roberts Blossom

Above: There aren't many cars that are as scary as Christine.

Cujo (1983)

Even if the film differs significantly from the novel in a very certain passage, both the book and the cinema adaptation have been implemented excellently. At least when it comes to classic horror. For a film of this genre, “Cujo” takes a lot of time and space to shed light on the background of the story. The viewer is sensitively introduced into the world and blindly confronted with fear. The version by director Lewis Teague manages to steadily increase the tension.

The focus of this film is the fate of two families linked by the Saint Bernard Cujo. While the dog gradually succumbs to the bite of a rabid bat and threatens to turn into a monster, the film illuminates the individual characters and their motivations. A valve for the voltage is only opened at the end. Another film that only really crawls under your skin if the viewer can put themselves in the position of the characters.

Director: Lewis Teague ("Halloween", "The Lords of Salem", "Critters")

Starring: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Ed Lauter, Billy Jayne

Dolores (1995)

A great Stephen King film adaptation, but not a horror film. "Dolores" is a thriller with extremely subtle special effects. It is like a drama about a difficult mother-daughter relationship, a tightrope act between touching humanity and the deep abysses that can be found in the human soul. Actress Kathy Bates' play is particularly excellent here.

Dolores is a brisk and quick-witted housekeeper who is accused of killing her decrepit employer. In the course of the story, Detective John Mackey tries to prove the suspect's crime and to conclude that he could not find any evidence against the woman for the possible murder of her husband 20 years ago. Dolores ‘adult daughter, Selena St. George, returns suspiciously to her hometown after the death of the old lady ...

Director: Taylor Hackford ("An Officer and a Gentleman", "Born in Queens", "Love Ranch")

Actors: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judy Parfitt, Christopher Plummer

Above: The game between Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh is excellent.

Stephen King's It (1990)

You can love it or hate it, prefer the new version, and even never have heard of the first version. None of this changes the fact that the 1990s version of "ES" was one of the best horror films of its time. A threatening atmosphere was cleverly built up here without resorting to unnecessary, bloody effects. Timy Curry's performance as Pennywise is much more harmless than the 2017 version, but it has its own creepy charm.

"Stephen King's Es" differs significantly in some respects from the novel, but impresses with its excellent actress and many intelligently chosen camera settings and special effects. The fight against the incarnation of a demon is a wild mix of adventure film and body horror. The game with fears is excellently staged and in many respects the film still works today.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace ("Halloween III", "Los Muertos", "My Neighbor, the Vampire")

Cast: Tim Curry, Richard Thomas, Jonathan Brandis, Annette O'Toole, Emily Perkins

The Fire Devil (1984)

Two test persons make themselves available for experiments, fall in love and have a daughter. The young girl, Charlie, has supernatural abilities and can use her thoughts to kindle fire (pyrokinesis). The institute that administered the drug-like substances to Charlie's parents at the time is now after their daughter and wants to continue the experiments from then.

“The Fire Devil” is not necessarily the best-known representative of the horror genre, but one of the really good ones. Not only the acting performance of David Keith and Drew Barrymore was excellent, the performance of the director, screenwriter and soundtrack are also on a high level. Only in a few places long-winded, but largely extremely exciting horror film, which rather relies on the elements of a thriller.

Director: Mark L. Lester ("The Phantom Command", "Poseidon Rex", White Rush ")

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, David Keith, Louise Fletcher

Above: Little Drew Barrymore is all playing against the wall.

Stuffed Animals Cemetery (1989)

Children who lose their parents are orphans. But parents who lose their children ... there is no name for that. Nobody should have to suffer such a terrible fate. Louis Creed finds himself in exactly this situation and, out of grief, makes the worst decision of his life: he buries his son who died in an accident in a cursed cemetery in the hope that his child will come back to life. This actually happens, but the boy has changed a lot ...

The horror film based on Stephen King's novel of the same name is one of the master's best adaptations, although the cinematic version takes on more than an artistic freedom. Nonetheless, the bottom line is a carefully designed, gentle horror that puts a lot of time and effort into its construction until it comes to the dark and effective finale.

Director: Mary Lambert ("Siesta", "Halloweentown II", "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid")

Starring: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Miko Hughes, Fred Gwynne

The Green Mile (1999)

The literary film adaptation, published in 1999, is based on the eponymous series of novels by Stephen King. The film tells the story of the sentenced to death John Coffey - a muscular, nearly six feet tall African-American who is accused of raping and murdering two little girls. Prison guard Paul Edgecomb, however, doubts this verdict, since John is kind-hearted, friendly, not particularly intelligent, but has been blessed with a wonderful gift.

“The Green Mile” is not a horror film and only in a few parts is a thriller. This work by Frank Darabont can be described as a fantastic drama. The excellent cast and the sensitive way with which the suffering of the protagonist is portrayed harmonize on several levels. Atmospherically dense, masterfully implemented and with an excellent script that at least lives up to the original.

Director: Frank Darabont ("The Condemned", "The Fog", "The Walking Dead")

Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell

Above: The Green Mile “is probably one of the best Stephen King films of all time.

The Fog (2007)

Frank Darabont's 2007 version is probably the best adaptation of King's short story of the same name. The author himself stated that he found this film version seriously frightening. Critics largely agree with him and describe the work as an excitingly staged horror that skilfully hops back and forth between trash and new, creative impulses. The result is brave, disturbing and nerve-wracking.

In a small town in Maine an eerie fog suddenly spreads, inside of which horrific creatures seem to live. While the inhabitants of the place desperately try to survive and find shelter from the mysterious fog in buildings, the viewers gradually learn more about the background that is responsible for the appearance of the monsters. But in the end, humans are themselves the greatest enemy again ...

Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher

The Shining (1997)

“The Shining” is arguably the best example of why Stephen King's novels are considered so difficult to translate. After Mr. King didn't like the 1980 version of Stanley Kubrick, mainly because lead actor Jack Nichelson pushed the ghostly hotel into the background, he penned the pen himself and wrote the screenplay for the 1997 three-part film. This variant is much quieter, almost restrained. The real horror only breaks out towards the end, until then the work of Mick Garris deals primarily with the human aspect of the story.

Actor Steven Weber can hardly hold a candle to Jack Nichelson as Jack Torrance, of course, but he still shows interesting aspects of the character and plays them skillfully. This time the focus is much more on the hotel and the gruesome apparitions and forces that ultimately take control of the mind of the family man. Well-kept psychological study with eerily beautiful approaches. If it is too boring for you, you should rather go back to the first implementation. It's the difference between subtle horror that drags on too much and insubstantial horror that gets to the point.

Director: Mick Garris ("Critters 2", "Stephen King's Sleepwalker", "Quicksilver Highway")

Cast: Steven Weber, Rebecca De Mornay, Courtland Mead, Pat Hingle

Picture above: Here comes ... uh. Jacki? Steven Weber as Jack Torrance.

Stand by Me (1986)

Probably one of the most successful films by Stephen King. “Stand by Me” is an adventure film that is out of the ordinary for those who are not familiar with King's works. The sensitive and atmospherically described youth film is primarily about the complexity of the human psyche, the secret of growing up and the miracle of friendship. Emotionally charged conversations, a sustaining, constructive and engaging story form the holding ring of this unusual odyssey of several childhood friends.

Director: Rob Reiner ("Misery", "Harry and Sally", "A Question of Honor")

Cast: Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack, Corey Feldman

Stephen Kings Stark (1993)

Timothy Hutton plays the writer Thad Beaumont in this horror thriller, who makes his breakthrough under the pseudonym George Stark. When a stranger threatens to reveal Stark's true identity, Beaumont's alter ego develops more and more into an independent and extremely dangerous being. Throughout the story, this evil thing tries to kill everyone connected to the main character.

“Strong” knows how much time you can give a horror film to unfold and, at the same time, when the suspense has to be raised and lowered. This creates an almost perfect mix of psychological horror and the sheer horror of a fantastic thriller. Hutton's acting may not be of the highest caliber, but it nonetheless makes his character appear multi-layered and interesting.

Director: George A. Romero ("The Night of the Living Dead", "Zombie", "Land of the Dead")

Starring: Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, Robert Joy

Above: George Stark is extremely real and eager to come into our world.

The Condemned (1994)

The film is based on Stephen King's novel Spring, Summer, Autumn and Death. There are numerous differences to the original book and yet "The Condemned" is without question one of the best Stephen King films that ever saw the light of day. It tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), sentenced to life imprisonment, and his friendship with fellow inmate Red (Morgan Freeman). The drama is touching, serious, profound and clever on several levels.

In the end, the film adaptation almost surpasses the original book, which may be mainly due to the perfect acting by Freeman and Robbins. But also the script by director Darabont and the careless monotony with which the story is presented here make “The Condemned” one of the best prison films of all time. Seldom is so much achieved with so little effort.

Director: Frank Darabont

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, James Whitmore

Editor: Heiner "Gumpi" Gumprecht, 10.10.2017