Stephen King's IT is here: Other scary films based on his stories you've got to see
If you've seen the first official trailer for Stephen King's IT — the film remake of the '90s TV miniseries based on the bestselling novelist's 1986 book of the same name — then you know that is seriously spooky and scary.
If you haven't, then here's a short synopsis and a link to the trailer itself.
IT introduced to the world Pennywise, the scariest clown in the world, and contributed to the rise in coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — among its viewers.
IT, fans will tell you, is among Stephen King's finest stories, but there are several others that take up the spook quotient several notches higher — stories written over the 39 years since the writer published his first novel Carrie in 1977.
King has captured the genre of horror and fantasy perfectly by writing more than 54 books that have terrified us.
His books are a mixture of horror, drama, fantasy, fiction and non-fiction, and have made him one of the greatest American writers alive.
King's fantastical storytelling begs to be converted into a visual medium for a retelling and there have been amazing transformations of his work for film and TV — not just IT.
Here are our top five movies based on Stephen King books, which have not only adapted the source respectfully and effectively, but also work on a cinematic level. (We haven't included Carrie and The Shawshank Redemption on the list because they deserve their own space.)
Take a look at the dark side of fame, in the black comedy Misery.
Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her role as the antagonist Annie Wilkes for this film.
The plot follows novelist Paul Sheldon (played by James Caan) who is known for writing romantic novellas starring his trademark character 'Misery' Chastaine. On a drive to New York, Sheldon is injured in a car accident which Annie Wilkes saves him from.
The former nurse takes care of him in her remote house, but becomes irate when she discovers that the author has killed Misery off in his latest book. Annie keeps Sheldon prisoner while forcing him to write a book that brings Misery back to life.
You don’t need werewolves, ghosts, vampires or witches to scare you in this film. Kathy Bates’s Annie Wilkes psychotic behavior will chill you to the core; whether it is prim-girl swearing or her eating Cheetos in bed while watching Family Feud.
Memorable Quote: “I’m your number one fan. There’s nothing to worry about. You’re going to be just fine. I will take good care of you. I’m your number one fan.” — Annie Wilkes
The Shining (1980)
Welcome to the hotel that will be the scariest holiday of your lifetime, in The Shining.
Only director Stanley Kubrick can make the ‘Road Runner’ theme sound creepy.
Made in the pre-vfx era where story-lines still mattered, The Shinning takes you to the chilling Overlook Hotel that has had a history of evil attached to it.
Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their young son Danny move into the Overlook Hotel, where Jack has been hired as the winter caretaker. Torrance hopes to recover from his bouts of alcoholism and uncontrolled rage by peacefully writing a play in this period. But all is not well as the evil forces in Overlook try and possess Danny’s body because of his precognitive powers.
Though the film didn’t win any awards, it successfully launched Jack Nicolson’s career and the film reached cult status as 'the horror film' to watch.
Memorable Quote: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” — Jack Torrance
The Mist (2007)
The apocalypse is here, and there is nowhere to run in the chilling The Mist.
David Drayton and his son Billy are among a large group of terrified people who are trapped in a local grocery story enveloped by a strange, otherworldly mist and the deadly creatures that lurk in it.
As the mist takes its toll on the nerves of those trapped in the store, a religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody begins to play on their fears to convince them that this is God’s vengeance for their sins and that a sacrifice must be made and two groups — those for and those against — are aligned. As reason crumbles in the face of fear and panic, David begins to wonder what terrifies him more: the monsters in the mist or the ones inside the store, the human kind, those who were his friends and neighbours?
Memorable Quote: “The end of times has come. Not in flames, but in mist.” — Mrs Carmody
The Green Mile (1999)
For an insider’s view at what goes on in a death row penitentiary, watch The Green Mile.
One of the best film adaptations of Stephen Kings' works, this film is more about emotions than supernatural powers.
They call death row at Cold Mountain prison ‘The Green Mile.’ John Coffey is sentenced to be executed for the rape and murder of two young girls. Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) the ward superintendent, discovers that there is more to John Coffey than meets the eye, for this friendly giant has the power to heal.
Memorable Quotes: “People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” — John Coffey
Discover how Stephen King made crowns extremely creepy with IT.
While there's still some time for the film to hit the theatres, you might revisit the TV series and acquaint yourself with Pennywise, a shape-shifting clown who is definitely what nightmares are made of.
The TV miniseries follows a group of childhood friends, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kasbrak, Stan Uris, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, Ben Hanscom, and Bill Denbrough, known as ‘The Losers Club’, who are reunited to fight an old enemy, Pennywise aka ‘IT’ after more than two decades. IT is a shape shifting monster from a different dimension which disguises itself as a clown to attract its preferred prey (young children).
The miniseries achieved cult status, so small wonder this film remake (directed by Andrés Muschietti) was planned.
The miniseries has King's trademark themes of childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values. We wonder if the film will live up to the hype the miniseries created?
Memorable Quotes: “They all float down here.” — Pennywise