Throwback Thursday: Celebrate Stephen King's birthday by watching these terrifying films

It's the king of horror, Stephen King's 69th birthday.

It has been 39 years since King released his first novel Carrie in 1977.

Stephen King. Image courtesy: Creative Commons

Stephen King. Image courtesy: Creative Commons

Since then, he 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 King's work for film and TV.

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.)

Misery (1990)
Take a look at the dark side of fame, in the black comedy Misery. 

Image courtesy: creative commons

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

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’; both will have nightmares till the end.

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.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

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.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

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.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

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

IT (1990)
Discover how Stephen King made crowns extremely creepy with IT.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

A still from the film. Image courtesy: Creative Commons.

Clowns are not lovable funny creatures according to Stephen King. Pennywise, a shape-shifting clown 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 ‘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 of young children. Will they succeed in defeating the monster again?

The miniseries achieved cult status and is up for a remake which will debut in 2017. The film will be directed by Andrés Muschietti (director of the 2013 film Mama) who posted this photo on Instagram a few weeks ago:

Day one

A photo posted by Andy Muschietti (@andy_muschietti) on

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

Published Date: Sep 22, 2016 02:32 pm | Updated Date: Sep 22, 2016 04:12 pm