Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Movies Made Adapted From Stephen King Books

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Wildest cat from montana, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    This is a really mixed bag for me...
    Some good , some bad and some real stinkers. Like the books themselves I suppose.
    I haven' t read all the King books and I haven' t seen all the movies adapted from them but I' ve read quite a few and seen quite a few.
    Let me start with ' The Stand '. Enjoyed the book well enough ( long though , King is very long winded at times) and the story held my interest for the most part despite some wonky bits.
    And there was a three-part made-for-tv movie of it ages ago with Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. It was ok for what it was but lacking something. Not enough creepiness, not enough weirdness.But I read a remake is in the works which could be very promising but maybe not because that's the way it goes with King movies.
    Michael, alexpop and MothMonsterMan like this.
  2. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Oregon Coast
    The Shining of course, and I'm happy that it strayed from King's storyline.
    I thought the Dead Zone was pretty good.
    The Running Man is great, entertaining cheese, perfectly prophesying fake news. :)
    The Green Mile.
    I thought the Salem's Lot TV adaptation was pretty good back then.
    cartoonist and sentinel90125 like this.
  3. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    All things considered , ' The Dead Zone ' is probably the best King movie.
  4. neo123

    neo123 Forum Resident

    Northern Kentucky
    Yep, The Dead Zone is one of my favorites. Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen were very good. I even liked the TV series with Anthony Michael Hall that was based on it. I was kind of sad when it was cancelled. Anthony Michael Hall put a lot of work into that series.

    The recent IT movie was excellent, especially part 1 (far better than the original TV mini series.)

    Original Carrie with Spacek and Travolta I liked a lot.

    Cujo and Christine were okay for a Saturday Night Drive-in experience back in high school.

    Original Salem's Lot miniseries was by far the best of the TV King movies. The Stand was okay, but I don't remember much about that one except for Rob Lowe, Gary Sinise, and Molly Ringwald being in it.

    Original Pet Sematary I liked too.

    The Running Man was a cool, fun, campy movie based on King's short story.

    1408 with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson I really liked and thought it was scary throughout.

    Shawshank Redemption is a classic. No comment necessary on this one. This is one movie that got a better reputation as time went by. Almost like a Cult Classic.

    Stand By Me, Misery and The Green Mile were excellent as well.

    Children Of The Corn is a movie I remembered I liked originally back in the mid '80s when I was in college. Though, when I watched it again, years later, it didn't seem to hold up to my memory of the first time seeing it.

    Creepshow was a fun movie experience too the first time around in the early '80s, but didn't hold up in later viewings.

    Thinner was pretty good and had a good story. Kept my interest throughout. (Don't piss off a Gypsy when wishing to lose weight. LOL)

    Even though King didn't like Kubrick's The Shining, I like it a lot. I also liked last year's follow-up Doctor Sleep.

    The Dark Tower movie I liked even though I know most people think it is trash. (I never read the series of books, but for a condensed 2 hour movie and not knowing anything about the series of books, I thought it was an okay movie.)

    The 2 movies with Drew Barrymore, Firestarter and Cat's Eye, were not memorable at all. Though, I think I liked Firestarter more than Cat's Eye.

    Silver Bullet was kind of a corny movie with cheesy '80s-style special effects, but Gary Busey alone made it worth watching. If not for him, it would've been trash.

    I thought The Langoliers was kind of stupid and I hated the TV series of Under The Dome.

    Most movies/miniseries based on King novels, I like. Though, I didn't see them all and never read the books for most of them. So, I really can't comment on the accuracy of the adaptations.

    I probably left out a few that I did see. I didn't mention the ones I didn't see.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  5. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    I was just going to ' like' your post but the effort you put into it deserved more.
    I agree with a lot of what you said about these movies.
    Some are just duds , others quite good.
    ' The Shawshank Redemption ' is the best King movie.
    drum_cas, Bender Rodriguez and neo123 like this.
  6. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    The Stand miniseries is now on Blu-ray. I got it recently and it's excellent quality. I've seen the miniseries several times and it's the only King adaptation that I'm really satisfied with, at least among the few where I've actually read the book.

    I have two versions of 'Salem's Lot, the David Soul one and the Rob Lowe one. They both seem to get parts of the story right but they take far too many liberties. It's my favorite King novel and I really wish they'd make a decent film or miniseries of it that is faithful to the book.

    I LOATHE the Kubrick version of The Shining. I've seen it several times, the last time I tried to watch it was last year and I turned it off after I heard the phrase, "Indian burial mound." Yeah, it has it's moments, but it isn't a patch on the novel, where you really get to see the main character slowly slide into madness. I am aware that there was a miniseries of The Shining several years ago, has anyone seen that?

    Perhaps the trick is to not read the book. Just on its own merits as a movie, I think the best King property I've seen is Stand By Me, but I've never read the original story.
    MPLRecords likes this.
  7. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    The Shawshank Redemption remains the gold standard of King adaptations... a masterpiece of a film overall that is still as fresh and as moving as it was on first viewing.

    Although truth be told, Rob Reiner should almost get a co-directing credit for it alongside Frank Darabont, considering how much creative input he had and how extensive his contributions were throughout it's production... it's also, I believe, why Shawshank is so tonally perfect compared to Darabont's subsequent directing output.

    I also think the shorter European cut (119 mins) of Kubrick's The Shining to be the better and more concise version overall.

    Just my own humble opinion, of course...
  8. MothMonsterMan

    MothMonsterMan I am a moth who just wants to eat your flag

    Tampa, FL USA
    This is one of the very few pre-2000s King novels I haven't read. I agree the movie is pretty great. Not sure if I'd say it's the best but it's not a bad pick at all.

    Most of the best ones have been mentioned. I agree with most of what neo had to say. The little I disagree with I wouldn't argue too fervently.
    I think Creepshow is great, though I don't know if I really count it here as it wasn't a book.
    Probably unpopular opinion but, I think the original Pet Cemetary is, maybe not my favorite King film but , the best adapted from the book.
    Needful Things deserves a nod too, and not just for Max Von Sydow as Leland Gaunt.

    Oh, and I haven't read the book but the Dreamcatcher movie is hilarious garbage.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  9. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    I saw it but vaguely remember it. I think it followed the book more closely. It couldn't have been all that great though, you never hear it mentioned.
  10. HaileyMcComet

    HaileyMcComet Forum Resident

  11. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Hmmm.. I just realized I said ' The Dead Zone ' and ' The Shawshank Redemption' were the best King movies. I do that all the time. For some reason I don't think about ' Shawshank..' being a King movie.
    Maybe because it's too good?
  12. vconsumer

    vconsumer Forum Resident

    Indeed! And as much I liked what de Palma did with Carrie (especially the casting), a more faithful adaptation would be welcome. In the novel, for example, Carrie goes on a much longer campaign of destruction near the end.
  13. The Slug Man

    The Slug Man Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    I remember being disappointed with the adaptation of Needful Things. In the 90s I loved the book and couldn't run to the video store fast enough when I learned there was a film.

    Gerald's Game was about as good as it could have been without having to be rated NC-17 or worse.

    From what I remember, King himself can count on one hand the number of his adaptations he's been happy with, although that's probably typical with authors.
  14. Daniel Plainview

    Daniel Plainview God's Lonely Man

    As a King fan I don't feel obligated to see any old film based on his books, especially since some of them are absolute garbage. That said...

    I saw "Stand By Me" in the theater when I was 10 years old. This is before I read the book, naturally (I started reading King in 6th grade with "Pet Semetary"). I love this film so much. It doesn't stray too far from the source material. It's a good story. I watch the movie at least once a year.

    I love "Christine". The screenwriters took a book that was actually pretty bad, cut through all the BS and delivered a lean, mean, John Carptenter directed flick. I think it's a real hoot. Awesome soundtrack.

    "The Shining" is the only Stanley Kubrick film I like.

    "Shawshank Redemption" is a masterpiece, naturally. It too follows the source material pretty closely.

    "Running Man" is very different than the book but it is a very entertaining film. 80's junk food but delicious. Richard Dawson does a really great job in this.

    For a while ABC was churning out Stephen King mini-series. "The Stand" was the best of the bunch. I think it's one of the best made-for-TV films ever. Ridiculous great cast. I revisit it every few years, which is saying something since it's like 8 damn hours long.

    Other attempts from ABC weren't so succesful. "The Langoliers" was ok. "It" wasn't bad (and everyone knows who great Tim Curry" was in this thing). The attempt to remake "The Shining" as more faithful to the book wasn't very good. I don't remember much about it, even. Just the kid and the horrible CGI topiary. Ugh. I barely remember "Storm of the Century" but remember reading the screenplay by King and it was an enjoyable read, even as a screenplay.

    "Carrie" is great, of course. Can't go wrong with Brian DePalma.

    "The Dead Zone" is a good flick. I watched that one not too long ago. The book was so much better, of course.

    People remember "Cujo" because it's become this iconic thing but the fact is half the book is about breakfast cereal, and, like "Christine", not nearly as good as the legend. The film gets down to the nitty gritty. I'd put it in the "good not great" pile.

    "Children of the Corn" expands on King's short story and is a nice and creepy tale. Isaac and Malachai were well casted. You never forget those guys. I found them more compelling than the good-guy stars. I bought this on super-duper deluxe blu-ray not too long ago. This is a really good one.

    I'm so-so on "Firestarter". It's not bad, but is a bit clunky at times. The book was great. I re-read it a few years back and found it even better than I remembered. I like Art Carney.
    I like "Creepshow". Campy fun. King should have gotten a support actor nom for this. Ha.

    The new "It" films are pretty good. Of course, I get miffed when things stray far from the book but what can you do? The damn thing is 1200 pages long. I think they did as good as you could with the daunting task. I just saw "Chapter 2" a couple weeks ago for the first time and was overall please. I'm attempting to re-read the book now to better remember what they changed.

    "Misery" is a fantastic little film. Bates and Caan are so great. So is Richard Farnsworth! Excellent film.

    I vaguely remember seeing a "Tommyknockers" made for TV movie. Its probably best forgotten. Book was horrible too.

    I saw "Geralds Game" once, I think. Very long time ago. I recall it being ok.

    I saw "Green Mile" in the theater, but I was drunk at the time. It's too much of an emotional trip for me. I don't want to revisit it, Boss.

    "Secret Window" with Johnny Depp is a favorite of my wife. "You stolllle my stooorry.". I like it too, but wouldn't call it a masterpiece by any stetch.

    I saw "The Lawnmower Man" in the theater as a teen. Only thing it has in common with the King story is the title and someone mowing the lawn at some point in the film. Ridiculous.

    I saw "1408" in the theater. I don't remember it very well at all.

    "The Mist"...ah, I almost forgot this one. This is one of the very best King adaptions. Really great.

    I used to have "Apt Pupil" on VHS at some point in my life. I think that one wasn't too bad.

    I think that's just about it. I guess I've seen more King films that I thought. There are many King projects that I passed on.

    I look forward to seeing "Dr Sleep" when it comes to blu-ray.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  15. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    The remake sucked.
    beat_truck and conjotter like this.
  16. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Lots of mixed reviews and mixed feelings about ' The Shining'.
    I can sum up what I don't like about it in five words : Shelley Duval and the kid.
    daca and vconsumer like this.
  17. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader Thread Starter

    Enjoyed your commentary.
  18. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Born In The 50's

    I loved the book, The Shining", and as a huge Kubrick fan, expected to enjoy the film. It disappointed on so many levels. It is Kubrick at his pretentious worst. And miscast, except for Joe Turkel as the bartender.
    I did enjoy a visit to the legendary Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which was Stephen King's inspiration for the story. This is the infamous haunted room, No 217.

  19. vconsumer

    vconsumer Forum Resident

    That "redrum" crap with the talking finger is embarrassingly bad. And Shelly Duval is so awful that I sometimes think Kubrick intended the whole thing as a bad comedy. If so, I wish he had cast Divine instead of Duvall.
  20. vconsumer

    vconsumer Forum Resident

    I watched Needful Things without having read the novel and liked it. I especially liked the casting. I just realized that makes two Stephen King film adaptations Bonnie Bedelia (yum) has appeared in.
  21. daca

    daca Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Regardless of King’s opinion on the movie, I love Kubrick’s The Shining. It is just tough to watch on regular/daytime TV. It better be late night/pay cable or Blu-Ray. Otherwise, I’ll pass.


  22. Rocker

    Rocker Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    I generally don't like most child actors, but I thought the kid in Kubrick's version of The Shining was actually not too bad.

    The kid in the 1997 miniseries, however, was beyond awful... he's one of the most annoying, irritating, cringe-inducing little pieces of sh** to ever appear in a film. Every second he was on screen, I was hoping for him to die a horrible, painful death.

    I appreciated the 1997 version's attempts to follow the book more closely, but that stupid kid just ruined the whole experience for me.
  23. MPLRecords

    MPLRecords Owner of nine copies of Tug of War

    Rochester, NY
    It sucks. King, given the chance to accurately adapt his book, changes a bunch of stuff anyway and produces a story that's weaker than both the original novel and Kubrick's film. No help that Steven Weber was horribly miscast, either.
  24. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Aw, nuts. Sorry to hear that, I guess if I want the Shining experience again, I just need to read the book again. :)
  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I would put Carrie way up there as well. Carrie, Dead Zone, the first Salem's Lot, Green Mile, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, and the two recent It movies were all very good.

    There have been some really, really bad King adaptations that just totally F'd the original novels. Under the Dome is an example (to me). The recent Ron Howard-produced Dark Tower was hiiiiiideous. I have no idea how things can get this screwed-up with turning the novels into films. It was a rare example where they did rewrite the story a bit, but I think they kept enough of the flavor of the original to capture a lot of the feel and still make a commercially-successful film. (I get that there are aspects of It that are absolutely unfilmmable.)

    It's actually a terrible movie, because in the book the kid is a big, strapping popular high school football player who slowly goes crazy, winds up becoming a serial killer, and finally climbs onto a bridge sniping random people, and he ultimately gets taken out by the police. In the movie, he survives to the end and nobody ever finds out about his extracurricular activities. And they also cast Brad Renfro, who was a small, wimpy kid who didn't resemble the character in the book at all; they made him a baseball player instead of football because he was a 110-pound weakling. To me, they veered much too far away from the novel, which was quite a bit darker and more disturbing. (This movie was marred by scandal because of the involvement of director Bryan Singer and some of his creepy crew, who were up to no good. It's ironic to note that this was Renfro's last major role and he died a few years later of a heroin overdose.)
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020

Share This Page