Poll Macabre: Stephen King On Film and TV

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In the course of accumulating stuff for another Halloween horror movie glut, I realized how few Stephen King adaptations I have and, despite the admittedly high miss-to-hit ratio, how many of them are actually pretty ace. So here's the poll you've been DYING for.

Had to do a lot of filtering to get this down to 50: nothing that isn't at least somewhat supernatural-y or thriller-y (e.g. Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption), no remakes (e.g. Trucks, The Shining miniseries), no sequels he didn't have a hand in, none of the Dollar Baby films, no anthology series episodes, no Lawnmower Man. And I had to eliminate his upcoming Lifetime movie, Big Driver, which is likely to be the best adaptation of his work yet.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Carrie (1976) 7
The Shining (1980) 7
The Dead Zone (1983) 6
Misery (1990) 3
Dolores Claiborne (1995) 2
The Langoliers (TV miniseries, 1995) 2
Dreamcatcher (2003) 1
Salem's Lot (TV miniseries, 1979) 1
The Mist (2007) 1
Rose Red (TV miniseries, 2002) 0
Hearts in Atlantis (2001) 0
Storm of the Century (TV miniseries, 1999) 0
The Green Mile (1999) 0
Apt Pupil (1998) 0
Quicksilver Highway (TV movie, 1997) 0
The Night Flier (1997) 0
A Good Marriage (2014) 0
Bag of Bones (TV miniseries, 2011) 0
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (TV miniseries, 2003) 0
Haven (TV series, 2010) 0
Dolan's Cadillac (direct to video, 2009) 0
1408 (2007) 0
Nightmares and Dreamscapes (TV miniseries, 2006) 0
Desperation (TV movie, 2006) 0
Riding the Bullet (2004) 0
Under the Dome (TV series, 2013) 0
Kingdom Hospital (TV miniseries, 2004) 0
Secret Window (2004) 0
Thinner (1996) 0
The Mangler (1995) 0
Creepshow 2 (1987) 0
Maximum Overdrive (1986) 0
Silver Bullet (1985) 0
Cat's Eye (1985) 0
Firestarter (1984) 0
Children of the Corn (1984) 0
Christine (1983) 0
Cujo (1983) 0
The Running Man (1982) 0
Pet Sematary (1983) 0
Tales From The Darkside: The Movie (1990) 0
The Tommyknockers (TV miniseries, 1993) 0
Needful Things (1993) 0
The Dark Half (1993) 0
Sleepwalkers (1992) 0
Sometimes They Come Back (TV movie, 1991) 0
Golden Years (TV miniseries, 1991) 0
It (TV miniseries, 1990) 0
Graveyard Shift (1990) 0
Creepshow (1982) 0


Rocking In The Broad Daylight (Old Lunch), Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:38 (five years ago) link

can't really choose between the Shining and Carrie which are both at the top of my all-time favorite horror movies, widely different as they are

Οὖτις, Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:43 (five years ago) link

I remember the Salem's Lot miniseries being scary as hell. I wonder how well it's aged. Still, the Kubrick for me.

Malibu Stasi (WilliamC), Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:47 (five years ago) link

Although there are better movies on the list (and lots of better horror movies), there are times when I think Creepshow might be my ideal horror movie.

Rocking In The Broad Daylight (Old Lunch), Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:49 (five years ago) link

Since we can probably predict the top ten or so right out of the gate, it'd be cool to see people's recommendations of overlooked gems, particularly from the later years (I think Thinner might be the most recent one I've seen).

Rocking In The Broad Daylight (Old Lunch), Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:51 (five years ago) link

I think some of King's best writing tends to get a bit sprawling, and it's hard to edit/screenwrite that. The Stand and It adaptations, while flawed, make me wonder why, given the success of American Horror Story, Walking Dead etc., someone hasn't taken a whack at doing those as a cable series.

Dick Clownload (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:59 (five years ago) link

And I think I'm one of the very few to rep for the Shining miniseries.

Dick Clownload (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:00 (five years ago) link

Salem's Lot hasn't aged well, it's very slow. Voted for Misery.

nate woolls, Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:02 (five years ago) link

Creepshow is my sentimental favorite movie of all time, but I have a lot of affection for:

Children of the Corn
Christine
Pet Sematary
Thinner

The Thnig, Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:06 (five years ago) link

1. Carrie, 2. The Dead Zone, 3. The Shining. I like Cujo and Salem's Lot, too. De Palma's birthday today.

clemenza, Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:34 (five years ago) link

Carrie. I expect The Langoliers to get some joke-votes.

alanbatman (abanana), Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:37 (five years ago) link

I put the Kubrick on a different level. It feels unfair to consider it here.

In its stead, I choose The Dead Zone. I'm not embarrassed to admit to liking The Green Mile, either, but it also doesn't seem as King-ish as other things.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:07 (five years ago) link

Kind of agree - unfair to go with The Shining, so I'll go with Carrie

Nhex, Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:09 (five years ago) link

assuming all the stuff my brain would pick will get votes elsewhere so i gotta go with my heart

Awesomest Bro In Dreamcatcher

da croupier, Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:31 (five years ago) link

Carrie (1976)
Salem's Lot (TV miniseries, 1979)
The Shining (1980)
Creepshow (1982)
Cujo (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
Christine (1983)

Anything from this run. Everything else can gtfo.

a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:47 (five years ago) link

p much

Οὖτις, Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:48 (five years ago) link

I mean, I like things about the It miniseries and Dolores Claibourne and The Mist. But this filmography is like following up having the Brandenburg Gate open up to Mortville.

a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:51 (five years ago) link

Shining > Salem's Lot > Carrie > Misery > Creepshow

Darin, Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:51 (five years ago) link

following up

a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:51 (five years ago) link

it occurs to me that the only ones of these that I've seen in their entirety are 'Salem's Lot and The Mist

stacked as fuck & imposing (DJP), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:54 (five years ago) link

How many movies do you start and not finish?!

a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian (Eric H.), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:55 (five years ago) link

oh wait, Misery and The Shining, duh

stacked as fuck & imposing (DJP), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:56 (five years ago) link

why are people so hung up on finishing movies

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:56 (five years ago) link

basically I much preferred to read King's stories than watch the adaptations

stacked as fuck & imposing (DJP), Thursday, 11 September 2014 18:56 (five years ago) link

i've seen a lot of these and would see all the rest assuming there are monsters, no hearts of atlantis shit

da croupier, Thursday, 11 September 2014 19:11 (five years ago) link

actually there don't have to be monsters if there's murder (i.e. dolores claiborne, secret window)

da croupier, Thursday, 11 September 2014 19:12 (five years ago) link

Salem's Lot because it terrified me as an 8 yr old and James Mason was the scariest character I had ever seen in a movie, never re-watched because I don't want to spoil the magic.
http://bizarrocentral.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/sl24.gif

xelab, Thursday, 11 September 2014 20:19 (five years ago) link

I have fond memories of The Storm of the Century miniseries

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Thursday, 11 September 2014 20:22 (five years ago) link

Whatever it's overall value as a movie, that scene in Dolores Claiborne where Kathy Bates breaks the pitcher over David Strathairn's head is one of my favorite things ever. "You evah hit me again and one of us is goin' to the boneyaaaaahd."

Welcome to my spooooooky carnival! Hope I don't... blow your mind! (Phil D.), Thursday, 11 September 2014 22:02 (five years ago) link

nothing that isn't at least somewhat supernatural-y or thriller-y (e.g. Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption), no remakes (e.g. Trucks, The Shining miniseries)

wtf

fedora, wherever it may find her (darraghmac), Thursday, 11 September 2014 22:27 (five years ago) link

Gotta vote The Shining, but ten-year-old me wishes to throw in an honourable mention to Cat's Eye.

MaudAddam (cryptosicko), Thursday, 11 September 2014 22:59 (five years ago) link

Forgot to thank you, OL, for eliminating Shawshank Redemption from the conversation, no matter how shifty the reasoning.

where the hell is The Stand (miniseries)

augh (Control Z), Friday, 12 September 2014 08:02 (five years ago) link

I put the Kubrick on a different level. It feels unfair to consider it here.

In its stead, I choose The Dead Zone

Number None, Friday, 12 September 2014 08:40 (five years ago) link

Re: The Stand, it was inevitable that I'd overlook at least one. At least I made room for The Night Flier.

Rocking In The Broad Daylight (Old Lunch), Friday, 12 September 2014 13:53 (five years ago) link

Heh overlook

smithery loves cuntery (wins), Friday, 12 September 2014 14:49 (five years ago) link

The Stand mini was okay, until the end, where (SPOILERS!!!) the literal Hand of God blows up the nuclear bomb! I haven't read the books so I'm not sure if it happens there too, but it was ridiculous, and not in a good way.

Tuomas, Saturday, 13 September 2014 21:04 (five years ago) link

I don't think the Shining should be on here, as it's such a complete difference in scale and aim and execution. It's like comparing 2001 and 2010

Stephen King's Threaderstarter (kingfish), Saturday, 13 September 2014 21:06 (five years ago) link

Carrie, because the characters' emotional churn is central and becomes even more so; doesn't get overshadowed by other elements, incl. studied shit like "Heeere's Johnny" (it's Halloween, he's got his Jack Nicholson mask on). Not that I don't really those other elements in The Shining; love riding the steadicams down the hall, wheee!
Also liked several others, but Carrie.

dow, Saturday, 13 September 2014 21:23 (five years ago) link

xp
You could say the same about comparing Maximum Overdrive to Under The Dome! Tbh as brilliant as an artistic accomplishment as The Shining is, I always preferred Barry Lyndon, Dr Strangelove, Paths of Glory and The Killing which are my top 4 Kubrick movies. The Shining is a brilliant adaptation but for some reason that I can't put my finger on I rarely re-watch it and am not too bothered about it.

xelab, Saturday, 13 September 2014 21:32 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 31 October 2014 00:01 (five years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 1 November 2014 00:01 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

The Stand will become a 4-film franchise starring McConaughey.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/nov/24/matthew-mcconaughey-the-stand-stephen-king-adaptation

things lose meaning over time (Dr Morbius), Monday, 24 November 2014 20:36 (five years ago) link

Oh he'll be perfect as Trashcan Man!

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Monday, 24 November 2014 20:53 (five years ago) link

I can totally hear him saying "Come down here and each chicken with me beautiful, it's so dark."

Eric H., Monday, 24 November 2014 21:20 (five years ago) link

He better start growing that mullet out now.

http://sharetv.com/images/the_stand/cast/large/randall_flagg.jpg

for more fun visit www.combos.com (Old Lunch), Monday, 24 November 2014 21:25 (five years ago) link

I'd like to think this means we'll see a "Michael Keaton in Jackie Brown/Out Of Sight"-style crossover for McConaughey in the Dark Tower films.

for more fun visit www.combos.com (Old Lunch), Monday, 24 November 2014 21:29 (five years ago) link

are the dark tower films still happening?

akm, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 21:27 (five years ago) link

fuck everything, we're doing four movies

Number None, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 00:18 (five years ago) link

eight months pass...

The Langoliers (TV miniseries, 1995)	2
Dreamcatcher (2003) 1

Heh, good one Beth.

Norse Jung (Eric H.), Tuesday, 18 August 2015 14:22 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Stand By Me too low (it's way better than Cujo let alone Shawshank). Running Man and Christine also way too low....

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:28 (three years ago) link

I haven't seen that many of these, but Lawnmower Man as high as 37 is crazy! It has almost nothing to do with King (as they acknowledge) and it's terrible. All the ones I've seen that are below that - Silver Bullet, Maximum Overdrive, Graveyard Shift - are at least watchable little stories even if they all feel kinda 'made for TV' and not actually scary or anything.

we're gonna live in spatula city (Doctor Casino), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:33 (three years ago) link

most of the blurbs just rehash the plot?, not much reasoning here

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:40 (three years ago) link

Salem's Lot way too low, me and the older brother watched that on a b/w tv some time in the late 70's while we were babysitting ourselves and fully shit it.

calzino, Monday, 1 August 2016 19:41 (three years ago) link

lol yeah it was p scary!

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:41 (three years ago) link

I just saw it last year for the first time and it was great. Can't even imagine that it was on broadcast TV. An entire generation of children, emotionally scarred.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Monday, 1 August 2016 19:45 (three years ago) link

gah, was hoping it was vulture. of course dumb new io9 is gonna fuck that list up. night flier predictably too low on that list. kinda went 'wait, what?' at the dreamcatcher ranking. salem's lot really the only tv king adaptation i didn't feel was just fatally compromised by being on broadcast tv. just remembered fukunaga isn't directing it anymore, which sucks.

balls, Monday, 1 August 2016 23:12 (three years ago) link

Can't remember if there's already a Dark Tower adaptation thread but it's been confirmed that the movies aren't actually going to be a straight adaptation but rather a direct continuation from the ending of the books. Which isn't especially distressing if you've read the books (or had the ending spoiled for you, like me).

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:11 (three years ago) link

I must not have voted in my own poll because I never would have allowed the travesty of Creepshow receiving zero votes.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:12 (three years ago) link

the IT adaptation is one of my personal faves ... like, it's very corny made-for-tv and & parts are not great, but Curry is awesome it's about as close to reading a King book that an adaptation has felt like for me
they usually fall pretty short

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 01:02 (three years ago) link

I said so upthread but it bears repeating: Cat's Eye rocks. If The Shining didn't exist, it'd be my fave King flick. Yes, even over Carrie.

The Dead Zone and Silver Bullet need rewatches. It's been ages, but I remember the former being legit unnerving and the latter being a lot of fun.

rhymes with "blondie blast" (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 01:16 (three years ago) link

I saw The Dead Zone the other week; it holds up really well. I was thinking about picking it up on Blu-Ray but I think it's only available as part of a three-pack with two early Cronenberg movies.

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 01:27 (three years ago) link

A surprising number of King adaptations through at least the mid-80s are very solid. Working with a lot of name directors certainly helped.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 02:09 (three years ago) link

Can't remember if there's already a Dark Tower adaptation thread

this would be the place - Dark Tower - Stephen King - but your news has not come up there, no! huh. weird. no idea how i feel about that.

we're gonna live in spatula city (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 02:17 (three years ago) link

they missed 'golden years', which i saw and thought was pretty decent, considering everything.

nomar, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 02:38 (three years ago) link

I think it's just a list of adapted works. No Rose Red, Storm of the Century, Sleepwalkers, etc.

a charisma-free shitlord (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 03:02 (three years ago) link

read the dead zone a couple of months back due to lol topicality and the movie really is a perfect adaptation, streamlines and tweaks plots so they're more effective and walken really is perfect casting - you get that combination of romantic charm and yet something off center and strange. it was alright but i think w/o curry would be pretty useless and i don't think the kids performances or the handling of that plot in general were very good (cf stand by me).

balls, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 05:04 (three years ago) link

true, stand by me is def much better wrt the kids.

I never took to dead zone the movie but i havent watched it in a long long time. i loved the book.

watching stranger things makes me want to reread some old sk now

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 05:22 (three years ago) link

Dead Zone I like, especially how it seems like it's the last time Walken was acting, instead of just being a Walken character.

Sentient animated cat gif (kingfish), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 07:18 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

I watched the TV It a few years ago, and remember that it had some creepily poetic shots. Pennywise at the side of the road with the balloon, when one of them was coming back to town years later, that stayed in my mind. Once the jump-scares start revving up in the new one, it's CGI overkill the rest of the way. Not surprising, still disappointing. It's (or It's) not terrible, but I'll take the TV version.

(I searched for a thread, couldn't find one.)

clemenza, Sunday, 3 December 2017 15:04 (two years ago) link

Yeah whatever the new one has going for it (not hellish much imo ymmv) it's useless as a scarf movie

I know I'm in the minority here but both tv adaptations of salems lot bore the arse off me in equal measure, never got why the hooper is held in such high regard

sonnet by a wite kid, "On Æolian Grief" (wins), Sunday, 3 December 2017 15:21 (two years ago) link

*scary movie, lol. I can't remember if there were any scarves in it

sonnet by a wite kid, "On Æolian Grief" (wins), Sunday, 3 December 2017 15:22 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

I completely get where clemenza is coming from re: "CGI overkill" but I liked the movie anyway. Perhaps because of that very thing--if the action is busy and hard to follow, it is kind of hard to be truly afraid while you're watching it play out--I liked it much better as a film about childhood than as a horror film. The cast of kid actors was fantastic (maybe one of the best I've ever seen on film), I responded to both the comedy ("They're gazebos!") and the tearjerker stuff in the exact ways that I was supposed to, and I generally dug the whole 80s nostalgia vibe of it, which struck me as hovering somewhere between Donnie Darko and my beloved Eerie, Indiana.

I barely remember the TV version, aside from that I saw it at the time and didn't think much of it even as a kid. Like, I was legit surprised/baffled when it began to emerge as a kind of general touchstone over the years.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Friday, 26 January 2018 02:17 (two years ago) link

one year passes...
ten months pass...

Even though I gave up on it once (think I got maybe an hour into it), going to give The Stand another go this week for obvious reasons--one of them being I'm running out of pandemic-related viewing, having already watched Contagion, both Andromeda Strands, and Safe.

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 13:11 (one month ago) link

It's truly terrible.

Vegemite Is My Grrl (Eric H.), Monday, 30 March 2020 13:25 (one month ago) link

It's rare that I devote that much time to a movie, even a long one, without finishing. But I feel like I have to do this.

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 13:27 (one month ago) link

A new miniseries for CBS All Access was actually in production but I guess it remains to be seen how the real-life plague will interfere with the fictionalized version.

Unparalleled Elegance (Old Lunch), Monday, 30 March 2020 13:31 (one month ago) link

Thought The Outsider was fun, even though they left a bunch of loose ends iirc. Casting was A+

El Tomboto, Monday, 30 March 2020 14:02 (one month ago) link

Yes, as I noted elsewhere, it was about as close as any King adaptation has come to replicating the feel of a King novel. It seems like some people felt that it meandered too much, but King novels kind of meander. He takes his time fleshing out characters and their world and gives them room to just interact like normal people for a while before he fully brings the hammer down on them. I think that's a strength of his written work that rarely carries over in the translation to a two-hour film adaptation.

Unparalleled Elegance (Old Lunch), Monday, 30 March 2020 14:11 (one month ago) link

Watching only intermittently, but finished the first part of The Stand. Not exactly good, but the contours of what we're going through right now are there, which makes it interesting enough to keep watching. Performances range from passable to poor to Ed-Harris-level poor. Still waiting for Laura San Giacomo to show up.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 04:29 (one month ago) link

(I should say that Ed Harris is sometimes a fine actor. When he's in George Kennedy mode, as he is here, he's terrible.)

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 11:24 (one month ago) link


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