With the newest adaptation of “It” crushing this weekend’s box office, Stephen King, once again cast into the critical and commercial limelight after his past few bombs, seems to have hit a homerun with his latest. While not all of his adapted stories have made amazing experiences, he has undeniably set the casework for some of the greatest films to ever grace the silver screen.
Brian De Palma faithfully adapted King’s first novel, about one student’s high school perils as she begins to uncover her psychic powers, into a violent and tense parable about the dangers of bullying. Sissy Spacek is vulnerable as the titular character until she is pushed too far and unleashes her fury in an iconic finale of sparks and buckets of blood.
Famously rejected by the writer, it is hard to deny the creative juggernaut that Stanley Kubrick would bring to King’s already fully realized material. Writer Jack Torrance attempts to spend the winter up at the Overlook Hotel with his wife and young son only to finally succumb to the madness that has been building inside of him. Or was it always there? Emotionally dense and creatively frightening, this is one of the greatest films of all time.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
One of the few films to shy away from the horror genre in King’s career, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman would display career-defining performances as prisoners in the Shawshank prison as they serve their sentences through decades of maltreatment and abuse. Director Frank Darabont’s use scale would add to the short story’s intimacy and provide a gripping and uplifting finale unusually optimistic for the writer’s usual material.
The Mist (2007)
Darabont would once again collaborate in bringing another of King’s novella’s to the screen by attempting to handle the other side of the emotional spectrum in creating to date one of the most emotionally haunting and depressing films to ever be made. A drastic change to the ending, which King himself has said is an improvement to his own ending, casts a long shadow which is haunting, scarring, and sure to put a damper on any activities arranged for the rest of the day. Plan accordingly.
This eight-part Hulu series follows James Franco’s Jake Epping as a man sent back in time attempting to prevent the assassination of JFK only to become apart of the timeline itself, this under-seen series is gripping and tense in a way that seems almost trademarked to King’s style. Franco is subtle and delicate in his performance alongside Chris Cooper and Sarah Gadon making this a series that shouldn’t be missed.