One little blatant Stephen King knock-off Netflix series comes along and wrecks the internet, and the next you know we’re suddenly drowning in official Stephen King adaptations.

Ok. That’s not how this has actually gone down, not with the long lead times it usually takes to get anything made in Hollywood. However, it certainly feels true because last year Stranger Things did its Stephen King (and everything else 80s)-inspired thing and suddenly this year we’ve already seen The Mist TV series on Spike, The Dark Tower in theaters right now, Mr. Mercedes on Audience (don’t pretend like you already knew that was a name of an actual cable channel) and still have It and Gerald’s Game to go.

If that feels like more than normal than you clearly don’t remember the 80s or 90s. Twas a time when Stephen King adaptations were a nonstop occurrence. You weren’t surprised to look up and see another Stephen King-whatever playing on TV or premiering at your local theater. You were just surprised when that Stephen King TV show or movie turned out to be any good.

Burn! Take that, um, Silver Bullet, Graveyard Shift, Sometimes They Come Back, The Tommy Knockers, The Mangler, The Langoliers, The Night Flier, Rose Red, Secret Window….

You get the point. The man who churns out novels and short stories as quickly as McDonalds peddles its hamburgers and french fries isn’t always on his A-Game, and sometimes even when he is Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with his work. Sometimes I’ll pull out of my Stephen King Encyclopedia and sift through the adaptations section to remind myself of just how many bad movies and TV mini-series I watched because I was a kid who would watch anything which bore his name.

Well, I can put that Encyclopedia away now because the good people over at HalloweenCostumes put together this handy dandy infographic breaking down every Stephen King adaptation. It serves as a helpful reminder that even with all lowlights or merely adequate efforts there have also been a lot of really good, classic even, Stephen King movies and TV shows.

What are some of your favorite? It’s okay if you say obvious ones like The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining or Stand By Me. I would too. It’s less okay if you say Sometimes They Come Back Again or Pet Semetary 2. Come on. King didn’t even have anything to do with those. What are some on this infographic you haven’t heard of before? Let me know in the comments. 

Source: HalloweenCostumes.com

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

6 Comments

  1. Okay, imma have to fightchu! 😄😄😄Those awful movies ( every single one of them!) are technically not Steve’s fault, although I do blame him for some of the co-signing he did on some of those movies, though! I love his books, but I can’t really blame him when not only does Hollywood choose the wrong stories, they do really bad adaptations of those stories.

    Incidentally I skipped Stranger Things last year. I wasn’t on the nostalgia thing, but I’m gonna watch the second season.

    Reply

    1. Oh, I know. Several of those bad projects I referenced came out long after people stopped trusting the “Based on a Stephen King novel” brand mostly because King himself had already disowned so many projects which cared so little for the source material. Still, some of those were also based on books or stories that weren’t so hot to begin with. That’s where it comes into play that, as you put it, “Hollywood choose the wrong [King] stories.” Like, out of all of his works to choose from at the time who really thought it was a great idea to adapt The Langoliers into 4-hour mini-series?

      Stranger Things has a lot of It in it, but also plenty of John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg as well as various other 80s influences. It was a real education for me in how old I am. What I mean by that is you inevitably reach a certain point where you’ve seen so much that very little surprises you anymore and you start to notice influences way more than you used to. So, I binged Stranger Things that first week and liked it fine enough, but I was a little distracted from how derivative it was, how much it felt like a really good cover song but a cover song nonetheless. Then I’d talk to my 12-year-old niece about the show and she’d rave about it, reminding me that I’d probably be reacting the same way if I was her age because I wouldn’t be coming to it with the baggage of already having seen/read so much Stephen King and Spielberg and whatever else. Of course, there are plenty my age who noticed all the references and didn’t care. I should be so lucky.

      Reply

  2. It really is a mix bag of good and bad. I recently watched “The Mist” (film) and it was great. I feel like it deserves more of a mention because Frank Darabont and numerous cast members went onto the early and good seasons of “The Walking Dead”. The ending is particularly brutal and King has stated he liked it better.

    I got sent a video copy of “The Langoliers” in the 90s because it has Dean Stockwell and a friend in the USA and I loved “Quantum Leap”. However, I couldn’t watch it properly because it was in NTSC and we have PAL in Australia. When I finally saw it years later, the computer graphics were horrendous.

    I also feel like “Sleepwalkers” deserves more of a mention too just because Madchen Amick.

    Reply

    1. The Mist is kind of amazing. I agree. I remember how brave it felt at the time, how pessimistic it was and how too-close-to-home the commentary on religious fundamentalism felt at a time when that was the prevailing wind in North America. Watched today, divorced of the context in which it was made, it still holds up. It’s just a great, wonderfully tense little horror story with a classic ending.

      Oh, I’d like to tell you that the years you spent waiting on Langoliers is why the CGI looked so poor, but, no. I watched that shit first-run, and it looked terrible even then.

      Sleepwalkers…I honestly always forget about that one. I’ve only seen it once. I always think of it as that cat people movie. My memory of it probably does it a disservice.

      Reply

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