Top 10 Lesser Known Stephen King Adaptations (featuring Moviejunkies)

EDITOR’S NOTE: When it comes to horror lists who does it better than our good friend Moviejunkies? You know somebody? It was a rhetorical question! Anywho we now turn it over to Moviejunkies for another great list. 

With the release of It, I was going to do my Top 10 Favorite Stephen King Novel Adaptations. I had my notes written out and everything.

But, I decided to go a route less travelled. Instead, I’m gonna give you guys a list, of my favorite LESSER KNOWN Stephen King Novels turned Movie. The movies some people don’t realize are from the King of Horror himself, and that holds a fond place in my horror-filled heart.


#10 Cat’s Eye

A stray cat is the linking element of three tales of suspense and horror.

I love me a good horror anthology. It’s like being a kid again and having someone tell you scary stories before bedtime! Cat’s Eye tells three very different tales, all linked together by a stray cat, on a hero’s journey.

The three stories are “Quitters, Inc.” “The Ledge” and “General” and all three are equally entertaining, with The Ledge being the most suspenseful and The General being the stray cat’s actual story.

This movie stars a young Drew Barrymore, who also stars in another favorite King adaptation of mine, that will show up on this list.

Fav Quote: Sally Ann: Polly got in one good peck before that cat killed her. Good for Polly!
Hugh: I certainly never realized that Polly had such a big pecker.

#9 Graveyard Shift


When an abandoned textile mill is reopened, several employees meet mysterious deaths. The only link between the killings is that they all occurred between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. – the graveyard shift.

If you hate rats and dirty spaces, this movie is gonna creep you out something fierce! It’s based on one of King’s short stories and the main reason I enjoyed it was the reason for the deaths isn’t something you’ll see coming right away. Is it one of the workers? A possessed object? Some kind of evil entity that lives in the basement? For those who haven’t seen this, the surprise is worth the wait.

Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky) also hams it up, as an exterminator who enjoys his job just a tad too much and he’s easily one of the best parts of the movie.

Fav Quote: Warwick: [to the monster] We’re going to hell together!

#8 Sometimes They Come Back

A man and his family return to his hometown, where he is then harassed by teenagers that died when he was a kid.

This is one of the things Stephen King does best. The trauma children suffer and how it affects them as adults. Imagine walking into a room and seeing someone there, someone everyone else can see as well, but knowing that person died years ago!

Yes it’s a metaphor for guilt and unresolved issues, but it’s got ghosts in it! Ghosts who want to see you as dead as they are.

I’m not the only one who was a fan of this movie, as it spawned a couple of sequels (not worth watching so don’t worry about them). Atmospheric, slowly paced, but with a tension that builds as the dead gang appear one by one to stalk the man and his family. Sometimes They Come Back is one of those King adaptations that makes you want to read the book to learn more.

Fav Quote: Jim Norman: Those Punks…said they transferred in from Milford…I checked, I can’t find any Milford High.
Old Officer Neil: That’s because it isn’t a school…

#7 The Night Flier

Rival reporters (Miguel Ferrer, Julie Entwisle) tail a vampire who travels by airplane, claiming victims at small isolated airports.

What makes this movie works,is you don’t find out until about halfway through that the killer is a vampire. The reveal adds a whole other level of fear to what seemed like a straightforward serial killer movie.

The late Miguel Ferrer is obnoxiously good as a once A-list reporter who now writes tabloid fodder and who’s searching for his big comeback story at any cost.

You just know this is not gonna end well for him, but you can’t look away. Not to mention, this vampire is the stuff of nightmares. No sparkling in the sunlight for this guy!

Fav quote: Ezra Hannon: What paper you say you’re from?
Richard Dees: Inside View, you know it?
Ezra Hannon: Oh yeah. My wife Martha reads your paper. After she’s done with it, I use it to line our kitty’s toilet box. Soaks that cat piss real good.

#6 The Dark Half

A writer’s fictional alter ego wants to take over his life…at any price.

Stephen King wrote several books under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman, during the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the Bachman novels were darker and more cynical in nature, featuring a far more visceral sense of horror than the psychological, gothic style common to many of King’s most famous works. The Dark Half is one of them.

The Dark Half is by no means a great movie, but Timothy Hutton’s superb performance, especially as his maniacal alter-ego Alexis Machine, is so much fun to watch. Twins have always held a fascination to a lot of people and this movie examines the possibility supernatural aspect of having someone who looks exactly like you, out and about in the world.

Fav Quote: Man in the Hallway: What’s going on?
George Stark: Murder… You want some?

#5 The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone
When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident he finds that years have passed and he now has psychic abilities.

This movie was so good, it was made into a television series.

Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Walken who gives a subdued but powerful performance, The Dead Zone is one of the best movie adaptations of King’s work and the theme is another favorite of his – an ordinary man, thrown into a paranormal world, forced to make the ultimate decision.

Sometimes we wonder what it would be like to have superpowers. It seems like it would be cool to have the ability to know what everyone is thinking , or what the future holds, but what if that knowledge was apocalyptic, and only you could prevent it? What if you had to sacrifice yourself to save the world?

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Fav Quote: Johnny Smith: What about my question?
Dr. Sam Weizak: Huh? Huh? Oh, you mean the one about Hitler?
Johnny Smith: What would you do?
Dr. Sam Weizak: I don’t like this, John. What are you getting at?
Johnny Smith: What would you do? Would you kill him?
Dr. Sam Weizak: All right. All right. I’ll give you an answer. I’m a man of medicine. I’m expected to save lives and ease suffering. I love people. Therefore, I would have no choice but to kill the son of a bitch.

#4 Firestarter

A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic abilities and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.

There’s something about being a kid with power that really appealed to me as a kid myself. But seeing a child that could burn the ever-lovin’ crap outta bad guys? That was just epic!

A lot more action oriented than King’s usual fare Firestarter had (for the time) above average special effects, a likeable and believable performance from Drew Barrymore (who was nine at the time) and a villain I loved to hate in George C. Scott as John Rainbird.

Some say it’s a lot like Carrie, but I think it’s thematically different enough to be it’s own thing. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to watch.

Fav Quote: Charlie McGee: [after Charlie has destroyed the compound] For you, Daddy.

#3 Thinner


An obese attorney is cursed by a gypsy to rapidly and uncontrollably lose weight.

There are villains we hate to love, like Loki in Avengers, Walter White in Breaking Bad and Dexter Morgan in Dexter, just to name a few. But what about that rare bird, a hero we love to hate.

Billy Halleck is that kind of guy. He’s an overweight lawyer who, after (albeit accidentally) killing a gypsy’s daughter while driving under the influence (and receiving ahem, fellatio from his wife), uses his wealth and connections to get off scot free.The gypsy curses him with a touch that makes him lose weight rapidly, which seems good at first, but of course it’s a curse so it’s not stopping. So he tracks down the gypsy and any normal person would get on their knees and beg forgiveness. But Billy decides to wage a one man war on the old man and his relatives.

I read Thinner and this movie was one of the few adaptations that didn’t pull any punches and manages to end in a fashion that is well deserved, but sad no less.

The moral of the story: Maybe wait until you get home, before you start the sexy stuff!

Fav Quote: Henry Halliwell: This diet you’re on, what is it? I’ve tried all the others, I might as well try this one.
Billy Halleck: I don’t think you’d like it Henry. In fact, I don’t think you’d like it at all.

#2 Needful Things


A mysterious new shop opens in a small town which always seems to stock the deepest desires of each shopper, with a price far heavier than expected.

Oooh this was a good one! I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie, but the reveal is one only the demented mind of Stephen King himself would come up with.

With a superb cast of actors such as Ed Harris, Amanda Plummer and the unconquerable Max Von Sydow as Leland Gaunt, Needful Things is a King’s fan wet dream as Castle Rock plays a significant role as well. And it’s one of those stories that shows how the world of Stephen King is all connected in a marvelously twisted way.

Fav Quote: Buster: I just killed my wife. Is that bad?
Leland: Hey, these things happen.

Honourable Mention: Silver Bullet

LKSK hon

A werewolf terrorizes a small city where lives the paraplegic Marty Coslaw, his uncle, and his sister, the story’s narrator.

Dammit I love me some Werewolf Movies! Lycans have always been my absolute favorite movie monsters and Silver Bullet is one of my Top 10.

It stars a young Corey Haim as Marty, a paralyzed young boy who has a close call with a werewolf one night and decides to figure out who amongst the townsfolk, is the “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Like I said earlier, I love kids vs movies and this one fits the bill. Throw in some cool werewolf transformations, a crazy Gary Busey as his uncle (and the only adult that believes him) and a whodunit mystery and this adaptation, based on King’s short story, Cycle of the Werewolf, and you’ve got a fan for life in me!

Fav Quote: Uncle Red: I mean, uh, what the heck you gonna shoot a .44 bullet at anyway… made out of silver?
Mac: How about a werewolf?

#1 Dolores Claiborne

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

It AMAZES me how many people haven’t seen or heard of this movie. Not only does it star Kathy Bates in another Stephen King adaptation (she previously appeared in Misery and took home a Best Actress Academy Award) I would argue she’s as equally good as Dolores as she was playing the ax-wielding super-fan, Annie Wilkes.

One of King’s more dramatic than supernatural stories it unfolds with a slow pace (a tad too slow at times), that leaves you glued to your screen. We learn about Dolores’ history in flashbacks that show us just what she’s been through and why she would do what she did…. if she did it.

Again, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend watching this if you haven’t seen it. To say more would be to spoil a movie that takes a topic we’ve seen time and time again, but handles it in a way that will leave you breathless by the time you’ve finished watching.

Fav Quote: Vera Donovan: Sometimes, Dolores…sometimes, you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more from Moviejunkies and the Top 10 Scariest Clowns Ever you can click here. And to follow the Moviejunkies Facebook page you can click here


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