Pennywise Is Back!
Horror fans will be in heaven this weekend, as “IT: Chapter II” will break box office records around the world!
Reviews have been strong for the “IT: Chapter Two” – so get in line for a good scare!
To celebrate the sequel to the 2017 film “IT”, which came from Stephen King’s classic horror novel, I want to look at this brilliant Writer’s greatest film adaptations!
Yes, there are many great ones, like “Dolores Claiborne”, “The Mist”, the original “It”, “Firestarter” and “The Dead Zone” among many others, but here are the seven I want to highlight – all with terrific trivia courtesy of the website IMDB – let’s start with the movie that boasts the longest running time of any of King’s film adaptations:
7 – “The Green Mile” – 1999
It’s Director Frank Darabont’s second King film – more on his first one later – and it’s also the longest film to come from King’s works – clocking in at just over 3 hours.
The plot is pure Stephen King: set in the middle of the great depression, it tells the story of prison guards on Death Row who are affected by one of the convicts: a gentle giant accused of child murder and rape.
As you find out, there is much more to the tale than that.
Here is the trailer:
According to one of the featurettes on the special edition DVD that was released, Stephen King called this film the single most faithful adaptation of his work.
“The Green Mile” was nominated for Best Picture as well Michael Clarke Duncan in the Supporting Actor category.
Director Darabont was nominated for adapted screenplay…and it’s a masterful screenplay that takes its time to tell a mystical story…
Michael Clarke Duncan was the soul of the cast, according to producer David Valdes. He remembers Tom Hanks crying on Michael’s last day of shooting.
Sadly, Michael Clarke Duncan died of a heart attack a few years ago at the age of 54.
Next up, a more traditional horror story from King makes for a twisted thrill ride!
6 – “Pet Sematary” – 1989
Here’s what you think a King story is going to be – because only he could come up with a “pet sematary” where buried kittens don’t stay that way!
Nicely directed by Mary Lambert, here is the trailer, with a nice cameo from King himself:
Stephen King once mentioned that the only novel he wrote that really scared him was “Pet Sematary.”
Up next, one of the most beloved films of the 80’s…
5 – “Stand By Me” – 1986
This film, based on a King short story, has become a classic.
Here’s the plot: after the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.
The terrific young cast included River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell and Keifer Sutherland.
Here is the trailer for this classic film:
According to IMDB: after Director Rob Reiner screened the movie for Stephen King, he noticed that King was visibly shaking and wasn’t speaking. He left the room and upon his return, told Reiner that the movie was the best adaptation of his work he had ever seen.
Reiner returned to King’s writing for another masterful film:
4 – “Misery” – 1990
This movie has an Oscar-winning lead performance by Kathy Bates, and James Caan is terrific as well!
The plot is simple: best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is on his way home from his Colorado hideaway after completing his latest book, when he crashes his car in a freak blizzard. Paul is critically injured, but is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, Paul’s “number one fan”, who takes Paul back to her remote house in the mountains (without bothering to tell anybody). Unfortunately for Paul, Annie discovers that Paul has killed off the heroine in her favorite novels, and she doesn’t like it!
Here is the trailer:
According to IMDB, for two decades King refused to speak about his motivations for writing “Misery” – then stated that it is indeed about his battle with substance abuse. Kathy Bates’ character is a representation of his dependency on drugs, and what it did to his body, making him feel alone and separated from everything, while hobbling any attempts he made at escape. In his statement, he said he did not come out with it at the time, because he was not ready, and because he was afraid it would detract from the story.
When Kathy Bates picked up her Oscar and made her speech, she said from the stage:
“I’d like to publicly apologize to James Caan for the ankles.”
Next up is legendary Director Stanley Kubrick’s take on Stephen King:
3 – “The Shining” – 1980
Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall star in a terrific King thriller – a Writer becomes unhinged while caretaking a closed Hotel over the winter…
As he slowly unravels, his son wheels around the corridors of the abandoned Hotel – discovering secrets not meant to be revealed…
Yes, Danny runs into these two girls, who just want to play…Jack Nicholson chews the scenery as a Writer who goes mad, and Nicholson immortalized two words in movie history as he tried to hack his way through a bathroom door in order to kill his wife:
“The Shining” is a gothic horror story that unfolds beautifully, with the tension slowly ratcheting up until the shock ending.
Oh, and did you know this?
Yes, Simon Cowell worked on the film! Yes, he did! Click here to see more trivia and the 35th anniversary event to celebrate the movie:
Next up is another King short story, this one directed by Frank Darabont, who did “The Green Mile” and “The Mist” as well:
2 – “The Shawshank Redemption” – 1994
It’s a film that grows in stature every year, and now routinely shows up on list of the best films of all time.
“The Shawshank Redemption” stars Tim Robbins as a man unjustly convicted of murder, and his never-ending quest for freedom.
Morgan Freeman co-stars – but it’s a film with an incredible cast in all roles, and an inspiring ending that will make you cry…
I posted a story about this movie – and “Zihuatanejo” – find out more about it here:
So, I’ve shared 6 terrific movies – but there is one that, for me, is not only the greatest Stepehn King adaptation, but one of the greatest films of all time:
1 – “Carrie” -1976
Brian DePalma’s masterpiece is more than a horror film – it’s more than a thriller – it’s a beautifully made coming-of-age film that showcases incredible acting, flawless directing, and lots of shocking moments…
Sissy Spacek was Oscar nominated for her role as Carrie White, the outcast at school who has a special gift…here is the trailer:
Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Carrie’s crazed Mother, and John Travolta, Amy Irving, PJ Soles, Betty Buckley and Nancy Allen are all outstanding as well:
It is a brilliant film: oh, and guess what? Director DePalma held auditions for it with another Director who was casting his movie at the same time:
That’s right, George Lucas was looking for his Princess Leia! Click here to read about how they shared their auditions!
There you have it: 7 great movies based on Stephen King’s work.
Of course, this is all about the release of “IT:Chapter Two”, which follows the terrifying story of Pennywise! Here is the final trailer released for the film, a great mix of “Stand By Me” and “Stranger Things”:
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Let me know your favorite King film!
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