The best-selling author’s work has spawned countless film and TV adaptations. One of the finest to date, Doctor Sleep, hits home entertainment formats this week, and here are five more that got it right…
Brian De Palma’s masterful adaptation of King’s first novel ranks among the best of the best. This affecting revenge tale about a tormented high school teen with telekinetic powers launched the career of Sissy Spacek and established De Palma as a major Hollywood player. Kudos, too, to Piper Laurie as Carrie’s unhinged mama. It also has one of the best jump scares in horror film history.
THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Anchored by a sympathetic performance from Christopher Walken, as an ordinary guy who awakens from a coma with extraordinary powers, David Cronenberg’s film of King’s psychic thriller builds to an incredibly satisfying and unexpected climax. An underrated classic.
STAND BY ME (1986)
This boys-own adventure boasts terrific performances from its young cast (yes, even Corey Feldman), a keen sense of nostalgia, and a vomit sequence on par with Monty Python. The best King film’s aren’t necessarily the horror stories, and this is a prime example. One of the best coming-of-age tales and King adaptations; indeed, the author’s passion for Reiner’s film led to the director helming Misery four years later.
Following a stellar job on Stand by Me, Rob Reiner once again proved he’s the go-to guy when it comes to quality King movies. The author’s tense two-hander, in which a popular writer is held hostage by an overzealous fan, features a knockout performance from Kathy Bates that was both career-making and Oscar-winning. A first class thriller and a cracking adaptation, Misery hits like a sledgehammer.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
This one needs no introduction, having become a firm favourite with viewers and critics alike. King has a knack for creating strong, credible characters, and the bond that develops between Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman is the highlight of this moving prison drama. Curiously, despite rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, the film wasn’t a hit at the box office and subsequently found its devoted fanbase via home video.