The King of Horror has come a long way in his life. From writing short stories in his childhood home to producing films worth a billion dollars, his courage of conviction has been resting on people’s nightstand for more than five decades now.
From his first publication in 1967 to his latest release in 2019, Stephen certainly changed the way Americans viewed the genre of horror.
King has written at least 92 books, and his unpublished works reach the count of 300
With that in mind, lest we forget that even the king of horror has had some terrible misses in the past.
While we clutch our purses during Carrie, The Mangler is yawn-inducing.
Riding on this theme, here are some of the scariest Stephen King movies:
Shining has minted its way to being a classic with 40 years of scares. Stanley Kubrick’s direction, combined with Jack Nicholson’s extraordinary acting, is perhaps a treat for those who prefer this genre. There might be a lot of misses in King’s career, but this isn’t one of them.
1408 is a one-man play, dancing on the shoulders of John Cusack. His unrelenting barrage of earthshattering imagery is as scary as anything can get. The scariest scene is when Mike embraces his dead daughter, only to have her turn to dust in his arms. A must watch for all horror snobs out there.
Carrie, Stephen King’s first film adaptation, hits us like a punch. The story of Carrie delving into total madness is breathtaking. Carrie charted Stephen King’s career in Hollywood, which has stood tall for over five decades now.
Christine takes you on a deliciously scary ride, and you really can’t look away from the wreckage it causes. The film’s killer score and its twisted love story is a treat to watch.
#5 Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn’s promise of creepiness resounds strong even today. The movie has a standard of horror that many filmmakers want to, but can’t touch. From homicide to fan squirm, the movie has it all and more.
Cujo’s realism is pure terror. The movie travels through a claustrophobic nightmare that unravels a happy family of two. Those having the slightest fear of enclosed spaces can have a downright spiral due to this movie.
#7 Gerald’s Game
Carla and Bruce’s puzzling journey is covered by the Greenwood through the heart pumping movie, Gerald’s Game. This intense, nightmarish experience set the screen for an extraordinary experience.
One of King’s definitely unnerving universe is IT. The movie takes the kids of the Losers’ Club and positions them in mortal danger. Pennywise is a cultural icon, but more than that, the movie plagues the minds with demonic evil for all the hours you are watching it. Powerful stuff.
Kathy Bates’s Academy Award says it all. Misery is a transformative cinema, that leads the conversation in terms of female rage and pain. Some of King’s best work came in the ’90s after he had met with a near-fatal accident.
Mist is filled with creature-filled jump scares, unsettling moments and unexpected endings. It is a near-perfect horror story and has haunting conclusions. This thrilling story that expertly mixes the supernatural with human paranoia is a must entry to our list, of course.
#11 Pet Sematary
The 2019 Pet Sematary is about a murderous, soulless monster, who still looks like his son. The moment when he asks his father to play in his innocent voice makes it all the more devastating and horrifying.
#12 Tales from the Darkside
King’s lifelong affair with decent anthology featured in many of his books. Tales from the Darkside presents a descent into madness with the cinematic bonus of a cat killing a fully grown man by crawling down his throat.
#13 The Dark Half
King tackle’s ones’ personal demons through his vision of The Dark Half. The movie stands on its ground with the incredible cast and the story’s faux-intellectual twist.
#14 Salem’s Lot
Salem’s Lot humanizes the characters and heightens the fear and tragedy. It rides steadily on the performance of the actors and King’s killer screenplay. In all of its thrills and chills, the movie can still lit up the rooms with scares.
#15 Silver Bullet
Silver Bullet reminds us of old Hollywood horror. It is an illustrious coming-of-age tale enveloped in a terrifying werewolf murder mystery, led by Corey Haim. King never wrote a story quite like the Silver Bullet again.
Love these movies? Well here are some of Stephen King’s movies which are just not scary enough.
#1 Graveyard Shift
Graveyard Shift, King’s industrial bet, dawdles with scars and there isn’t much drama to make watching the film worth it. Brad Dourif steals every scene, but is one hero enough to pass the scare factor? No.
Although the story has “radio true-crime drama” (via thewrap.com), the movie is way too long and the premise is just not scary enough. If there is one thing more annoying than a scary movie which is just not scary, it is the odd and unnecessary accent of Jane.
John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson come together to present a sci-fi drama, but this psychic zombie fails. The movie is about a virus outbreak, but the movie comes out to be laughable. A shame, really.
Dreamcatcher is one crazy screenplay, but the movie does not live to the hype. The story’s theme about humanity’s only hope of an alien race is absurd and ridiculous. We can definitely give Stephen a pass for this one.
#5 Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption dabbles in some psychologically tough moments, but the story’s background in the corrupt prison of Shawshank is hardly scary. It is the suspense that matters for the movie, but it is often not enough.
#6 The Green Mile
The Green Mile was Frank Darabont’s second attempt to hit the blockbuster, but this movie dragged on too long, and its bloated production and emotional characteristics fail to fill the audience with mystery and intrigue.
#7 The Mangler
The Mangler, is perhaps, the worst Stephen King film adaptation of all time. It is a movie about a haunted laundry machine and it is overly bloody and bizarre, and some of the scenes are totally unrealistic.
#8 Maximum Overdrive
Stephen King finally took the direction lead in Maximum Overdrive and even though the cinematography excels, the movie lacks the scare factor. The character run terrorizes and not a lot of story is narrated through the scenes.
#9 Stand by Me
Stand By Me is still considered one of King’s best adaptations, yet the scare meter does not go up during it. Rob Reiner isn’t meant to be terrifying and the movie’s basic rifts with nostalgia are weird and unsettling with the theme of the movie.
King’s adaptation of the Thinner was laughably portrayed in the Thinner. Robert John Burke plays a corrupt, heavyset lawyer, but he fails to deliver another interesting premise. The film performed badly at the box office, and you can stream it now on Netflix.
Even though this movie debuted at Cannes, those who paid to see it must have been disappointed, as it does not live up to the hype. The stellar cast of Leslie Nielsen, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, and E.G. Marshall cannot save the movie’s lack of horror.
#12 Cat’s Eye
King’s horror anthology, witnesses the mayhem of a cat. The story sees chain-smokers, cults, menace and narrow ledge. What it doesn’t see is a good hour of horror. The cat’s prominence and its subsequent CGI is rather undigestible.
#13 Needful Things
This movie is about a devil who moves into a small community and offers residents gifts in exchange for small favors. Honestly, what could go wrong? Well, a lot, if the scare factor just doesn’t come out.
If you ask me, this scene is enough to register Stephen’s genius!