PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

The 10 Stephen King Works That Should Be Made Into Movies

In celebration of his 40th year as a published author, we present these five unfilmed, and five already available Stephen King books that are crying out for a cinematic (re)configuration.

Forty years ago, on 5 April to be exact, a book entitled Carrie was released to limited fanfare. Written by a then unknown scribe named Stephen King, while he was struggling, it was actually his fourth complete novel (but first to be published). With an initial run of 30,000 copies, few could imagine the cottage industry it would help fuel. While the hardcover was hardly a hit, the paperback sold over one million copies. King quit his job as a teacher to concentrate on his new career and the rest, as they say, is one of the greatest runs in horror prose history. The mild mannered man from Maine with a wealth of internal demons and a demented way of expressing them would go on to sell a staggering 350 million books, many of which have been adapted into successful (or in many cases, schlocky) movies. In fact, during the '80s and '90s, hardly a year went by when another King effort made it onto either the big or small screen.

Since then, King's commercial cache has cooled off quite a bit. Sure, there's been continuing contributions to his "in other media" mentions on Wikipedia, but for the most part, the most significant entry was last year's uninspired remake of, of all things, Carrie (unless you count Under the Dome, and frankly, who does?). With that in mind, we decided to celebrate four decades of dread by picking five original efforts and five existing King productions that should be reset for further film enjoyment. While many of these are listed as TBA through various sources, we are casting our vote for their release from Development Hell. True, his movie legacy has been more miss than hit, but King remains a consummate storyteller and if there is one thing solely lacking in Hollywood these days, it's compelling tales.


#5 - The Long Walk

With The Hunger Games and Divergent attempting to steal away most of the YA dystopian thunder (and money) from the international box office, it seems odd that no one has attempted King's Richard Bachman penned precursor. Granted, the Master of the Macabre's version of such a kid vs. kid stand-off is far darker and more dour, but in the right creative hands, it could be amazing. Of course, one setback could be the framework, which imagines the grueling marathon as a "boys only" experience. Another could be the defiantly "downer" ending. Still, King's pulp prose is riveting here, making the lack of an adaptation all the more unfathomable.

#4 - Insomnia

No, this isn't the Christopher Nolan film from a few years back. That was an adaptation of a sensational Swedish thriller. Of all of King's books, this stands as one of his most imaginative, drawing in elements of life, aging, and various enigmatic mythologies. An elderly man named Ralph Roberts finds it difficult to sleep, and the resulting title syndrome tunes him into a parallel universe he can see people's life forces and the creepy little creatures cutting off same with razor sharp scissors. It makes more sense on paper, admittedly, but when our hero learns of his own fate, he plots to thwart his tormentors.

#3 - The Talisman/Black House

Since Hollywood seems to love an epic which can be divided into several, hopefully successful films, this collaboration with Peter Straub (Ghost Story) seems perfect for such production parameters. The first book features young Jack Sawyer as he travels through something called "The Territories" hoping to save a dying Queen, and as a parallel, his own mother. The second tome takes up with Jack as a police detective trying to solve a string of child abductions and murders which may have a connection to his past. With the right creative team behind the scenes (Steven Spielberg once expressed interest), this could be a truly amazing fantasy frightmare.

#2 - Cell

First, Eli Roth was slated to make a movie of King's clever zombie reimagining. Then he dropped out, citing difference with his approach and that of The Weinstein Company, who were to bankroll the project. Now, there are hints of a completed screenplay and some casting (John Cusak, Samuel L. Jackson), but nothing definite. Sure, the ending is a little lame, but in this drowning in high tech world, the tale of people going berserk thanks to a rogue cell signal seems more prescient that ever. Here's hoping the powers that be can find a way to resolve their differences and deliver the goods.

#1 - The Dark Tower Series

Granted, this is still a possibility. Director Ron Howard desperately wants to turn these books into a monumental multimedia blockbuster with both major motion pictures and TV tie-ins as part of the overall plan. With eight books to contend with, however, along with a diehard cult of fans who will wince at the very idea of certain actors playing their favorite post-apocalyptic gunslinger (Javier Bardem? Russell Crowe?), this remains a enormous undertaking. While we always argue for film, perhaps a better approach would be to get some cable network with a history of handling difficult properties like this, get them to commit, and then go the Walking Dead/Game Thrones way with this series.

Next Page

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.


MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.