Most people would agree that renowned author Stephen King knows how to tell a story. So when his gripping tales began being turned into movies several decades ago, fans rushed to theaters to see if the films could live up to the books.
Since 1976, there have been countless adaptations of King’s short stories and novels. And if you’re a fan of the master of horror, you probably enjoy watching the films produced from his source material. Yes, even the bad ones.
Dim the lights, grab the popcorn, and open Netflix or Amazon Prime Video because we have a list of the best Stephen King movies you can stream right now, in chronological order.
The first adaptation and one of the most memorable movies is Carrie. This supernatural horror film stars Sissy Spacek as the overly shy Carrie White. Abused by her mother, played by Piper Laurie, Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers which become dangerous when she feels threatened. And when her classmates play a cruel joke on her at the prom, those who bullied her wind up paying a high price.
The Shining (1980)
Starring Jack Nicholson, The Shining is a fantastic movie. The main character Jack, his wife, and his son all head to the remote Overlook Hotel for Jack to be the off-season caretaker. Unfortunately, Jack experiences cabin fever which leads to him going insane. All the while, his son “sees” things in his mind that a local deems “the shining.”
Dog lovers beware, Cujo is not a nice puppy. In this classic film, a woman and her son are trapped inside a hot car as the St. Bernard terrorizes them. Unbeknownst to them, Cujo was bitten by a rabid bat that leads to his frightening and dangerous behavior. Then, when they take their car in for repairs, they run into the rabid beast with an engine that won’t start and no help in sight.
The Dead Zone (1983)
Starring Christopher Walken, The Dead Zone is the story of a man with a gift. Walken plays the main character Johnny, who awakens after a car accident to realize he has been in a coma for five years. As life has moved on without him, he starts over and discovers he now has psychic abilities. With one touch, he can learn a person’s secrets, however scary as they may be.
When Arnie, a nerdy high school kid, decides to buy an old car with a personality, he ends up with Christine. The car has powers of its own that not only turn it from a broken heap into a gorgeous ride, but turn its owner from a shy geek into a not-so-nice guy. The bullies that tormented Arnie and vandalized Christine soon learn a lesson the hard way.
Children of the Corn (1984)
What happens when kids take over a small, quiet town in the center of cornfields? This is Children of the Corn, a Stephen King story you won’t soon forget. When a couple traveling through the area gets stranded, they struggle to stay alive as they learn of the power behind those disturbing children and where they draw their strength.
Pet Sematary (1989)
It’s hard to lose something or someone you love. But, do you really want them to come back to life as a horrifying zombie? In Pet Sematary, the dead do come back. As a place where children buried their deceased pets, the ground carries something evil beneath the gravestones. And, when a man becomes desperate to bring back his son, he learns just how wicked that land is.
When a famed author crashes in the middle of nowhere, it becomes nothing but Misery. James Caan and Kathy Bates star in this story of a crazed fan who won’t let go of her favorite writer. She holds him hostage in her remote home as he heals from his accident, but insists that he write another book in his well-known series… her way.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Most people think of Stephen King stories as horror or supernatural tales. But, The Shawshank Redemption is neither. In this riveting drama, characters played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are cellmates in prison who become unlikely friends. And, what happens from there is utterly riveting. The movie was adapted from King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and received seven Academy Award nominations.
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Four years after starring in Misery, Kathy Bates stars in another adaptation called Dolores Claiborne. Co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (Selena St. George), this is a mystery with interesting twists. When a daughter travels home after her mother is arrested for murder, the flashbacks begin and so does the drama. St. George is not so sure her mother is innocent and also believes she had a hand in her father’s death. If you’re a Stephen King fan and enjoy psychological thrillers, this is a must-see.
The Green Mile (1999)
Another fantastic drama, The Green Mile is based on a King novel of the same name. Starring Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, the story takes place in a current time, but looks back on incidents from 1935. Edgecomb overseas a man on death row at a penitentiary. The inmate is no ordinary man, however, and Edgecomb soon witnesses the powers he holds. This amazing movie was nominated for four Academy Awards.
If aliens are your thing, then Dreamcatcher is your kind of film. Starring Morgan Freeman, this Stephen King movie takes you to remote Maine with four friends who share a common bond. Their telepathic powers brought them together as children and as adults it will help them in a battle against parasitic aliens.
For a supernatural thriller and horror movie combo, take a look at Mercy. Based on Stephen King’s story Gramma, the grandma in this film is more than your ordinary cookie-baking sweetheart. When a single mother takes herself and two young boys to care for their grandmother, they soon discover the mysterious powers she holds.
Stream Mercy on Netflix [No Longer Available]
There Are Stephen King Miniseries Too
There are also a handful of Stephen King miniseries available on Netflix and Amazon. Here are some you can check out:
If you’re not a fan of Stephen King, here are some other cool things you can do with Amazon Prime Video. Or if you’ve seen all of these and are simply craving more content, here are the best movies you can watch on Netflix right now.
What Is Your Favorite Stephen King Adaptation?
If you’re a fan of Stephen King then you should be sure to check out these free horror ebooks. We suspect they’re scary enough to even freak Stephen King himself out.
Which movie based on a Stephen King novel, novella, or short story do you like best? Did it make our list? Or did we rather shamefully ignore it? Please let us know in the comments below.
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