12 of the Best Stephen King Adaptations Mirroring The Source Material

Are you a Stephen King fan searching for his best movie adaptions? Someone on a popular online forum pondered, “Is there a consensus on the best Stephen King adaptation? I know there have been some stinkers. But in terms of the actual best and sticking to the source material, which are they?” These are the top-voted movies.

12. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Maximum Overdrive DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group
Image Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment

Someone said, “The one where vending machines come to life and attack people, Maximum Overdrive.” I’m going to catch slack for this, but Maximum Overdrive. It faithfully adapted the story ‘Trucks’ and padded it just enough to make it feature-length.” 

“Agreed. It’s too bad King didn’t get to direct more. I know he has said he doesn’t deserve to after Maximum Overdrive, but there are a lot of good decisions in there. The AC/DC soundtrack alone shows that he understood the movie’s tone.”

11. Salem’s Lot (1979)

Salems Lot 1979
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

“It’s Salem’s Lot (1979) for me,” one confessed. “Just rewatching this now, and it’s still surprisingly spooky and atmospheric. Tobe Hooper’s films hold up! The dude knew how to make them.” Another added, “It is disappointing that I had to come this far to see this. It is something people should go back and watch.”

10. Pet Sematary (1989)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Someone volunteered, “I like Pet Sematary. I remember reading an interview with King. Where he said it’s his only book that scared him so much he had it locked away,” one shared. Another made a Friends reference and joked, “Did it go in the fridge?” But we all know that was Joey with The Shining

Finally, a third informed, “His wife convinced him to publish it. Similar to what happened with Carrie. He threw the manuscript in the trash because he thought there was no way he could convincingly write a teenage girl. His wife rescued it from the trash. We owe a lot to Tabitha King.”

9. Doctor Sleep (2019)

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Doctor Sleep in my book. Mike Flanagan somehow made a film that’s a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s version and is still faithful to the novel. Everyone’s performances were great, but Rebecca Ferguson stole the show as Rose the Hat.”

“All the little references to The Dark Tower throughout also put a smile on my face and gave me hope we’d get a faithful adaptation of that series someday,” one user confessed. 

8. The Mist (2007)

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Mist, hands down. Even though they changed the ending, Stephen King loved it,” stated one. “I’m pretty sure King was jealous of the new conclusion and heartily approved,” another shared. A third claimed, “I went on a Stephen King tour in Bangor, and the guide said King gave approval for the ending and LOVED IT!”

7. 1408 (2007)

Image Credit: The Weinstein Company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

“Not really. But in terms of visually capturing Stephen King’s prose, 1408 is probably the best,” replied one. Another admitted, “God, the ending with the tape recorder playing back. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.” 

6. The Dead Zone (1983)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Dead Zone is super underrated,” another replied. “Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen are great in it. Another added, “For my money, it’s Walken’s best Saturday Night Live bit. Everyone loves ‘Colonel Angus’ and ‘Cowbell’ and the ‘Continental,’ but for me, it’s ‘Ed Glosser – Trivial Psychic.” Others believed it was an instance of the movie surpassing the book. 

5. Christine (1983)

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

“I enjoyed both the novel and film for Christine,” someone confessed. “It’s been a long while since I read the novel, but it was faithful aside from just one thing in the end, and they shaved off some extra from the movie without sacrificing or changing the plot. Sometimes I wish John Carpenter would’ve adapted a few more Stephen king stories.”

4. Carrie (1976)

Image credit: Red Bank Films.

One answered, “Surprised at the lack of love for Carrie (1976). Arguably the best King adaptation, if not for The Shining (1980), due to its distance from the source material.” “Yep, as far as horror adaptations go, Carrie is at the top of the list for me,” another agreed. “Totally. Brian De Palma killed it with Carrie,” a third replied. 

3. Misery (1990)

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Someone said, “Misery. Misery. Misery. The answer is always Misery.” Another admitted, “I remember reading Misery, then immediately watching the film and thinking it was the best. What few things were changed made sense in the context of cinema vs. book.”

“Rob Reiner is 2/2 for fantastic Stephen King adaptations. I’d argue he and Mike Flanagan are the ones who understand the source material the best,” a third suggested. 

2. Stand By Me (1986)

Stand By Me (1986)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

One exclaimed, “Stand By Me is an absolute gem!” Another said, “Stand By Me is my favorite King movie, and one of my faves in general.” “Stand By Me is a classic, not just one of the best Stephen King movies. It’s an amazing movie in its own right. And the cast is phenomenal,” a third stated. Others argued the book was much darker than the film. 

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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One said, “Shawshank is number 1 on IMDb for what that’s worth.” “The Shawshank Redemption movie improved subtly,” one said. “The Warden stayed constant and was the source of evil in the movie, giving you an emotional payoff when Andy escaped. Also, there was a series of wardens in the novella and no real bad guys (except Boggs).”

“It was still satisfying when he escaped, but the movie tightened and focused the narrative. Either way, Frank Darabont and Mike Flanagan are the only two directors who should be allowed to make Stephen King movies.” 

We hope you enjoyed this Reddit picks list of the best film adaptions sticking true to the source material.

10 of the Worst Movies in the History of Cinema

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What is the worst movie that you have ever seen? According to an internet poll, there are thousands of doozies to choose from, but these are the top-ten worst.

10 Best Movie Trilogies Ever Made According to the Internet

The Dark Knight

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

What is the best movie trilogy ever made? Unfortunately, Indiana Jones and Toy Story have added a fourth film disaster following their perfect trilogy success. Otherwise, I’d nominate both of those. After asking the internet for their top contenders, these were the top ten. 

10 Greatest Single Movie Scenes Ever Filmed

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What is the most remarkable single movie scene ever filmed? There are so many cinematic gems that this is a difficult question. However, after someone polled the internet, these were the top-voted responses.

Top 10 Heist Films That Are Morally Good

Indiana Jones

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Ever feel like rooting for the characters you know are doing something naughty, like a victimless crime? Someone asked for morally good heist movies where the crew isn’t reformed, criminals, like Ocean’s 11. Here are the top-voted heist films from the discussion. 

Top 10 Black and White Movies Absolutely Worth the Watch

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Image Credit: Mirisch Company

Are you a black-and-white movie fan or interested in the classics? Watching black and white films is an entirely different experience than movies in vibrant colors. Our kids thought of these classic movies as archaic, but as they got older, they became more open and less judgmental as they found some of the greatest stories, like Schindler’s List, best displayed in black and white. 

This Article Originally Appeared on The Cents of Money.

2 thoughts on “12 of the Best Stephen King Adaptations Mirroring The Source Material”

  1. Totally disagree about Doctor Sleep. People die in the movie who don’t die in the book and the ending is more a homage to Stanley Kubrick rather than to Stephen King. The ending recycles a false ending to The Shining destroying the Overlook after it had already burned down ignoring King, the author, completely. It is possible to make a good movie that is faithful to the source. Try it sometime.


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