‘The Dark Tower’ is getting poor reviews, here’s 7 great Stephen King movies

The Shining is one of the best-known, most highly acclaimed psychological horror movies of all time. And Stephen King doesn’t like it very much.

Horror maestro King has famously said he considers the Stanley Kubrick-directed masterpiece to be a poor adaptation of King’s own novel, and that Kubrick’s film never “gets you by the throat” the way good fright flick should.

We wonder, then, what King thinks of The Dark Tower, the just-released adaptation of his series of fantastical books about a mystical gunslinger. Actually, no need to wonder: King is mostly positive about the film, despite the many changes in its transition from page to screen.

Film critics, though, are far less enamoured. The Dark Tower is taking a serious drubbing, and many diehard King fans are similarly displeased with how the movie turned out. But let’s be honest, this isn’t exactly the first film adaptation of a Stephen King book to lay an egg. Children of the Corn, anyone? Maximum Overdrive? The Lawnmower Man?

Fortunately, King’s cinematic oeuvre is chockablock with movies that are actually good. If you were let down by The Dark Tower – or you plan to give it a miss entirely – here are seven great Stephen King movies that you can stream or digitally rent from the comfort of your own haunted house.

Carrie (1976)

Don’t bother with the 2013 remake or the weird 2002 TV movie – director Brian De Palma’s original take on the story of a meek teen with supernatural powers is by far the best. It’s unapologetically R-rated (just in case the opening scene in a girls’ locker room didn’t make that abundantly clear), and Sissy Spacek absolutely kills in the title role. Literally.

Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store


Misery (1990)

The first of two Stephen King/Rob Reiner joints on this list, this unforgettable movie about a romance novelist (James Caan) and a deranged fan who saves him from a car wreck (Kathy Bates) holds up to repeat viewings. We still cringe every time THAT SCENE with the sledgehammer happens. You know the one we’re talking about. Bates won a well-deserved Oscar for this one.

Find it on: PlayStation Store


Stand by Me (1986)

Any Stephen King fan knows his books are as much about humanity as much as they are about horror. Directed by Rob Reiner, this non-supernatural, bittersweet tale of four boys searching for a dead body in the woods is funny, scary, heartbreaking and intimately relatable. The lads are played by a very young (and very good) Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell and the late River Phoenix.

Find it on: Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This amazing movie seems to be on TV every five minutes, but maybe you’ve already cut the cord and are jonesing for your annual fix of Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and a sewer pipe full of liquefied poop. This jailhouse drama – again, without ghosts, demons or haunted cars – is Stephen King storytelling at its peak, helped by the directorial talents of Frank Darabont (who also adapted and directed King’s The Green Mile.)

Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, Cineplex Store (as a 99-cent rental!), PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store


The Dead Zone (1983)

Stephen King adaptations seem to do best when they’re handled by great directors (as they often, but not always, are.) Canada’s own horror auteur David Cronenberg helmed this thriller about a man who awakens from a coma with psychic powers. Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen head a wicked ensemble cast.

Find it on: Google Play, Cineplex Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store


It (1990)

OK, this Vancouver-shot TV miniseries isn’t necessarily one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel – the book, as is often the case, is way, way scarier – but it’s probably been ages since you’ve seen it, right? And it will be interesting to compare it to the remake hitting theatres next month.

Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store


The Shining (1980)

Stephen King may have had issues with the way Stanley Kubrick loosely adapted King’s novel, but this movie is still an unsettling and innovatively filmed masterpiece. And with all due respect to ol’ Steve, the three-part TV miniseries based on The Shining – which had King’s full blessing – is scary for all the wrong reasons.

Find it on: iTunes, Google Play, Cineplex Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store 

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