For a certain generation of Stephen King fans, who read his stories at a tender age, there’s few things scarier than Pennywise the Clown. If you need to identify one of these fans, all you need to do is sneak up behind them and whisper in a raspy voice, “They all float down here.” If the person you’re whispering to jumps and screams, congratulations, you’ve found a Stephen King fan.
ABC adapted the King book featuring Pennywise, It, in 1990. Vulture reported last week that director Cary Fukunaga, currently at the helm of True Detective, has been confirmed to direct a big screen adaptation, which should begin filming next summer. Producer Dan Lin told Vulture:
“The idea is to start official prep in March for a summer shoot. Cary likes to develop things for a while, and we’ve been with this for about three or four years, so we’re super excited that he stayed with it.”
Lin also reports that Stephen King has given his blessing on the project.
While many Stephen King feature movies have been either utter flops, or worthwhile only for their cheese value, we present some suggestions of the best Stephen King movies to hold you over until It finally comes to the big screen.
The Green Mile
This Tom Hanks picture received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and was based on the novel that King published serially in the mid-1990s. Set in a prison in the south, seriously spooky, and definitely worth a rewatch.
This film starring John Cusack is incredibly underrated, perhaps because Stephen King’s The Shining is the iconic scary-story-in-a-hotel movie. Still, a creepy story, intense visuals, and the legitimate fear of whether or not the hero will actually escape what’s happening make this worth watching.
This movie without Ian McKellan would be scary enough. With Ian McKellan’s intense presence and booming voice, it’s completely terrifying. The horror in this movie, as it is in some of the best Stephen King works, is all psychological. Why be scared of monsters, the movie asks, when there are humans all around us.
Stand By Me
Based on the Stephen King novella from Different Seasons, “The Body,” this iconic coming of age story is worth watching if only to see young River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton hike into the woods to find the body of a dead kid from their town.
The Shawshank Redemption
With masterful performances from both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the only thing this story suffers from is that everyone who loves it loves it so much that they overhype it. Another story about the horror of humanity instead of the horror of the monster under the bed, this King story ultimately reminds the viewer to get busy living — or get busy dying.
What’s your favorite Stephen King movie?
Image from Nat Cha Villa on Flickr