9 Stephen King Stories That Should Be Adapted Into Film

I know. It’s hard to imagine that there are any left that haven’t been.

Stephen King/Photo © DDay Gen Adult 2017

With the record-shattering adaptation of It – not to mention critically-acclaimed takes on Gerald’s Game, Mr. Mercedes, and 1922 – we are currently experiencing a Stephen King cinematic renaissance. Given all of the recent success, odds are that Hollywood will dig deeper into the master storyteller’s massive catalog.

Stephen King is nothing if not an incredibly productive writer, and there is plenty of adaptation fodder waiting in the ranks of all of those bestsellers. Here are a few of our favorite stories, primed for the move to screens large and small. Some have remained untouched by the hands of Hollywood, while others have been languished in the pits of developmental hell, but all of them are ready to make their cinematic debut.

The cover of the book The Long WalkThe Long Walk

Stephen King

The Long Walk is probably the best known of Stephen King’s “Bachman” books – books he wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. It’s a dystopian thriller set in an alternate timeline where the Germans appear to have won World War II. In the novel, teenage boys are forced to participate in a grueling walking marathon where the winner is the last person left alive and standing. It’s a taut and emotional thriller that would require a deft touch, but one that we’d still love to see adapted.

 

The cover of the book The Man in the Black SuitThe Man in the Black Suit

Stephen King

This O. Henry award-winner originally appeared in the New Yorker before being included in Everything’s Eventual. King cited Nathaniel Hawthorne as an inspiration for the story, which centers on an elderly man recalling an encounter he had as a boy with an enigmatic figure, who may have been the devil. It’s a slow-burn, haunting story with plenty of room to be expanded upon on the screen.

 

The cover of the book InsomniaInsomnia

Stephen King

Insomnia is about as close any King novel can be to a cult classic among the author’s fans. The novel is an unsettling mix of sci-fi and horror, and features an elderly suffering from insomnia who begins to see otherworldy phenomena. At just shy of 800 pages, it could be tough to adapt to the big screen, but a mini-series would give the characters and the story plenty of room to breathe.

 

The cover of the book The Girl Who Loved Tom GordonThe Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Stephen King

This is one of Stephen King’s better psychological thrillers. The story is built around nine-year-old Trisha McFarland who wanders away from her family during a hike along the Appalachian Trail. Lost, subjected to the elements, and fearful of a monster that could be real or imagined, Trisha turns to her admiration of Red Sox relief pitcher Tom Gordon for comfort.

 

The cover of the book 'Salem's Lot‘Salem’s Lot

Stephen King

While it’s true that Salem’s Lot has already been adapted twice – a well-regarded 1979 TV film and a forgettable 2004 version – the success of “It” 2017 proved there’s always room for another look at King’s works. This is one book that could really benefit from a mini-series adaptation. Despite its scant (at least for Stephen King) page count, the novel spends a fair amount of time fleshing out the town and occupants of Jerusalem’s Lot.

 

The cover of the book Night ShiftNight Shift

Stephen King

This Stephen King deep cut was originally published in Cavalier magazine – home to quite a few King stories – before eventually appearing in Night Shift, Stephen King’s first short story collection. The Boogeyman centers on a family falling prey to a titular sinister creature. While certainly on the shorter end in terms of length, there’s quite a bit of content that a skillful writer or director could flesh out on the screen. In the right hands, The Boogeyman has the potential to be a truly terrifying exercise in suspense and horror.

 

The cover of the book Rose MadderRose Madder

Stephen King

Domestic violence is a fairly common theme in much of Stephen King’s work. But in Rose Madder, King gives his writing a fascinating symbolic and mythological twist. The novel centers on a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and eventually finds herself caught in a bizarre fantasy world after purchasing a painting. With the right director at the helm, it could be a visual treat on the screen.

 

The cover of the book Just After SunsetJust After Sunset

Stephen King

Stephen King’s short stories are some of his best work. The Gingerbread Girl is of my personal favorites, which appears in Just After Sunset. It begins with a fairly normal pedestrian woman dealing with the aftermath of a trauma, but when Stephen King throws a dangerous serial killer into the mix, it becomes a tightly written cat-and-mouse survival story.

 

The cover of the book Duma KeyDuma Key

Stephen King

Duma Key is one of the better novels to come out of the latter part of King’s career. The 2008 novel is an intricately plotted exploration of grief, secrets, and obsession. Like a lot of Stephen King novels, there is a touch of the autobiographical as the story’s protagonist is an artist recuperating from a near-fatal accident. Thankfully, Stephen King tends to be at his best when he injects a little of himself into the narrative.

By KEITH RICE, December 15, 2017, first appearing on Signature Reads
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