Stephen King is a master of horror, but it can be trickier than it may seem to translate his material to the big screen. King's best books are often complex and epic in scope, and making them work in the confines of just a few hours can be almost impossible.
Still, there are a number of films and filmmakers that have found great success in adapting King's works to the big screen, and created some great horror movies in the process. Often, those beloved works were recognized by critics at the time as worthy of praise. The movies below are the cream of the crop when it comes to King adaptations. They're scary, sad, and above all else, great movies.
This more recent entry deserves its place on this list, as the first half of It works much better than its sequel. Following a group of kids who discover that an entity that takes the form of a clown is haunting their small town, this movie is effective because it is genuinely frightening. It follows a truly terrific group of young actors, and while it does have a certain Stranger Things energy, this chapter of It seems genuinely interested in the inner lives of each of these kids. Their fears are rooted in something mysterious yet timeless, and that's part of what makes the movie work.
One of the very first adaptations of King's work still stands as the best reviewed. Released in 1976, Carrie follows a high school girl, abused at home and tormented at school, who begins to discover that she has supernatural powers. What makes Carrie so thrilling to watch or read is the shock of violence that eventually consumes the story. Brian de Palma carefully builds up a tense narrative, and then patiently waits for everything to explode. It's a joy to watch, even if large sections of it are also horrifying.[/dt_media]
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