Stephen King has been terrifying generations of horror fans for over 40 years. With his twisted tales of haunted hotels and blood-soaked prom queens, the author has become a Master of Suspense and Terror. His work has been adapted countless times, some good and some not so good.
Below are five of my favorite Stephen King films that are now streaming.
Children of the Corn (1984)
Streaming on Hulu, Tubi, and Prime Video
Children of the Corn, based on the short story by Stephen King, is about a young couple who find themselves stranded in Gatlin, Nebraska only to discover the entire town is overrun by a cult of killer children that worship a deity called “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”
A bit dated but still genuinely creepy, Children of the Corn is a gnarly and gritty slasher that doesn’t hold back on the violence. The film is undoubtedly one of King’s most popular and iconic adaptations.
Streaming on HBO Max
It is based on Stephen King’s epic bestseller about seven friends known as “The Losers Club” who must fight an unstoppable evil that takes shape in the form of a killer clown. Thirty years later, they are called back to fight the same entity they thought they had destroyed.
Split into two parts, the mini-series features an all-star cast including Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Annette O’ Toole, and even features a young Seth Green and Emily Perkins. It’s Tim Curry’s performance as the wise-cracking demonic clown Pennywise that steals the show here, however.
From the film’s opening drain sequence to its climactic finale, It keeps you engaged throughout with its heartfelt story of The Losers Club while scaring the hell out of you with Pennywise the Clown. After 30 years, It can still frighten a new generation of horror fans and even received a remake in 2017.
Streaming on HBO Max
Misery is based on Stephen King’s novel about novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who is critically injured in a car accident. Luckily Paul is rescued by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who takes Paul back to her remote farm. Annie’s obsession with Paul takes a dark turn, however, when she discovers he has decided to kill off her favorite character in his latest novel. Annie becomes controlling, turning violent, demanding he rewrite it or else.
It was hailed as one of the best King adaptions. Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes. Stephen King himself has stated that Misery is one of his top 10 film adaptations. With its isolated setting and compelling villain, Misery is a nail-biting film experience filled with moments of intense violence and brutality. However, it’s the film’s infamous “hobbling” scene that still has us screaming today.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Streaming on Netflix
Gerald’s Game is based on King’s 1992 novel which follows a married couple attempting to put some spice back in their marriage.
In Gerald’s Game, we follow Jess (Carla Gugino), who is left handcuffed to a bed when her husband suddenly dies due to a heart attack during a kinky sex game. Left alone, she must find a way to escape while battling her own inner demons.
Suspenseful, nerve-wracking, and downright scary, Gerald’s Game proves that you don’t need much to terrify an audience. More psychological than straight-up horror, director Mike Flanagan crafts a slow burn film with a strong story, a compelling heroine, and some effective scare sequences. Stephen King even praised the film as being “hypnotic, horrifying and terrific.”
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Streaming on HBO Max
A follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining, Doctor Sleep is an adaption of Stephen King’s novel that follows Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) scarred by the trauma he endured at the Overlook Hotel. Struggling with alcoholism, he tries to rebuild his life, but any hope for happiness is shattered when he meets Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a girl who also possesses “the shine.”
Now, Danny must protect her from a cult known as the True Knot, whose members prey on children who shine.
Also directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep lives up to the original, with the film bridging the gap between Kubrick’s Shining and King’s work. With some unsettling sequences, including the brutal murder of a child and a return to the famous Overlook Hotel, Doctor Sleep is a thrilling horror film that not only lives up to the original but also manages to satisfy Stephen King fans.