5 Stephen King Novels That Need A Movie Adaptation (& 5 That Are Due A Remake)
There are many works in Stephen King's back catalogue that would be worth a movie adaptation and plenty of his movies that are long overdue a remake.
With a career spanning over 55 years, Stephen King and cinema go hand-in-hand, and it’s easy to see why. Stephen King has a bibliography of novels, short story collections, novellas, and comic books numbering well over 75, with many of these projects being turned into motion pictures.
While a few of his adaptations have gone down as some of the greatest films ever made, recent success with remakes such as It and Pet Sematary has Hollywood buzzing around King once again. While there have been top quality movies, some have been objectively better than others – and many are well and truly due for a remake. On the other hand, there are still many quality works within the authors back catalogue that are still to be tapped into.
Remake: Maximum Overdrive Is The Worst Adaptation Of King’s Work
The adaptation of King’s Trucks also marked the writer’s directorial debut. Trucks is a tale in which all machines on Earth become sentient and go on a killing spree. Even King admits that Trucks was a disaster, with his prevalent drug use at the time severely hampering his abilities.
While Trucks has gone down in history as a cult movie, it is a real shame that King’s first stint as a director resulted in such a catastrophe. King’s son, Joe Hill, even stated an interest in tackling a remake of Maximum Overdrive, it could be very interesting to see how things could pan out – especially when keeping it within the family.
Make: The Colorado Kid Is A Gripping Mystery Novel With A Twist
Stephen King’s first novel for the crime, pulp, and mystery publisher, Hard Case Crime, is a short but sweet look into the world of small-town journalism and unsolved murders that refuse to die. The Colorado Kid features a brilliant ensemble cast, it pulls readers in and fully engrosses them in the case with a mastery that only King is capable of.
While the story was loosely adapted into the TV show Haven, a full-length cinematic venture would be the best way for The Colorado Kid to translate on screen. Audiences could get the whole story in the straight-up, easy to digest manner in which The Colorado Kid was originally written.
Remake: The Lawnmower Man Resulted In A Lawsuit
Even King, a highly respected author, can run into trouble when it comes to adaptations of his work. 1992’s The Lawnmower Man follows a disabled groundskeeper who becomes a God within a digital realm. The Lawnmower Man was so far removed from King’s original work, and critically despised, that King successfully sued the filmmakers.
While The Lawnmower Man was so reviled, the original story itself has a lot of merit. If handled well, The Lawnmower Man could become a successful movie and help to redeem the source material. If The Lawnmower Man is to teach us anything, it is that when it comes to work as brilliant as King’s, it is always better to stick closely to what made the original so great.
Make: Billy Summers Proves That King Still Has It
2021 has been an incredible year for Stephen King fans. King has released two brilliant, career-defining novels –Later and now, Billy Summers. Widely regarded as one of his best works of the modern era, Billy Summers tells the story of the titular hitman as he takes up writing his memoirs while waiting to assassinate his next target.
Filled with all the suspense, character study, and emotionally engrossing relationships, Billy Summers would make a perfect film given the right cast and director. Where Billy Summers really succeeds is in how well King gets inside the head of his main character, and if that was pulled off successfully in an adaptation, it would make for one fine movie indeed.
Remake: Cujo Is A Cult Classic That Deserves An Update
While Cujo has had some degree of reevaluation by critics and audiences in recent years, becoming a bonafide cult and horror classic, much more could be done with a new adaptation. The original movie, while fairly faithful to the source material, did miss the mark in really delving into the mind of the rabid, once-lovable dog.
Instead of depicting the dog as a monstrous killer, like in Cujo, a remake could give audiences a look into the struggle within the titular dog. Utilizing King’s impeccable character writing within the novel would give a new film an extra element of gut-punching, emotional investment, instead of just all-out terror.
Make: Gwendy’s Button Box Would Make The Perfect Trilogy
Stephen King and Richard Chizmar’s supernatural-horror trilogy is so ripe for adaptation that it seems bizarre that it hasn’t been snapped up already. With two novels already released, with the third and final chapter set for publication in early 2022, Gwendy’s Button Box spans the entire life of Gwendy Peterson, and would be a perfect fit for a three-part film series.
Gwendy’s Button Box is set in King’s ever-present town of Castle Rock, Maine. Castle Rock could also serve as an introduction to an expanded King-verse that, since the disappointing cancellation of the Castle Rock TV show, could create a whole universe of connected films set in and around the same place.
Remake: Children Of The Corn Is A Classic With Many Inferior Sequels
Fritz Kiersch’s original 1977 Children Of The Corn is a bonafide horror classic. It is just unfortunate how the series has progressed from that brilliant original entry. Spawning a franchise that is still going to this day, including over 11 entries of sequels, remakes, and prequels – none of them other than the first are very good.
A remake, or even a “rebootquel” such as we have seen with great success with Halloween, could be just the thing needed to revitalize this flailing franchise. A new entry of Children Of The Corn in the hands of a competent cast and crew could be just the ticket to save this series from the straight-to-streaming, bargain bin hell it currently languishes in.
Make: Later Is The Best New King Book In Years
The first book released by Stephen King of 2021, Later has received widespread critical acclaim from both critics and audiences alike and has already gone down as one of, if not the best, novels he has published in years. Telling the story of a young boy who can see and communicate with the dead, Later is equal parts supernatural-horror and detective/mystery yarn.
Just begging for a film adaptation, Later features all the best elements that have come to define King’s work. From the focus on a young protagonist with a special power, to how the author manages to make the reader truly care for his characters, Later is King at his absolute best.
Remake: The Dark Tower Is Too Important To Give Up On
Only released back in 2017, The Dark Tower, unfortunately, failed to connect with audiences in the way that they had hoped, receiving almost universally negative criticism. In terms of his in-universe continuity, The Dark Tower is arguably King’s most beloved and important work. The Dark Tower series deserves much better.
Whether or not The Dark Tower gets its planned sequels still seems up for debate. However, if plans to continue fall flat, then it should not be the last time that this wonderful series is attempted on the silver screen.
Make: Joyland Is The Most Well-Loved Novel Still To Receive An Adaptation
How Joyland still hasn’t received a cinematic adaptation since being released almost a decade ago is a mystery. While there has been an attempt to bring Joyland to the small screen, all news on that front appears to have gone quiet – leaving King fans wondering what is going on.
Arguably the best King book of the last decade, Joyland mixes his signature character-based, suspense-driven excellence with a plot and setting so tantalizing that it is impossible to put down. The relatively short, but immensely sweet book is the perfect length to be adapted into a film – and hopefully, one day, it will be.