There are few modern authors more prolific than Stephen King. While he's written in numerous genres, King is best known for his horror tales. Dozens of horror films have been made based on his books, novellas, and short stories, but not all have been great. Here's a look at the best.
Sissy Spacek had her breakout role in this film from Brian de Palma. Carrie appears to be nothing more than a strange girl, picked on by her schoolmates and oppressed by her mother. However there's something darker lurking under the surface that only needs to be pushed to the breaking point.
"Carrie" is really just one long build up to the final payoff at the prom, but it's so perfectly built to that point and the climax itself is iconic for a reason. The tension builds until the closing scenes, all playing out in a wonderfully frightening, intense fashion.
This singular film from the legendary Stanley Kubrick received mixed reaction on its initial release. Since then, many who dismissed it at first, including Roger Ebert, have revised their assessments and labeled "The Shining" the classic that it is.
Jack Nicholson gives an unforgettable performance as the family man who becomes unhinged when he and his family are left to look after a snowed-in hotel for the winter. The masterful use of music and Kubrick's exquisite eye for detail give this film many layers with which to terrify viewers.
This film has been overshadowed by the TV series based on the same story and bearing the same name. However, the movie's take on a man whose near-death experience grants him new and frightening powers is well worth seeking out, either by fans of the show or horror fans in general. Director David Cronenberg brings his unique sensibilities to the film and Christopher Walken plays the lead role as only he can.
Unlike the other films on this list, "Misery" is a story with no supernatural aspect: no mysterious powers, spirits, or monsters. Instead, there is only one psychotic woman, played by Kathy Bates in an Oscar-winning role. Bates commands the screen but there's also excellent work done by James Caan as the unfortunate object of her obsession. The intimate filming style used by director Rob Reiner only serves to heighten the tension.
Ghost stories in a modern setting are tricky to pull off; something about current technology often makes spooks and spirits seem quaint. That is certainly not the case here, as John Cusack learns.
Cusack plays a man who rates haunted hotels for a guide book. His latest stay at the Dolphin Inn and its infamous room 1408 may be his last. The buildup of the film is brilliantly played out, the character and the audience given reason throughout to doubt their own eyes and the hero's sanity.
Stephen King has always dealt with the dark side of fiction, but there may be no other film based on his work darker than this. Right from the beginning director Frank Darabont brings an aggressively bleak tone to the story of a small town shrouded in a monster-infested mist. Things start bad and only continue to get worse.
There are few films of any kind that feel as dismal and hopeless as this. "The Mist" is almost an emotional assault on the viewer. It can be an ordeal to watch, but that's exactly what it was intended to be.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Stephen King
- Stephen King
- horror films
- Sissy Spacek
- Stanley Kubrick