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Top 10 Stephen King Adaptations That Deserve A Remake

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Nathan Sharp Stephen King has proved that his works make great movie adaptations, but these ones are definitely misfires that could benefit from a second shot! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Stephen King Adaptations that Need to Be Remade! But what will take the top spot on our list? The Stand, The Langoliers, or The Dark Tower? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: WatchMojo.com Big thanks to bobbylashley18 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Stephen+King+Adaptions+That+Should+Get+Adapted+Again+As+Theatrical+Movies
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Transcript
There are good stories in these movies; they just need a fresh coat of paint. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Stephen King adaptations that deserve a remake.

For this list, we’re looking at those Stephen King stories that have previously been adapted to film or TV, but which could be better if given the “IT” treatment. Original King screenplays made specifically for the screen will not be included.

#10: “Cujo” (1983)

“Cujo” is easily one of Stephen King’s darkest and most popular stories, but audiences are torn about the quality of its 1983 adaptation: some think it’s a frightening, if gore-free, terror-fest, while others think it’s just kinda meh. Yes, the movie performed relatively well at the box office; however, most agree that the highpoint is Dee Wallace’s performance, with the rest of the runtime proving uneven and, in spots, kinda boring. This type of story doesn’t even need a big budget, since most of it takes place in a single location. Just get some great actors and a convincing dog, and you’re good to go. And for crying out loud, keep King’s ending!


#9: “The Dark Half” (1993)

This suspenseful and mysterious novel isn’t one of King’s most popular works, but it deserves a decent adaptation. Like a number of King’s stories, the story follows an author; only this one has an evil alter ego and becomes embroiled in a series of murders. Okay, we’re with you so far… It also stars Timothy Hutton and Michael Rooker, and was directed by George A. Romero? How could it go wrong? Well, the movie wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t all that memorable – aside from Hutton’s dual performance as Beaumont and Stark, that is. However, a fresh take that actually plays up the story’s supernatural elements could surely turn it into a riveting entry in the horror genre.


#8: “Secret Window” (2004)

“Secret Window” was adapted from a novella in the “Four Past Midnight” collection. The story follows Mort Rainey, an author who’s accused of plagiarism by a dangerous man. The concept is intriguing, and John Turturro’s performance as John Shooter is captivating, but the rest of the movie gets bogged down in uninteresting domestic tiffs and struggles. Not to mention, the filmmakers chose to go in a completely different direction with their ending than Stephen King did. Our tips? Cut the storyline down and streamline the narrative so it’s about Mort’s supposed plagiarism, guilt and growing madness – that would make for a much more engaging watch.


#7: “The Running Man” (1987)

This movie follows the wrongly convicted Ben Richards as he attempts to survive a television show called “The Running Man,” which sees criminals hunted down for viewers’ amusement. While it is great fun, it’s also almost nothing like the original novel. The book describes a bleak dystopia in which cost of living is high and reality shows rule the airwaves, with Ben VOLUNTEERING for the Running Man game show – which also has a different set up – so he can earn enough money to pay his kid’s medical bills. The movie is filled with campy costumes and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s specific brand of zingers. Okay, we’ve had the cheesy action; we’re ready for a more faithful, horrific adaptation.


#6: “Salem’s Lot” (1979)
Let’s get this outta the way: “Salem’s Lot” is an awesome miniseries. The show aired on CBS in 1979, and for its time, it was terrific and terrifying entertainment. It was faithful to King’s novel, and the scares were plentiful – like, who can forget that window scene? A remake was attempted in 2004, but it was a less faithful adaptation, taking great liberties with the characters and their fates, so it couldn’t quite recapture the magic. Ultimately, as good as the original may be, we’d love to see it remade with modern effects and scares. You shouldn’t mess with the classics, but this is one clan of vampires that deserves to be brought back to life.


#5: “Dreamcatcher” (2003)

King wrote Dreamcatcher high on Oxycontin while he was recovering from his car accident…so, maybe that explains a few things. After all, it’s a story about four friends who share a psychic connection after befriending a man with Down syndrome and features a man pooping out an alien. All things considered, a remake would probably still be a little out there, but it almost definitely be better than the 2003 movie, which – despite a solid cast that includes Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee, Donnie Wahlberg and Morgan Freeman – just couldn’t get it together. With a new director and a tighter script, maybe a new movie could at least be watchable.


#4: “Pet Sematary” (1989)

There has been some buzz already about a “Pet Sematary” do-over and we desperately hope it comes to fruition. Don’t get us wrong: “Pet Sematary” is a decent movie – those Zelda scenes alone are enough to give us nightmares for days. But this is King’s darkest and most disturbing book; the one that even he realizes is way too messed up. The movie just needs more oomph, more pizzazz. Given the right director and crew, “Pet Sematary” could be an extremely unsettling movie. As it stands, it’s kinda flat and rather uneventful filmmaking, with the potential for so much more creepiness.


#3: “The Langoliers” (1995)

Another novella in the “Four Past Midnight” collection, “The Langoliers” is probably one of King’s most inventive and underappreciated works. In it, various strangers discover that they’ve traveled back in time and must return to the present before the titular Langoliers eat away the devoid past – and them along with it. It really is a fascinating idea, but – as is to be expected – the execution of the 1995 miniseries was… well, just look at the Langoliers. This story desperately needs a remake, if only so the filmmakers would have enough of a budget to create the terrifying world eaters in a program more advanced than Microsoft Paint.


#2: “The Stand” (1994)

“The Stand” was first published in 1978, and many King aficionados consider it his finest work. It’s a sprawling, complex epic about a band of pandemic survivors who take sides in a coming Biblical war. It was adapted as a miniseries that aired on ABC, and while it’s pretty good, this King masterpiece truly needs the right budget to properly work. The miniseries suffers mostly from the comparatively limited television budgets of the ‘90s, and it fails to capture the novel’s horrifying sense of scale, and the overall destruction of the plague. Given the right finances and runtime, “The Stand” could be the finest King adaptation of all time.



Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Tommyknockers” (1993)


“Children of the Corn” (1984)


“Under the Dome” (2013-15)


#1: “The Dark Tower” (2017)

Written over the course of 30 years, “The Dark Tower” series is Stephen King’s magnum opus: it follows Roland Deschain and his friends as they travel towards the mythical and enigmatic Dark Tower and attempt to best the Man in Black once and for all. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Constant Reader who didn’t devour all eight books of this series. But the movie… Well, to put it politely, it didn’t do the source material justice. To put it less politely, it was a disappointing mess. That’s why someone should just completely reboot this series and do it properly, because the Gunslinger and his ka-tet deserve far better than this!
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