All 59 Stephen King Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Stephen King has been terrifying readers for 43 years, crafting best-selling novels and short stories that have become iconic works of horror. With these written works have come a plethora of film and TV adaptations – some very good, some (many, actually) not so good. King adaptations are experiencing a sudden boom – The Dark Tower recently hit theaters and a new, highly anticipated adaptation of It will arrive in theaters this week. On the horizon, a Netflix adaptation of Gerald's Game will arrive near the end of the month and a TV series, Castle Rock, is currently in pre-production.

In honor of the many new King adaptations, I decided to do something really scary. I've gone back and ranked every single Stephen King film. Here are the rules I stuck to: films and miniseries only, and no sequels unless the sequel in question was a direct adaptation of something King wrote (i.e. Creepshow 2). So, sorry Children of the Corn sequel fans, only the initial Corn adaptations will be here. Without further ado, let's rank the film adaptations of Stephen King.

59. CELL

Based on: The novel Cell published in 2006

Oh boy, let's get this garbage out of the way first, shall we? This adaptation of King's novel about cell phones that turn people into zombies was troubled and long-delayed – the film was completed in 2014, but not released until 2016. The final result is the as-of-now worst Stephen King film adaptation. A lifeless husk of a film that lacks even the basic understanding of how storytelling works. Avoid this thing like a cell-phone triggered plague.

How faithful to the source material is it? About 50%, although it's worth noting that Cell is one of King's lesser novels, so it's no surprise it didn't make for much of a film.  

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

58. GRAVEYARD SHIFT

Based On: The short story "Graveyard Shift" published in 1970 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

This is perhaps the most forgettable Stephen King adaptation. So forgettable that even though I've seen it multiple times, mostly on late night cable TV, there's almost nothing to report. A group of textile mill employees working over the weekend to clean up the mill's basement find themselves facing off against a giant bat. This was the feature directorial debut of Ralph S. Singleton, who never directed another film after this.

How faithful to the source material is it? It sticks pretty closely to the short story while also fleshing it out to feature length.  

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He plays the giant bat (note: this may not be true).

57. TRUCKS

Based on: The short story "Trucks" published in 1978 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

Maximum Overdrive is famous, or perhaps infamous, for being the only film that Stephen King directed. It's not very good (more on that later!), but at least it has something of a personality, schizophrenic though it may be. That's not the case for Trucks, another adaptation of the same short story that inspired Overdrive. You know the drill: cars and trucks become sentient and rack up some road kill. With no AC/DC or Emilio Estevez to distract us, this is a big fat yawn.

How faithful to the source material is it? The general idea is pretty much the same, but King is very good at making silly ideas sort of terrifying with his prose. That doesn't translate so well to film, however.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Negative.

56. CHILDREN OF THE CORN (2009)

Based on: The short story "Children of the Corn" published in 1977 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

For some strange reason, no Stephen King story has spawned more films than Children of the Corn. There are approximately ten zillion Corn sequels, and then there's this 2009 made-for-TV remake, which is as forgettable as they come. Director Donald P. Borchers really wanted King to be involved with the film in some capacity and sent the author a copy of the script, only for King's attorneys to send it back with a note explaining King couldn't care less. And neither should we.

How faithful to the source material is it? This is actually a lot more faithful to the source material than the original film, but that doesn't necessarily make it good.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Did you actually read the paragraph above?

55. MERCY

Based on: The short story "Gramma" published in 1984 and featured in the collection Skeleton Crew.

Although featuring Shirley Knight, Mark Duplass, Dylan McDermott and Frances O'Connor, this 2014 adaptation of King's spooky short story "Gramma" has been mostly forgotten, and probably for good reason: it's your standard direct-to-VOD horror. The short story, about a young boy home alone with his terrifying, possibly supernatural grandmother is a great exercise in slowly building tension and horror. The film is just blah.

How faithful to the source material is it? The film adds a bunch more supernatural stuff to flesh out the short story, and none of it is as effective as the less-is-more approach that King's brief tale takes.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

54. THE LANGOLIERS

Based on: The novella The Langoliers from the collection Four Past Midnight, published in 1990.

The terrifying story of a group of plane passengers who fly right into an alternate dimension and find themselves attacked by cartoon meatballs was adapted into an endless (note: actually 180 minutes) miniseries in 1995. There's some super talented people involved with this thing, including Dean Stockwell, David Morse and Balky himself, Bronson Pinchot, and was directed by Fright Night and Child's Play helmer Tom Holland (no, not the one who plays Spider-Man). But it's a dull, unengaging story that doesn't so much unfold as it does slowly tick out like a dusty grandfather clock located somewhere in the den of smelly, moldy house full of un-emptied cat boxes.

How faithful to the source material is it? This is actually pretty faithful to the story, which suggests that you should probably avoid ever reading it.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He does! He shows up in a dream sequence playing Pinchot's boss, Tom Holby.

53. A GOOD MARRIAGE

Based On: The novella A Good Marriage from the collection Full Dark, No Stars, published in 2010.

Joan Allen is a happy, upper class woman who discovers that her husband of 25 years (Anthony LaPaglia) may in fact be a BTK-style serial killer. It's a neat premise, and Allen and LaPaglia turn into pretty good performances. But the end result is a plodding Lifetime-style thriller (appropriate enough, since the film premiered on Lifetime).

How faithful to the source material is it? King wrote the screenplay for the film himself, so it's fairly faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

52. BIG DRIVER

Based On: The novella Big Driver from the collection Full Dark, No Stars, published in 2010.

The criminally undervalued Mario Bello stars in this unpleasant rape-revenge tale playing a mystery writer who is brutally assaulted by a truck driver and then plots violent payback. There's a frankly bizarre comedic undertone to the whole film, which just doesn't work at all. Maria Bello and the audience both deserve better.

How faithful to the source material is it? Faithful to a fault.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He does not.

50. SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK

Based On: The short story "Sometimes They Come Back," published in 1974 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

Tim Matheson is a high school teacher haunted by the ghosts of the evil greasers who murdered his brother in the 1960s. Yes, it's as silly as it sounds, and while forgettable, it's not offensively bad, which keeps it from being at the very bottom of the list.

How faithful to the source material is it? Fairly faithful for the most part, but it nixes the more ambiguous, unpleasant ending from King's story.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

49. THE LAWNMOWER MAN

Based On: The short story "The Lawnmower Man," published in 1975 and featured in the collection Night Shift. Only not at all.

I debated even including this film on the list since it's not really a Stephen King adaptation. In fact, King successfully sued to have his name removed from the film, since it bore no resemblance to his story at all. This film is bad, but it's bad in a very special way. Pierce Brosnan is a doctor who experiments on an intellectually disabled man (Jeff Fahey) using virtual reality. The experiment turns Fahey's character into an all-powerful, evil cyber-god, and lots of complete bullshit follows. Filled with special effects which seemed cutting edge in 1992 but are beyond laughable now, The Lawnmower Man is kind of a trashy treat to watch. Kind of.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not faithful at all. The story is about a landscaper who turns out to be a malevolent demon who eats grass clippings and works for the god Pan. It's really stupid, yet somehow not as stupid as the movie.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Hell no.

48. BAG OF BONES

Based On: The novel Bag of Bones, published in 1998.

Mick Garris is a director who will pop up on this list several times, since he loves adapting Stephen King stories. He's a really nice guy, but kind of lackluster director, and this is probably the worst of the bunch of his King adaptations. Pierce Brosnan is a novelist haunted by the death of his wife, as well as some other stuff. It's not very exciting, but there is a part where a ghost says "Lie still, bag of bones!", so that's something, I guess.

How faithful to the source material is it? Mostly faithful, yet even at 162 minutes this adaptation still cuts out a good portion of King's novel.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

47. DOLAN’S CADILLAC

Based On: The short story "Dolan's Cadillac" published in 1993 and featured in the collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

King's Edgar Allen Poe-inspired tale of vengeance was reduced to a completely forgettable direct-to-video thriller that pits Wes Bentley against Christian Slater. Bentley is a school teacher who wants to kill the gangster (Slater) who murdered his wife by burying him alive. Early in the film's development, Sylvester Stallone was rumored to play the part eventually played by Slater. That probably would've made the film slightly more interesting.

How faithful to the source material is it? King's story is much more psychological than the film.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

46. THE MANGLER

Based On: The short story "The Mangler," published in 1978 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

Stephen King loves to turn the mundane into the terrifying, but not even he could make a story about a murderous demonic laundry press that convincing. The late Tobe Hooper helmed this adaptation, which isn't very good but has hell of a lot of style. It also stars wonderful character Ted Levine in a rare leading-man role, playing a cop investigating the evil laundry machine.

How faithful to the source material is it? The film adds a lot more to the story, none of it very good.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes, he plays the laundry machine. No, I'm kidding, he's not in it at all.

45. SLEEPWALKERS

Based On: Nothing; King wrote this as an original screenplay.

Sleepwalkers was the first screenplay King wrote directly for the screen instead of adapting one of his previous novels. That seemed like something exciting at the time...and then the film was released. Mick Garris once again is behind the camera, filming this really gross story about an incestuous mother-son team of murderers who are also cat people. It's not good! But it does feature a scene where someone is stabbed to death with a corn cob, thus keeping it from being too far down in the ranking.

How faithful to the source material is it? N/A

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes! He plays a grumpy cemetery caretaker.

44. THE TOMMYKNOCKERS

Based On: The novel The Tommyknockers, published in 1987.

Early in his career, King developed a pretty serious cocaine and alcohol addiction. His struggles with this come through in many of his works, including The Tommyknockers, which substitutes alien powers for the rush of cocaine. King doesn't care for the book that much, though. "The Tommyknockers is an awful book," he told Rolling Stone. "That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, 'There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.' The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, 'There's probably a good 350-page novel in there.'" If King himself thinks this, it should come as no surprise that TV miniseries adaptation isn't much to look at it, either. A few eerie moments aside, this is a wash.

How faithful to the source material is it? Pretty faithful, although the book is a bit more mean-spirited.  

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

43. STORM OF THE CENTURY

Based On: Nothing; King wrote this as original screenplay.

Storm of the Century was a big deal when it aired in 1999 – a miniseries event that King had written directly for the small screen rather than something adapted from one of his books. Yet as the series unfolded over three nights for a numbing 256 minute total runtime, it became apparent that maybe King could've cut this beast down to 2 hours and told a much more effective story. A blizzard hits a small island town and brings with it a mysterious, malevolent man (Colm Feore). Cut down to a more manageable length, this could've been something good. In its final, ungodly lengthy form, however, it's a total bust.

How faithful to the source material is it? N/A

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yep, as a lawyer on a TV ad.

42. DESPERATION

Based On: The novel Desperation, published in 1996.

Our old friend Mick Garris is back, this time filming King's novel about a cursed Nevada mining town. While Desperation features a typically memorable performance from Ron Perlman, here playing a demonic town sheriff, the film lacks energy and, worst of all, isn't the least bit scary or suspenseful.

How faithful to the source material is it? King adapted his own novel for the film, but he still removes a ton of extra material from the hefty 704-page book.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

41. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE

Based on: The short story "Trucks" published in 1978 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

Maximum Overdrive is fairly infamous: it's the only film Stephen King ever directed, and it's terrible. But it's the fun kind of terrible – goofy to the extreme and sort of oblivious to how dumb it is. Emilio Estevez and a cast of people who can't stop yelling get stuck at a truck stop after trucks, and other machines, become sentient – and deadly. All while AC/DC tunes blast over the soundtrack.

How faithful to the source material is it? Well, there's no AC/DC in the story.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He does: he plays a man who has an altercation with a foul-mouthed ATM.

40. ROSE RED

Based On: King wrote this as original screenplay, but it's really an unofficial adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

In the early 1990s, Steven Spielberg approached Stephen King to write a big budget remake of The Haunting, adapted from Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House. The project eventually fell through, and Spielberg's DreamWorks eventually released a terrible Haunting remake helmed by Jan de Bont. As for King, he took the work that he had done and recrafted it into Rose Red, a 255 minute miniseries that aired on ABC. While Rose Red may not be credited as a Haunting adaptation, the storyline is virtually the same: a team of ghost hunters take up residence in a sprawling house with a dark history. There's plenty to like about Rose Red – the stuff that goes into the house's backstory is captivating and the always wonderful Melanie Lynskey has a fairly large part. But like most miniseries' penned by King, this thing is too damn long. There's no reason for this thing to be almost five hours in length.

How faithful to the source material is it? N/A

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? You better believe it. He appears here as the world's oldest pizza delivery boy.

39. DREAMCATCHER

Based On: The novel Dreamcatcher, published in 2001.

Dreamcatcher has two immensely talented people working behind the scenes – Lawrence Kasdan directing and renowned screenwriter William Goldman co-writing the script – and yet it's pretty darn bad. Probably because the source material isn't anything to sing about; King wrote the book doped up on painkillers while recovering from a near-fatal car accident, so that might have something to do with it. A group of childhood friends reunite as adults for guy getaway, only to have their fun spoiled by an alien invasion. How dumb is this movie? Well, the aliens are nicknamed "shit weasels," so that should give you a pretty good idea. Not even Morgan Freeman hamming it up as an evil army general can elevate this movie.

How faithful to the source material is it? It starts off pretty faithful, then forges its own uniquely stupid path.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

38. CARRIE (2002)

Based On: The novel Carrie, published in 1974.

King's first novel Carrie has not one but three film adaptations. We'll get to the other two later, but first up is this 2002 TV movie adaptation. The film sticks pretty closely to the book, although updates it for a more modern setting, and features Angela Bettis, who was excellent in the underrated horror film May, as the doomed telepath Carrie White, and Patricia Clarkson as her bible-thumping mother. For the most part, this adaptation isn't bad, and benefits from a script courtesy of Hannibal mastermind Bryan Fuller. Then the ending comes and Carrie makes a startling left turn. It seems this film was intended to be a backdoor pilot to a Carrie TV series, and as a result, Carrie survives the film's destruction-filled ending and heads out on the road, like The Incredible Hulk. It's really stupid.

How faithful to the source material is it? Very faithful...until the end.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Sadly, no. Would it have killed them to cast him as the high school janitor or something? Come on.

37. THE SHINING (1997 miniseries)

Based On: The novel The Shining, published in 1977. Also based on Stephen King's incessant complaints.

King is mostly neutral when it comes to adaptations of his work. If the film doesn't turn out exactly like the novel, he usually shrugs it off. Usually. And then there's The Shining. While critics and audiences may agree that Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation is a horror classic, King hates it. The author has a long list of reasons he dislikes Kubrick's adaptation, but it all basically boils down to the fact that King thinks Kubrick removed the heart of the novel and strayed too far from the source material. So what better way to retaliate than to pen a lengthy TV miniseries? Our old buddy Mick Garris is back in the director's chair once again filming this painfully long saga. This adaptation certainly sticks closer to the novel, yet – surprise, surprise – it's got nothing on Kubrick's film. It doesn't help that the ghosts that show up have their faces painted day-glo blue as if they were characters in an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. Also not helping: Courtland Mead, who plays Danny, the young boy with the shining, is terrible.

How faithful to the source material is it? Extremely faithful! Yet it isn't good! Go figure.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? You bet your ass he does. He plays a ghostly band leader dancing around on a stage with a ghost orchestra.

36. RIDING THE BULLET

Based on: The novella Riding the Bullet published in 2000 and featured in the collection Everything's Eventual.

Mick Garris is at it again! This time, the soft-spoken horror filmmaker helms an adaptation of King's tale of a young man hitchhiking across the country to get back to home to see his mother, who has suffered a stroke. Along the way he's picked up by ghost, played with over-the-top glee by David Arquette. There's some nice emotional moments somewhere in this film, but most of it is lost beneath a heavy helping of serious bullshit, like a scene where the grim reaper shows up smoking a joint.

How faithful to the source material is it? There's a lot of extra material here to turn this into a full movie, none of it very good.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? I wish!

35. CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)

Based on: The short story "Children of the Corn" published in 1977 and featured in the collection Night Shift.

The film that launched way too many sequels, 1984's Children of the Corn adaptation isn't what you'd call "good", but there is a somewhat eerie atmosphere that makes it oddly watchable. The simple fact is that kids are inherently creepy, even more so when they're brandishing rusty farm tools.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not very faithful at all.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

34. SECRET WINDOW

Based On: The novella Secret Window, Secret Garden published in 1990 featured in the collection Four Past Midnight.

Hat-wearing hack Johnny Depp plays a blocked writer who suddenly finds himself accused of plagiarism by a mysterious weirdo, played by John Turturro in this ho-hum horror flick. There's a "twist" here that you can see coming a mile away, and the film seems to think a close-up of someone biting into corn on the cob is the pinnacle of horror. Secret Window isn't very good, but Turturro is clearly having a lot of fun playing the heavy, and that elevates the material a bit.

How faithful to the source material is it? Besides the basic idea, it's not that true to the source material.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope! Where you at, King?

33. FIRESTARTER

Based On: The novel Firestarter published in 1980.

Firestarter has not aged well, and Drew Barrymore's performance, as a young girl who can make fires with her mind, is downright whiny. But there are some bright spots, particularly George C. Scott, playing an evil government agent wearing an eye patch. At one point, John Carpenter was going to helm this film, but alas, that never came to pass.

How faithful to the source material is it? For the most part, faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Negative.

32. THE DARK TOWER

Based On: The Dark Tower series, published between 1982 and 2012.

You probably forgot The Dark Tower came out only a few weeks ago, and I don't blame you. This lackluster adaptation of King's epic fantasy series offers little for fans of the books or fans of good movies in general. To be clear: The Dark Tower is at least watchable, which keeps it from being at the very bottom of the list, and Idris Elba does his best to carry the film. But this is a heartless, joyless film that takes the complex world King created and whittles it down into mush. I wouldn't hold my breath for any sequels.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not faithful at all, and that's the problem.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? King did plenty of promotion for the film, yet he doesn't make an appearance here.

31. CAT’S EYE

Based On: The short stories "Quitters, Inc." published in 1978 and "The Ledge" published in 1976 featured in the collection Night Shift, as well as an original story for the film from King.

This anthology film taking two King short stories and another story King wrote directly for the script is a lot of fun. All three are connected by a stray cat that wanders through each tale, and also Drew Barrymore, who plays three different parts. As far as horror anthologies go, Cat's Eye is pretty entertaining.

How faithful to the source material is it? The two segments adapted from short stories are pretty faithful, which is to be expected since King adapted them for the screen himself.  

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

30. THINNER

Based On: The novel Thinner published in 1984 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

When King was first getting started as a writer, publishers did not like to publish more than one book per year from the same author. Since King is nothing if not prolific, he got around this by writing books under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman. Most of the Bachman books were psychological thrillers that avoided anything supernatural, with the exception of Thinner. The book was turned into a film in 1996, and it's kind of fun – the tale of a hefty corrupt lawyer cursed to lose weight until he dies. There's a lurid trashiness to the film that makes it engrossing.

How faithful to the source material is it? It's much sillier than the book, but still pretty faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes. He plays a nosy pharmacist.

29. THE RUNNING MAN

Based On: The novel The Running Man published in 1982 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

When The Running Man hit theaters in 1987, its concept of a future where America has turned into a hellish game show seemed silly. Yet 2017 proved this to be the most accurate depiction of the future. How unlucky for us! Anyway, this film featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger facing off against Richard Dawson, is really dumb, but gosh is it entertaining, featuring neon-lit scenes of pure cheese.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not faithful at all!

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

28. CUJO

Based On: The novel Cujo, published in 1981.

Everyone knows Cujo, even if they've never seen it. Dee Wallace and son find themselves trapped in a car thanks to a big, scary St. Bernard. There are some tense moments here, and Wallace acts the hell out of the scenes where she's facing off against the rabid canine. But much of the film is a slog. Not so fun fact: Cujo is a novel King barely remembers writing thanks to his struggles with alcoholism.

How faithful to the source material is it? Aside from the rabid dog premise, the film is very different from the novel, which deals a lot with infidelity.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No one has ever proven it's not King wearing the dog suit in some of the film's scenes, so let's just pretend it was.

27. CARRIE (2013)

Based On: The novel Carrie, published in 1974.

Kimberly Peirce's 2013 adaptation of King's novel is mostly forgotten, but it's worth revisiting because it's a surprisingly sturdy film. Chloë Grace Moretz is good as the troubled Carrie, but it's Julianne Moore who steals the show as her crazy mother. Rumors abound that Pierce's original cut was much better before the studio interfered, but the end result is enjoyable as it is.

How faithful to the source material is it? Very faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nah.

26. SALEM’S LOT (2004)

Based On: The novel 'Salem's Lot, published in 1975.

Most people seem to be indifferent to this 2004 miniseries adaptation of one of King's best known novels, which is surprising because it is, for the most part, pretty good. While Tobe Hooper's adaptation is more atmospheric and iconic (more on that later), this is closer to the feel of King's book while also changing several elements. Give it a shot if you've never bothered to see it.

How faithful to the source material is it? Some of it is very faithful, but there's also a lot of new elements added.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

25. THE STAND

Based On: The novel The Stand, published in 1978.

Guess who's back? Back again. Mick Garris is back, tell a friend. Garris helms this 1994 miniseries adaptation of King's sprawling end-of-the-world novel, featuring a big cast that includes Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Ed Harris, Miguel Ferrer, Rob Lowe, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. King's novel is epic in scope and no adaptation can ever truly capture it, but Garris does the best he can here. Still, this is very much a TV movie, so don't expect anything too fancy.

How faithful to the source material is it? King wrote the script, so it's pretty darn faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes! Actually, he has more than a cameo – he plays a character named Teddy Weizak who shows up in multiple scenes.

24. NEEDFUL THINGS

Based On: The novel Needful Things, published in 1991.

What a fun, nasty movie this is. A demonic shop keeper (Max von Sydow, absolutely delightful here) comes to the town of Castle Rock and promptly turns everyone against each other. Time has forgotten this King adaptation, and edited TNT reruns probably didn't help. But it's a total hoot, and has some great performances from actors such as Ed Harris, Amanda Plummer and the late, great J. T. Walsh.

How faithful to the source material is it? It sticks close to the novel.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No, although he really should be in here somewhere.

23. SILVER BULLET

Based On: The novella Cycle of the Werewolf, published in 1983.

Oh, hell yeah. Now we're talking. Gary Busey vs. a werewolf! This glorious '80s horror flick has great werewolf effects and Busey hamming it up big time playing the embodiment of everyone's favorite drunken black sheep uncle. The tone of Silver Bullet is very tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Heck, it actually makes it better than it should be.

How faithful to the source material is it? King's story spans an entire year, whereas the film only covers a few months. It's still somewhat faithful to the novella, though.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

22. THE NIGHT FLIER

Based On: The short story "The Night Flier" published in 1988 and featured in the collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

The late Miguel Ferrer turns in a great, bitter performance playing an angry tabloid journalist on the trail of a real-life vampire in this lurid, highly entertaining King adaptation. Without Ferrer, The Night Flier wouldn't be much to look at, but the actor turns in such a great performance that the film becomes something special.

How faithful to the source material is it? The bare bones of the story are there, although the film teams the main character up with a sidekick who doesn't appear in the story.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Negative.

21. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS

Based On: The novella Low Men in Yellow Coats featured in the collection Hearts in Atlantis published in 1999.

Scott Hicks directs this rather touching adaptation of one a King novella, featuring the late Anton Yelchin as a young boy who befriends a mysterious man, played by Anthony Hopkins, who possess supernatural powers. This is a tender, quiet film that didn't make much of a splash, with Hopkins, who has often had a tendency to go over-the-top in his later career, giving a charming, subdued performance.

How faithful to the source material is it? The film completely cuts out all the references to The Dark Tower mythology that are all over the short story. That's fine.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

20. 11.22.63

Based On: The novel 11/22/63, published in 2011.

One of King's better later novels received a mostly successful Hulu miniseries adaptation in 2016. Following an English teacher (James Franco) who travels back in time to stop the assassination of JFK, 11.22.63 is engrossing and features an almost Lynchian approach to how it handles violence, blending the brutal with the surreal. James Franco is all wrong for the lead role, but the adaptation as a whole is rewarding.

How faithful to the source material is it? The series condenses a lot of King's sprawling novel, mostly for the better.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

19. 1408

Based On: The short story "1408" published in 1999 and featured in the collection Everything's Eventual.

Mikael Håfström directs this surprisingly good King adaptation, featuring John Cusack as a jaded writer/paranormal investigator who finds himself in a genuinely haunted hotel room. King's short story is concise and brief (he originally wrote it as an exercising in editing for his On Writing memoir), and the film eventually runs out of steam trying to flesh out the source material. Still, 1408 is fun, and Cusack, who tends to be on autopilot in most performances these days, turns in a committed performance.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not very.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He does not.

18. CREEPSHOW 2

Based On: Several King short stories and a script treatment he wrote for this film itself.

Though not quite as good as the original Creepshow, this sequel still packs in plenty of fun scares, particularly the segment The Raft, which turns particularly nasty and unpleasant as it unfolds. There's also a Creepshow 3, which has nothing to do with King and should be avoided at all costs!

How faithful to the source material is it? The segments from King's stories, like "The Raft," are fairly faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes, he plays a truck driver.

17. IT (1990 miniseries)

Based On: The novel It, published in 1986.

The placement of It on this list may seem low for some, but let me explain: this miniseries adaptation has not aged very well, and at times it borders on ludicrous. What makes the miniseries memorable, however, is the now-iconic performance from Tim Curry as the evil clown Pennywise. Curry is so convincing, and so creepy, that you almost forget how muddled the rest of the adaptation is. Almost.

How faithful to the source material is it? Faithful, although it does condense much of what made King's novel so special.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No, which seems weird. He could've easily played one of the townspeople.

16. SALEM’S LOT (1979 miniseries)

Based On: The novel 'Salem's Lot, published in 1975.

Tobe Hooper's spooky, atmospheric adaptation of King's novel has scenes that have entered the lexicon of horror, including the moment when vampire boy Ralphie Glick hovers outside a bedroom window, waiting to be let in. The adaptation does drag a little, but the good far outweighs the bad.

How faithful to the source material is it? The adaptation rearranges some of the book's timeline, and it turns the head vampire Barlow from a sophisticated Dracula-type into a snarling, non-speaking ghoul that resembles Nosferatu. That's not a bad thing.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

15. APT PUPIL

Based On: The novella Apt Pupil, published in 1982 in the collection Different Seasons.

King's work often deals with supernatural evil, but he explored evil of the man made variety with his novella Apt Pupil. Bryan Singer brought the story to life with this 1998 chiller that features Brad Renfro as a teen who discovers a Nazi war criminal (played to perfection by Ian McKellen) living in his neighborhood. Rather than turn the Nazi in, the boy blackmails him into recounting his atrocities. The film doesn't go nearly as deep as the story, yet still manages to convey a remarkable sense of menace.

How faithful to the source material is it? The set-up is the same, but King's story goes much further and to much darker places.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He does not.

14. THE DARK HALF

Based On: The novel The Dark Half, published in 1989.

A novelist's pseudonym comes to life in this creepy King adaptation helmed by George Romero. This is one of Romero's best non-zombie films, filled with flashes of brutal violence and an intriguing premise. The Dark Half also features Michael Rooker in a rare nice guy role! The ending sequence, in which thousands upon thousands of sparrows reduce a man to a skeleton, is a show-stopper.

How faithful to the source material is it? The Dark Half adheres close to King's novel.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

13. THE GREEN MILE

Based On: The serial novel The Green Mile, published in 1996.

Frank Darabont turns King's serial novel into a Capra-esque drama about death row guards who come to believe one of the convicts in their charge is both innocent and capable of magical abilities. The film's lengthy 189 minute running time might turn some off, but this is an overall powerful journey.

How faithful to the source material is it? Very.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

12. THE MIST

Based On: The novella The Mist published in 1980 and featured in the collection Skeleton Crew.

Hey look, another Frank Darabont film! Darabont helms this glorious monster movie which strands several people in a supermarket as a mysterious monster-laden mist rolls across the town, and maybe the world. Of course, the real monsters are human beings and their fanatical nature. Darabont shot The Mist fast and cheap, but it feels much bigger. The film's very last scene almost ruins all the good that came before it – almost. Beyond that, though, this is one hell of a modern monster movie.

How faithful to the source material is it? Pretty faithful, except for that ending.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nah.

11. CHRISTINE

Based On: The novel Christine, published in 1983.

Director John Carpenter turns King's killer car novel into this slick, moody thriller. Carpenter's direction is so precise that he's able to make the car at the center of the film seem like an actual living, breathing thing, and the score he composed with Alan Howarth really gets your motor going.

How faithful to the source material is it? King's novel is much more in-depth, but Carpenter's film is better. Sorry, Mr. King.  

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

10. CREEPSHOW

Based On: Several King short stories adapted into the film by King himself.

George Romero and Stephen King teamed up for this day-glo horror show, a gleeful throwback to EC horror comics. It's creepy, it's gross, it's so much fun. From Ed Harris dancing up a storm to Hal Holbrook dealing with a giant furry monster, Creepshow has it all, and it only gets better with age.

How faithful to the source material is it? This film is Stephen King.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Not just a cameo, but a full-blown supporting role, playing doomed hick Jordy Verrill. It's not a nuanced performance, but King does get to utter the line "Meteor shit!"

9. PET SEMATARY

Based On: The novel Pet Sematary, published in 1983.

Pet Sematary has the distinction of being a book that scared King himself – he chucked it in the waste basket after he thought it went too far. Eventually he salvaged the book, resulting in this film adaptation from Mary Lambert. This is a downright spooky film, brimming with death and doom and featuring an award worthy performance courtesy of Fred Gwynne. Pet Sematary also features one of the scariest King creations ever brought to life – the terrifying Zelda, who still has the power to give everyone the creeps.

How faithful to the source material is it? King wrote the script himself, but the book is much more sprawling in scope.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Yes, he makes a brief appearance as a minister.

8. IT (2017)

Based On: The novel It, published in 1986.

Here's a pleasant surprise: the latest Stephen King adaptation is also one of the best. Andy Muschietti's adaptation of King's horror epic is like a carnival funhouse: loud, funny and scary. It also manages to capture the book's emotional core, devoting plenty of time to developing the young members of the Losers' Club as they confront Pennywise the Clown. What makes It so great isn't the scary moments, but rather the scenes that let the kids just be kids, hanging out on summer afternoons, talking shit and growing closer in the process. What a treat it is to have a new Stephen King film that's also pretty damn great.

How faithful to the source material is it? The new It changes a lot yet also remains very faithful to the spirit of the book.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No. Perhaps the time of Stephen King cameos has ended.

7. THE DEAD ZONE

Based On: The novel The Dead Zone, published in 1979.

The Dead Zone is not your typical David Cronenberg film – there's none of the chilly body horror he usually creates. Yet this is one of Cronenberg's best, featuring Christopher Walken as a man who wakes up from a coma with psychic abilities. Much like The Running Man, The Dead Zone gave us a glimpse of the hell that would be 2017 in the form of an unhinged political candidate, played here by Martin Sheen. Walken is the real draw here though, giving one of his best performances as the troubled psychic.

How faithful to the source material is it? Pretty faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? He doesn't.

6. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

Based On: The novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, published in 1982 in the collection Different Seasons.

What do you know, here's another Frank Darabont/Stephen King team-up. Look, TNT reruns and dads everywhere have kind of tarnished The Shawshank Redemption a bit, but if you remove years of oversaturation, you can't deny that this is one of the very best King adaptations. An emotional drama with one stellar performance courtesy of Morgan Freeman, incredible cinematography from Roger Deakins and one gorgeous score composed by Thomas Newman. You can be sick of this movie, but don't pretend it's not good.

How faithful to the source material is it? This is a fairly faithful adaptation, but I'd say it's actually better than the story it sprang from.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

5. CARRIE (1976)

Based On: The novel Carrie, published in 1974.

Brian De Palma takes King's debut novel and turns it into a stylish, scary film. Sissy Spacek is incredible as the troubled main character, dealing with cruel classmates and her own telekinetic powers. De Palma directs the hell out of this thing, employing split-screens and split diopter shots galore, creating a scary, funny and ultimately tragic horror melodrama. Also featuring one of the best jump scares of all time at the very end.

How faithful to the source material is it? Pretty faithful, although it leaves out a lot of elements, including a moment when rocks rain down on Carrie's house as a child.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? Nope.

4. STAND BY ME

Based On: The novella The Body, published in 1982 in the collection Different Seasons.

Rob Reiner turns King's novella The Body into this emotional coming-of-age tale about four friends who set off to find a dead body. King's story is good, but Reiner's film is truly wonderful, filled with great, natural performances from the four young leads – Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell.

How faithful to the source material is it? King's story has an even more downbeat ending than the film.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

3. MISERY

Based On: The novel Misery, published in 1987.

Look, I didn't plan to have two back-to-back Rob Reiner Stephen King adaptations on here, but that's how it worked out. King's take on toxic fandom is given robust life courtesy of director Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman in Misery. Of course, the real draw here is Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the fan from hell – a psychotic nurse who keeps her favorite romance novelist (James Caan) hostage. This is a tightly plotted, highly entertaining film filled with jaw-dropping moments – people are still talking about the infamous ankle-breaking scene all these years later.

How faithful to the source material is it? As violent and nasty as this film can be, King's book is actually a little nastier.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

2. DOLORES CLAIBORNE

Based On: The novel Dolores Claiborne, published in 1992.

Achingly sad, poetically performed, Dolores Claiborne is a stone-cold masterpiece; a film of loss and longing that somehow has slipped into obscurity and should be rescued post-haste. If you thought Kathy Bates' performance in Misery was something, wait till you see her spellbinding work here, playing a weary woman who may or may not have committed two murders spaced over 30 years. Bates is joined by a dynamite cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Strathairn, Judy Parfitt, Christopher Plummer and a baby-faced John C. Reilly. This is a haunted, haunting film that should be celebrated far more often than it is.

How faithful to the source material is it? Very faithful.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.

1. THE SHINING

Based On: The novel The Shining, published in 1977.

You probably could've guessed this would end up as number one. Obvious though this pick may be, it's hard to deny that Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a masterpiece of modern horror, a hypnotic film that people have been deconstructing and studying for as long as it has existed. Yes, the film plays fast and loose with King's source novel. Yes, Jack Nicholson seems kind of crazy even before he takes the job as the caretaker of the haunted hotel. Yes, the themes the novel explored are virtually ignored here. It doesn't matter. This is still an incredible adaptation, one that takes the framework King created and builds a stunning, unexpected structure on top of it. King may hate this adaptation, but that's okay. The rest of us can revel in its fearful symmetry.

How faithful to the source material is it? Not very faithful at all. But that's okay.

Does Stephen King Have a cameo? No.