Stephen King has written 64 books and many novellas and short stories, and while many have been adapted for film and TV, fans of his work know that only a few adaptations are worth your while. While King’s characters, storylines and horror/science fiction elements are brilliantly plotted, fans are often disappointed in the movies and TV shows that follow.
When fans think of well-made horror movies based on books, fans immediately think of King because he has such a profile. But there are some movies worth watching that have done a great job with their scary source material.
The 1975 movie The Stepford women was based on the book by Ira Levin, which was published in 1972. When Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) moves to Connecticut with her family, she realizes the housewives look like clones and discovers there’s a science fiction element to life here. While the 2004 remake starring Nicole Kidman is one of the worst horror movie remakes, the original is a fascinating look at being a wife and mother and the pressures that society puts on women.
The Stepword Women is a great example of sci-fi the right way and also carries a smart political and civic message.
Paula Prentiss, who played Joanna’s close friend Bobbie Markowe, shared: Weekly entertainment“It’s the first of the women’s lib-esque movies. It doesn’t bang you on the head. It does it through horror and comedy, and that’s a good genre.”
The Japanese movie Ring, which was released in 1998 is an adaptation of the book by Koji Suzuki, which was published in 1991. the US version, The ringwhich was released in 2002, follows the same story, one that horror fans know and love.
In The ring, Masami Kurahashi (Hitomi Sato) and Tomoko Ōishi (Yuko Takeuchi) are best friends talking about the videotape that is cursed. Tomoko is the first to die, as is Amber Tamblyn’s character Katie in the American adaptation. Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), Tomoko’s aunt, is a reporter who begins to investigate the band. The ring is a timeless horror film from the 2000s and the original version is incredibly well done. Both movies have a terrifying figure who comes out of the TV and kills people. While she is called Samara in the American version, she is called Sadako Yamamura in The ring.
Rudder of echoes suffered from bad timing as it was released shortly after The Sixth Sense and the movies have similar ghost stories. The movie was based on the book A rudder of echoes by Richard Matheson, which was published several years earlier in 1958.
Kevin Bacon’s main character, Tom Witzky, is a recognizable protagonist, just trying to live his life the best he can, working hard and taking care of his wife and son. But when he has visions, he begins to investigate the disappearance of a girl from his neighborhood and begins to think he has psychic powers. The film feels literary because it is powerful, meaningful and full of well-drawn characters that feel real.
candy man is based on the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker and according to Damn disgusting, the film kept its story and characters. The publication mentions that the Candyman appears on page 31, and since the entire story spans 37 pages, the focus is on Helen, a college student who learns about the Candyman myth and legend.
candy man is a “woke horror” film that treats the man at the center of the legend in a respectful and sympathetic manner. Daniel Robitaille was a slave who was murdered for falling in love with a white woman. It’s a horrifying story, and as Virginia Madsen’s character Helen Lyle learns more, she becomes part of something she never expected. candy man has a sequel that was released in 2021, starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Anthony McCoy.
The 2010 horror movie Let me in is based on the Swedish film from 2008 Let the right one inwhich is adapted from the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Let me in is a great remake and vampire movie, in which Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who befriends Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), soon discovers that she is actually a vampire. The book was published in 2004, a few years before each film adaptation.
Both films do a great job with the source material, telling the story of a young child who struggles with feelings of pain and loneliness and wonders if they will ever fit in. Both films are dark and bleak, but there is some hope, as Owen is glad he’s been in touch with someone, even though they’re undead.
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