worst stephen king movies

by Joe

Adaptations, original screenplays, 'title-only' credits... everything's fair game here. Vile takes a look at the worst piles of movie garbage Stephen King has ever been involved in, because it's fun to hate on people who are much, much better than you.


The stand

tv miniseries

The massive scope of The Stand could not possibly be contained in a six hour, made-for-TV mini-series, but that’s exactly what ABC tried to do back in 1994; and you’d be hard-pressed to find any Stephen King fan that enjoyed this mockery of a classic. While Gary Sinise did his best to salvage any hopes the adaptation had of being a success, he was simply overwhelmed by the questionable casting and performances that surrounded him. Jamey Sheridan as King’s most ominous antagonist of all time, Randall Flagg? This has to be a joke!


By all accounts, Cujo is not a horrible film at all, but for fans of the King novel it was quite a let down. King’s 1981 masterpiece packs an intense, breath-taking, gut punch of an ending, and that feeling the reader gets of being a helpless witness to unspeakable horror is completely diffused as the ending is completely altered to be more viewer friendly. Sometimes, dead is better.



The reason Sleepwalkers isn’t higher on the list is because there’s a certain level of campy value in the film. King’s screenplay and plot might have been downright laughable, and I have no idea how the hell this got the green-light, but there’s something to be said for an incestuous mother/son team of killer, telekinetic cat people who feed on the life force of young virgin girls. It’s absolutely insane!

needful things 


Not even Max Von Sydow could save this trainwreck of an adaptation. Trying to cram the moral corruption of an entire town’s population into 120 minutes is just something that can not be accomplished, so there’s very little to get invested in, and that’s a shame because the novel is intriguing and engaging. It’s an adaptation that may have benefitted from a mini-series treatment. Maybe.


tv miniseries

The Tommyknockers miniseries started off strong, and had all the great character development King is known for, but then, as they diverged from the novel, the series really fizzles out. The story is not one of King’s stronger works as it is, and the resulting adaptation is even weaker. Save 3 hours of your life, and skip this one entirely.



The 2013 remake of Carrie is, without a doubt, one of the most unnecessary remakes of all time. There is not a single thing that is improved upon in this blatant attempt to capitalize on a classic piece of filmmaking and storytelling. With tuxedo-buying montages, and viral video madness, Carrie is dumbed down to a point where any horror fan is just embarrassed for all those involved.   

silver bullet


I don’t know what they were thinking when they made this adaptation of King’s novella Cycle of the Werewolf, but the end result failed to capture the tone and feel of its source material. It almost feels like a spoof film. It has the feel of some awkward after-school special starring Corey Haim, as he struggles to make his way in the world despite being confined to a wheelchair.  


lawnmower man 

I remember first seeing the CGI-laden trailer for The Lawnmower Man and thinking it was going to be the best movie I ever saw. Millions of people were instantly captivated by the promises of virtual reality, and they crowded into theaters across the country, only to watch in horror, as Jeff Fahey walked onto the silver screen and took a big ol' dump all over their expectations. To this day, I am still in awe of how one man could so efficiently destroy a film, and turn it into an unwatchable annoyance. Bravo, Fahey.   


tv miniseries

A time traveling Balki Bartokomous going crazy on a plane is the most captivating and memorable thing about this wholly underwhelming adaptation. Wooden acting, laughable special effects, and a slew of predictable plot points await anyone who is brave enough to take on the burden of sitting through this mindless miniseries. Bring a pillow, because you’re going to need one, and you might also want to pack a barf bag for some of the more revolting line deliveries that makeup the dialogue.

tv miniseries

IT is arguably King’s best novel, and it was one of the first books that I became obsessed with. I read IT with a feverish compulsion, and then I made my friends read it so I could talk about every detail until I was blue in the face.  Ultimately, my love for the novel was what made the adaptation so incredibly disappointing. Couldn’t they see how wrong this was?! How could they let this travesty happen!? Tim Curry as Pennywise was an inspired choice, but every other casting decision and subsequent performance was abysmal. All the memorable scenes that had been burned into my imagination as a constant reader, were betrayed by a cast of actors going through the motions and filmmakers with no innovation. I have high hopes for a remake down the road, and I’ll always cherish the book, but IT has definitely earned the number one spot for the worst Stephen King movie of all time.