19 Oct

The Best Stephen King Movies Streaming Right Now

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It’s Halloween season, and what better time to sit back and watch some Stephen King adaptations? If you’re me, any time is good for that, really. But if you’re on the hunt for some films based on the work of the master of horror specifically for spooky season, I am here to help. I’ve scoured the internet to bring back info on where you can find the best Stephen King movies streaming right now. The parameters were simple: the movie in question had to be part of a streaming service. Which means movies that are only available to rent digitally and not stream as part of a subscription or ad-based service didn’t make the cut. I also left off some titles that are streaming but aren’t, in my humble opinion, worthy of including here. It’s not every Stephen King movie streaming right now – it’s the best Stephen King movies streaming right now. Sorry, that’s how I roll. 

Carrie

Now Streaming on Shudder

The first Stephen King novel became the first Stephen King movie: “Carrie,” Brian De Palma’s stylish thriller about a lonely, bullied high school girl who has telekinetic powers. Sissy Spacek is that girl, who is stuck living with her religious zealot of a mother (Piper Laurie). She has no one to turn to: no friends who understand her, no family members who treat her with love. Her life is hell. Then one day, classmate Sue Snell (Amy Irving) takes pity on poor Carrie and talks boyfriend Tommy (William Katt) into taking the cataclysmically alone Carrie to prom. Carrie goes to prom, has a magical evening, and lives happily ever after. Oh, no, that’s incorrect. Instead, Carrie’s bullies dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her head, resulting in Carrie going nuclear and using her powers to get violent revenge on her tormenters. High school, am I right?

Children Of The Corn

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Tubi, Shudder

There are approximately ten thousand “Children of the Corn” sequels, and none of them are even close to good. However, the original movie, 1984’s “Children of the Corn,” has its moments. There’s lots of off-kilter atmosphere on display here as a small Nebraska town is overrun by children who worship a god they dub “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” This god dwells within the cornfields that surround the time, and honestly, that’s not really any weirder than the doctrine of most established religions. Feel free to watch this first one and then never, ever bother checking out the sequels. 

Christine

Now Streaming on Pluto TV

“Christine,” King’s novel about a haunted car, is not one of the writer’s better works. In fact, it’s kind of a dud, featuring an abundance of rock and roll lyrics (that King paid out of pocket to include in the book), and multiple narrators that add nothing to the overall story. But John Carpenter’s film adaptation streamlines all of that to result in a lean, nasty flick about blood and chrome. Total nerd Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon), who is kind of like the male Carrie White, buys himself a used 1958 Plymouth Fury, fixes it up, and then becomes an evil greaser or something strange like that. Even stranger: the car, named Christine, has a mind of its own and proceeds to bump off anyone in Arnie’s way. 

Creepshow 2

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Shudder

“Creepshow 2” doesn’t garner as much love as the original “Creepshow,” probably because that first film was helmed by the legendary George A. Romero, and the sequel comes from director Michael Gornick, who never directed a movie again. But “Creepshow 2” has its charms, featuring more Stephen King adaptations packaged in a neat anthology format. You get a killer wooden Indian statue, an undead hitch-hiker, and some very nasty black sludge lurking in a lake. While not nearly as stylish as the first film, “Creepshow 2” has plenty of gore to keep you satisfied. I’m particularly fond of the hitch-hiker story, where a rotting hitch-hiker ghoul keeps appearing and ruining the late-night drive of actress Lois Chiles. 

The Dark Half

Now Streaming on Max Go

“The Dark Half,” King’s novel partially based on using his own pseudonym Richard Bachman, was turned into a film in 1993 by director George A. Romero. The story follows writer Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton), who has struggled to find an audience for his own personal books while simultaneously making a killing writing under the pen name George Stark. Stark’s books are violent pulp affairs, and when Thad slips into his Stark persona, he goes into a kind of trance. That all comes to an end when Thad’s rouse is discovered by a fan and he decides to “kill off” George Stark. Unfortunately, George Stark doesn’t want to die, and the nom de plume suddenly becomes a flesh and blood person who stalks around murdering Thad’s friends. The moral of the story: don’t become a writer. 

The Dead Zone

Now Streaming on Paramount+

David Cronenberg’s adaptation of King’s “The Dead Zone” asks: what if Christopher Walken acted even weirder than usual? Walken plays schoolteacher Johnny Smith, who goes into a coma after a car accident. He wakes up five years later, and that’s shocking enough on its own. But things get even weirder when Johnny discovers he now has psychic powers. When he touches someone he can see a flash of something bad happening in their future. This new power could be beneficial, but some folks have a hard time believing Johnny is being honest with them. Things are only further complicated when Johnny shakes the hand of a Trumpian politician (Martin Sheen) and has a vision of the politician becoming president and starting a nuclear war. 

Dolores Claiborne

Now Streaming on Kanopy

A criminally underrated King adaptation, “Dolores Claiborne” features Kathy Bates as a weary domestic servant who stands accused of murdering her longtime employer. The authorities in Dolores Claiborne’s small island community are instantly suspicious, particularly because local rumor has it that Dolores murdered her husband back in the ’70s. Dolores’ estranged, troubled daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh) returns home to help with her mother’s defense and finds herself unlocking doors to the past and uncovering long-forgotten secrets behind them. Reflective and melancholy, this is an all-time-best King adaptation and I’ve always found it weird that it doesn’t receive as much love and attention as some other Stephen King movies. 

Gerald’s Game

Now Streaming on Netflix

For years, the general consensus was that Stephen King’s “Gerald’s Game” was unadaptable. And then Mike Flanagan came along and said, “Let me show you how it’s done.” Carla Gugino is Jessie Burlingame, the bored wife of Gerald (Bruce Greenwood). One weekend, the Burlingame head to a secluded cabin to rekindle some passion. Gerald’s big sexy plan: some roleplaying, complete with handcuffs. Jessie isn’t entirely into the idea, but she goes along with it, allowing herself to be cuffed to the bed. And then – whoops – Gerald has a heart attack and dies. Now Jessie is trapped, chained to a bed and unable to call for help. And there’s a hungry dog lurking around, and also a potential serial killer. King’s book is very internal, set almost entirely within Jessie’s head. But Flanagan finds the right balance here, and Gugino is more than up for the challenge. 

The Green Mile

Now Streaming on HBO Max

A kind of companion piece to “The Shawshank Redemption,” in that they’re both from the same filmmaker and both take place in prison, “The Green Mile” follows death row guard Tom Hanks as he comes to believe condemned murderer John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is both innocent and able to perform miracles. Writer-director Frank Darabont doesn’t skimp on anything here, remaining almost painfully faithful to King’s story, which was initially published in serialized form. That results in a rather long film clocking in at 189 minutes, but Darabont and his cast make every single one of those minutes matter. 

It (1990)

Now Streaming on Hulu and HBO Max

Stephen King didn’t create the idea of the creepy clown, but his mammoth monster novel “It” sure added fuel to the fire. And that fire was stoked with the 1990 “It” miniseries. The story: a group of former friends head back to their small Maine town to battle a monster who can take the shape of anything it wants (but mostly chooses to hang around as a clown named Pennywise). In the process, they have flashbacks to their childhood where they faced the monster clown for the first time. This was made-for-TV, so it’s not particularly graphic. And yet there’s a truly weird, off-kilter energy here that makes “It” stick in your brain. Plus, Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise is one for the ages. 

It (2017)

Now Streaming on HBO Max

The 2017 feature adaptation of “It” changes things up, moving the story to both the present day and the 1980s. And while some may still prefer the miniseries, the 2017 “It” is one of the better King adaptations. It changes a lot of the material while also remaining true to the book’s overall mood, and its emphasis on finding friends when you’re at your absolute lowest. Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise is much different from Tim Curry’s take on the character, and that’s good, because it allows Skarsgård to make Pennywise his own. There’s also a sequel, “It: Chapter Two,” but we’re not going to talk about that because it’s ultimately a disappointment. Just stick with the first one. 

Misery

Now Streaming on HBO Max, Max Go

The other Stephen King movie starring Kathy Bates, “Misery” is a wonderfully wicked story of fandom gone wrong. Bates, who won an Oscar for her work here, plays Annie, a nurse who happens to be the number one fan of romance author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). After a car accident in a snowstorm, Paul wakes up to find himself in Annie’s home. She tells him the roads are closed and the phones are out, but she’s perfectly capable of nursing him back to health. Of course, Annie isn’t being honest – she wants Paul all to herself and is soon demanding the author get to work on a new book, just for her. Any resistance on Paul’s part is met with painful punishment – like the now-infamous scene where Annie takes a sledgehammer to Paul’s ankles. Ouch. 

Pet Sematary (1989)

Now Streaming on Pluto TV

“Pet Sematary,” the Stephen King novel that was marketed as the rare book that scared King himself, became a film in 1989, with a script penned by the master himself. Mary Lambert helms this nasty little pic about a family who moves to rural Maine and quickly succumbs to all sorts of gothic horrors. There’s a burial ground deep in the woods behind their new house – a burial ground that has the power to raise the dead. When the family cat, Church, gets killed by a truck, the family patriarch, Louis Creed, is instructed by helpful neighbor Jud to bury the cat in that ancient burial ground. Louis does – and the cat comes back. “Has anyone ever buried a person up there?” Louis immediately asks. Jud says no – but we all know that’s not true. And so does Louis. Sure enough, dead humans are soon being buried – and coming back to life with a major chip on their shoulders. 

Pet Sematary (2019)

Now Streaming on Paramount+

A lot of people seem to be negative on the recent “Pet Sematary” adaptation/remake, but I’m a fan. Yes, the film changes things up considerably, especially in its third act. But it still maintains the hopeless dread that made the book, and the 1989 film, so damn memorable. But the story is mostly the same: family moves to Maine, family finds burial ground, family goes through some stuff. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this and other King works it’s that if you’re given the opportunity to move to rural Maine you should probably just say no. 

The Shawshank Redemption

Now Streaming on HBO Max

The years of being played non-stop of channels like TNT and TBS have hurt “The Shawshank Redemption” a bit, overexposing it and earning it a reputation as little more than a “dad movie.” This is slightly ironic since the film underperformed at the box office and didn’t really find an audience at all until it hit home video (and TV). And you know what – despite that reputation, “The Shawshank Redemption” is good, actually. Frank Darabont helms this tale of a man (Tim Robbins) wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. He adapts to prison life over the years with the help of a friend, another inmate named Red (Morgan Freeman). And all Robbins’ character needs to get by is a rock hammer and a poster of Rita Hayworth. 

The Shining

Now Streaming on HBO Max

Stephen King famously loathes Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel “The Shining.” And that’s his right! But I think it’s pretty easy to agree that while Kubrick takes a lot of liberties with King’s work, “The Shining” movie is still one of the very best Stephen King movies. Kubrick’s approach is so obsessive, so detailed, that people have spent decades dissecting nearly every frame of this thing. The story follows an alcoholic writer (Jack Nicholson) who moves his family into an empty hotel during the off-season. And oh yeah, the hotel is haunted. Someone probably should’ve mentioned that part at some point.

Stand By Me

Now Streaming on Paramount+

It seems that anytime someone adapts a non-horror Stephen King story to the screen it earns rave reviews. It happened with “The Shawshank Redemption,” and it happened with “Stand By Me,” a melancholy coming of age story about four young friends on a trip to find a dead body. Director Rob Reiner and screenwriters Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon clean up King’s short story “The Body” considerably, but much of what makes the film special is pulled directly from King’s prose. Things are bolstered by great performances from the young leads, particularly River Phoenix, a serious talent gone far too soon. 

Tales From The Darkside: The Movie

Now Streaming on Paramount+, Max Go

This is a bit of a cheat since only one segment in this anthology film is pulled from something King wrote. But damn it, I love “Tales From the Darkside: The Movie,” so it’s going in here. The King story is “The Black Cat,” about a hitman who is hired to murder a cat who may or may not be evil. Other stories include a tale about Steve Buscemi buying an ancient mummy (yes, really), and also a monster that makes a bargain with a potential victim. And if all that isn’t enough for you, just know the framing device here involves Debbie Harry playing a suburban witch who wants to eat a child. 

Read this next: Counting Down The 10 Scariest And Most Evil Children In Horror Movies

The post The Best Stephen King Movies Streaming Right Now appeared first on /Film.


Source: Slash Film

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