A STEPHEN KING HALLOWEEN FOR 2015
(Posted: 7 October 2015)

We're uneducated, lazy bastards here at Film Bizarro. Every moment that we are alive, the world's population remains a little bit stupider. I (Ronny) grew up as a huge Stephen King fan, but truth be told I have not read a whole lot of his work (or books in general). My horror movie fascination started with a Stephen King adaption ("Silver Bullet"), and that was just the beginning of my appreciation for movie adaptions of his work. Though there aren't that many genre-defining classics compared to the amount of bad or decent movies, I still enjoy the majority of the adaptions. So here we are, closing in on Halloween 2015, with a list that covers some of mine and Preston's favorite Stephen King adaptions.

We wanted to make the list interesting, but at the same time there were some titles that had to be included, so we hope that you will enjoy the mix of choices. You have most likely seen them all, but Halloween night is a perfect time to revisit good movies!

The list is in order from the least appropriate, to the most appropriate for Halloween night, out of our picks.


THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Director: David Cronenberg

It was a tough call with “The Dead Zone” because there is no actual ‘horror’ within the movie. Yet, when compiling a list of movies based on the work of Stephen King, “The Dead Zone” seemed like an obvious choice. For one, it highlights King’s writing in both the way he masterfully handles characters and supernatural concepts without going too far (credit goes to Jeffrey Boam as well). Plus the movie features then up-and-comer David Cronenberg as the director, and Christopher Walken as the lead actor. So while “The Dead Zone” may not be the most horror-y movie to watch this season, it’s still a great little supernatural-character piece with a enjoyable amount of tension in its story. 

CUJO (1983)
Director: Lewis Teague

This is the movie that proved that pets can go from cuddly to deadly. The majority of animal horrors of '70s and '80s were rubbish - or at least not scary in the least. Especially when it comes to pets! "Cujo" is the horrific story of a mother and son who get trapped in a car while a rabid St. Bernard is trying to get to them. It's a sweaty, stressful experience to sit through and it's probably the only animal horror I would put up against "Jaws". Except this one seems more likely to happen to me! Despite having included this in another Halloween list a previous year, there is no way to ignore this movie when talking about Stephen King movies specifially.
CARRIE (1976)
Director: Brian De Palma

Of course Stephen King's first book and one of the first Stephen King film adaptions deserves to be on this list! Everyone knows about the pig blood scene, but "Carrie" is so much more than that scene. It's a devastating story of a special young girl who is struggling both in school and at home, and when she finally gets a chance to be happy it all goes wrong and she stands in front of the laughing faces of her class mates. It's a heartwrenching drama that shows that horror truly goes hand-in-hand with real life issues. It's a story that is so perfectly told that its 2013 remake barely changed the dialogue.
THE NIGHT FLIER (1997)
Director: Mark Pavia

“The Night Flier” seems like a movie that was destined to be unloved and forgotten about due to it being released at the tail end of the ‘90s and having its plot revolve around a vampire (of sorts). It’s a movie that has more going for it than it receives credit for because it found a unique approach to its material. It’s a road trip movie about a protagonist chasing ghosts, but instead of using cars, it uses planes. And like many King adaptations, the focus is on the story and characters — which is what the tension is built off of as apposed to traditional horror elements. That is until the nightmare-induced ending, which is not only highly memorable, but makes “The Night Flier” a worthwhile movie to turn on during those dark and stormy October nights.
GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1990)
Director: Ralph S. Singleton

Whether in book form or movie form, Stephen King’s work usually revolves around metaphors and symbolism regarding the characters or creatures — there’s a distinct human element to his horror elements. “Graveyard Shift” is a movie that abandons the layered storytelling for a full blown creature-feature, and damn is it fun. “Graveyard Shift” is a movie that has lost some of its scares over the years but it’s still as fun as ever about a monster on the loose at a mill. With a unique location, a gloomy setting, a practical-effects creature, and Brad Dourif hamming it up as a redneck exterminator, “Graveyard Shift” is an excellent movie that reminds you how fun creature-features are.
PET SEMATARY (1989)
Director: Mary Lambert

There are many iconic things in "Pet Sematary" that imprints itself on the viewer. First of all, it has a little child dying a horrible death. But moreso, it has gruesome effects and ghostlike zombies that haunt characters and its audience alike. One of them is a zombie child with a razor, and another is a cat! And... it has fucking Zelda. "Pet Sematary" has a sinister atmosphere from the beginning and it doesn't let you go until the end. There's sadness, misery, gruesome deaths, scary graveyards, zombie animals and children, fog-ridden settings to go around, and none of it comes off as silly. Quite the opposite - it's one of the scariest Stephen King adaptions out there.
THE SHINING (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick

What’s there to say about “The Shining” that hasn’t already been said? And perhaps it is an odd choice to have on this list, if only, because it is the one adaptation of King’s work that King himself hates. Although he does have a point, you’re fully aware that Jack Nicholson is the ‘villain’ in the movie as soon as you see him, but “The Shining” is still an incredibly atmospheric movie. It has terrified many young viewers but remains effective as you get older. Even though it may not make you sleep with the lights on as an adult, it’s just as creepy now as it was in 1980 with a deeply unsettling atmosphere and imagery. “The Shining” is one of those classic King adaptations that’s perfect for the Halloween season.
SILVER BULLET (1985)
Director: Daniel Attias

While "An American Werewolf in London" is amazing for many aspects, I always felt like the opening scene on the moors was the most effective in the entire movie. "Silver Bullet" is one of few werewolf movies to carry a similar atmosphere to those minutes on the moors, through the entire movie. It takes place in a small town with many wooden areas, its werewolf stalks in the fog of the night, the deaths are gnarly, and the only one who knows about it is a little kid in a wheelchair. Sure, the "whodunit" aspect is easy to predict and it has a few hokey moments, but as a werewolf movie this ticks all the boxes. And guess what? The last night of the movie takes place on Halloween!
CREEPSHOW (1982)
Director: George A. Romero

Has there been a more successful anthology film than “Creepshow”? With the directing of George Romero and the writing of Stephen King — not to mention an all-star cast — a perfect storm of horror, laughs, cheese, and gore was created. Because of so many talents coming together, “Creepshow” is a movie that remains effective and entertaining decades later. Whether you caught it at theaters or saw it on home video, generations of horror fans have that one segment that has stuck with them from the first time they watched “Creepshow”.
SALEM'S LOT (1979)
Director: Tobe Hooper

Have you ever had a chat with horror fans about what movies used to scare them shitless growing up? Odds are that the window scene in "Salem's Lot" is one of them (you know which one I am talking about!). Upon a rewatch, that scene was not really that scary. However, the entire movie is as creepy as vampire movies can get. It battles the likes of "Nosferatu" and "Dracula" for the title of the best vampire movie ever made. Of all Stephen King adaptions, this is a sure winner for the most appropriate movie to watch on Halloween night (though because it's actually a miniseries, it might take up a large portion of the night).

 

We know, we know, we missed some of your favorites, and all of you think that "The Shining" is the most appropriate movie for any occasion. But we hope you enjoyed this list anyway and that you decide to bring some friends together and watch a Stephen King adaption on Halloween!





 

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TOP 10 OF LAST YEAR:
1. Fires on the Plain
2. What We Do in the Shadows
3. We Are Still Here
4. Spring
5. Makeup Room
6. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
7. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
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Taken from Best of 2015



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