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Flashback Five – Your Favorite Stephen King Movies

Stephen King has made a lucrative living scaring the daylights out of people. He’s also transcended the horror genre by producing some impressive dramas as well (The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me). While a few of his onscreen adaptations are, um, less than stellar (Maximum Overdrive comes to mind), the high points definitely outnumber the lows. So which Stephen King movies have struck a chord with fans? According to your votes in an online poll, it was these.

1. The Shining (1980)
The perfect combination of all things King: supernatural terror, psychological degradation, and maniacal murder. The Overlook Hotel may not be the place you’ll want to spend your next vacation — unless your ideal vacation is being chased by a loved one with an ax. That said, you’ve checked The Shining into the penthouse suite at No. 1.

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
King took a break from terror to expose the horrors of life behind bars. Evil wardens aside, people don’t love this movie simply because it’s scary. They love it because it’s a moving portrait of two friends (Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman) whose spirits can’t be crushed. One of the best prison movies ever, Shawshank may be the runner-up as best King flick, but it’s by far his best drama.

3. The Green Mile (1999)
Another period prison movie? Okay. But in this one, death-row inmate Michael Clarke Duncan possesses magical gifts, which allows King to add that dash of supernatural spice he loves. A gruesome electric-chair scene may make viewers wince, but they’re more likely to clutch their hankies than cover their eyes. For being a rarity — a feel-good prison movie — Mile gets the bronze.

4. Misery (1990)
Kathy Bates is a superfan gone berserk, adding dark comic undertones that helped her win the Best Actress Oscar. Meanwhile, James Caan gives one of his subtlest performances, as a novelist who’s been made the personal pet of this demented rube. Being the No. 1 fans you are, you couldn’t deny this a spot in the top five.

5. Carrie (1976)
This seventies shocker proved that telekinesis could be bloody good fun when it comes to getting revenge — and earned Sissy Spacek an Oscar nod. Whether for inventive split-screen visuals (courtesy of director Brian De Palma) or for granting viewers vicarious payback for their bad teenage years, this classic horror flick belongs among King’s best.

Honorable Mentions

6. Stand by Me (1986): King turns his talent for unearthing childhood horrors into a poignant coming-of-age tale starring an impressive young cast.

7. Pet Sematary (1989): At least in part this movie is about the agonies of parenthood and how they get doubled when you decide to resurrect your toddler in an Indian burial ground.

8. Christine (1983): Many people have an obsession with cars, but King tells the frightful tale of a restored Plymouth’s obsession with (and possession of) its owner.

9. The Stand (1994): At over 1,000 pages, this fan-favorite novel didn’t look like it could ever be translated to the screen. But this six-hour mini-series vaporized the doubts.

10. Salem’s Lot (1979): King’s vampire tale provides sharply drawn characters and a sinister small-town atmosphere that push it above Dracula wannabes.


See your pick for best King flick, The Shining, during AMC’s Can’t Get Enough Stephen King, on Sat., Oct. 15, at 10PM | 9C.

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