It’s officially October, which means spooky movie season is finally upon us. No October would be complete, either, without the release of a new adaptation of Stephen King. Fortunately, the Netflix adaptation of Mr Harrigan’s Phonewhich is based on King’s novel of the same name, is scheduled to fill that annual spot this year.
As all horror fans will know, hardly any author’s work has been adapted into as many movies and TV shows over the years as Stephen King’s. However, while a large number of the King adaptations that Hollywood has released have received widespread acclaim and attention, many of them have also been forgotten or lost to time.
With that in mind, here are five underrated Stephen King movies worth seeking out this Halloween season.
It may not be the best movie David Cronenberg has ever made, nor is it the best Stephen King adaptation Hollywood has produced, but The Dead Zone it’s much better than its lackluster reputation would have you believe. Anchored by a deeply engaged and surprisingly vulnerable lead performance from Christopher Walken, this underrated 1983 gem is a quietly unnerving and deeply engaging psychological thriller. Its third act is particularly memorable, thanks to Martin Sheen’s performance as a slimy politician who catches the eye of Walken’s part-time vigilante.
Based on King’s 1991 novel of the same name. Needful Things It’s an imperfect but funny horror movie. It features a number of hallmarks of King’s work, including his fascination with small-town America and the ways evil’s corrupting influence can spread, as well as two flawless performances by Ed Harris as a well-meaning sheriff and Max von Sydow. as an antique store owner whose interests are far more sinister than they initially appear.
In other words, even though Needful Things certainly not one of Hollywood’s best Stephen King adaptations, it still deserves another moment in the spotlight.
Apt Pupil is one of the weirdest and most underrated Stephen King adaptations Hollywood has ever done. Based on one of the author’s novels, this 1998 thriller explores the toxic relationship that grows between a teenager and a former Nazi war commander who secretly lives in his neighborhood. Ian McKellen gives a truly terrifying performance as the film’s central war criminal, and the ways in which Apt Pupil ultimately explores the corrosive touch of evil are often chilling and unsettling.
The movie is by no means a standard or direct Stephen King adaptation, but that’s also part of the reason it works as well as it does.
This 1995 thriller may not be as well known as the other Kathy Bates’ foray into the world of Stephen King adaptations, but Dolores Claiborne it’s still an underrated and effective drama. Featuring a string of notable performances from its stars, including Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Christopher Plummer, Dolores Claiborne it may have been well received when it was originally released, but has since been disappointingly lost to time.
Fortunately, there is no better time than now to give Dolores Claiborne the attention it deserves. The film notably features a screenplay written by none other than the writer of andor Tony Gilroy.
Chances are most Netflix viewers know writer-director Mike Flanagan best for his work on limited series like The Haunting of Hill House Y MidnightMass. But before doing The Haunting of Hill HouseFlanagan partnered with Netflix for his 2017 adaptation of Gerald’s Game. The film, which was initially released without much fanfare, has since become one of the most underrated Stephen King adaptations ever made.
Although he never manages to shake many of the flaws present in his source material, Gerald’s Game It’s still an intense and inventive thriller, one that, frankly, is worth seeking out solely for Carla Gugino’s stellar performance.