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Top Ten Yet Unadapted Stephen King Stories

Author Stephen King

Stephen King has had more film adaptations of his work than any living author. But he’s also written a lot. So as much as there’s been on the screen, there’s still quite a bit that has never been touched. This man has had dozens of feature films based on his novels and short stories alike, not to mention all the miniseries productions that have happened over the years. The fact that, after so many movies, there’s anything to mine whatsoever, is incredible and a sign of how truly prolific the author really is. But in actuality, there are some great stories that have yet to be taken to the big screen. On a bit of a side note, a couple of these stories have been turned into short films, but never with a wide release and never as a feature film.


Written for the anthology “Book of the Dead” is a good, old-fashioned Romero zombie story that basically shows what’s going on over on the coast of Maine during something like Dawn of the Dead. With the backdrop of a classic zombie scenario, but with Stephen King situations and characters, it’s pretty crazy to think that this one has never been adapted for film. As far as I know it’s never even been discussed. This centers on a woman’s pregnancy in a small house on an island off the coast of Maine, while she struggles with the idea of bringing a baby into a world that’s gone to hell.


The Regulators would be cool to see, but they’ve sort of already missed their opportunity with it. The fun thing about the book was that it was sort of King’s attempt at a theater group, in novel form. All the characters in Desperation were also present in The Regulators, but they were all different people. Characters who were evil in one book might be really nice in the other. They were meant to parallel and compliment each other. So doing the Regulators on film would be cool for the purpose of its story, but the time to do it was when they made Desperation. They really need to be shot back-to-back in order to get the same effect.


It’s a pretty straightforward scary story, sort of a classic campfire tale, but it got some King actual recognition from the literary community. He actually won the O. Henry award for this story. It’s about a young boy who basically encounters a figure who may or may not be the Devil out in the woods when he is out fishing. It’s sort of about the nature of evil and the nature of death, but it’s also one of the scariest things that King ever wrote, so that alone makes it great material for adaptation.

7. RAGE-

Here’s another one that will never happen. King is not particularly ashamed of this book, but it is out of print and he has said many times that it will never return to print. Not that it’s particularly hard to find a copy of. But this story, the first novel King ever wrote and the first one published under his pseudonym Richard Bachman, is about a teenage boy driven over the edge who goes on a shooting rampage at his school. It was taken off the shelves because a few shooters were actually found with the book in their locker. A film will just never be a possibility, despite the fact that it would be particularly relevant now.


“The Boogeyman” was a story in Night Shift and was actually adapted as a short film (very well, I might add) as part of the “Night Shift Collection.” But there’s room in the story for a feature film, there’s enough time and enough material to be stretched into a full feature that does this legendary creature justice. The story is about a man named Lester Billings whose children are being picked off by a monster coming from inside of their closet. I would definitely say that this is the scariest thing of King’s that I’ve ever read. It had an impact on many readers and could do for closets what Jaws did for water.


This was another story from Night Shift, it was also adapted as a short film starring Phantasm’s Reggie Bannister, which did a good job for its virtually non-existent budget. But this is a story that I still can’t believe hasn’t received the feature film treatment. A man from out of state gets lost driving in the dead of winter and stops off in the abandoned town of ‘Salem’s Lot where his wife and child disappear and he recruits a few people for the nearest bar to help track them down in the blizzard. That’s right, it’s a sequel to Salem’s Lot set in a massive blizzard with an isolated group of people defending themselves against vampires. This one sells itself.


This one has at least been officially announced for a movie, so it may very well be on its way. It’s one of King’s best least-known books. It’s about a woman and her husband at his isolated cabin for the weekend. During a sex game that goes wrong, when he gets a little too forceful, she throws him off and he snaps his neck when he hits the floor. Now the poor woman is left handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere with no way out and no one coming to rescue her. It’s a tense read and it would be interesting to see how they adapt it to film when the bulk of the story is a woman alone in a room. There are a few possible ways, visually, that the story could go and it will be interesting to see how this one develops.


This one, you would think, would be just around the corner. Instead, there will be a prequel to The Shining sticking closer to the events of the film while the sequel Stephen King just wrote will go without a trip to the big screen for the foreseeable future. This is a very different story from The Shining, but that’s it’s strength. It’s an adult Dan Torrance dealing with his own demons, facing of a wandering tribe of vampires who feed on the psychic ability of people who “shine.”


One of King’s darkest, bleakest and best novels, The Long Walk is intense. And in the age of the success of things like Hunger Games and Maze Runner it would be a great and harsh answer to that sort of movie. It’s about a walk across the state of Maine (of course) that is the most televised national pastime. If you stop walking, you get shot. Period. So people can die just from the walking itself, and a few of them do. The winner gets anything they want, but they’re also the only person who survives. It’s one of his darkest, most intense novels and it perfectly ripe for an adaptation to film.


There’s no other option, really. The Dark Tower is an amazing, expansive horror-fantasy saga. It ties together just about everything that King ever wrote. It is set in a world between worlds, a sort of mixture of Fistful of Dollars and J.R.R. Tolkien. It has just about everything. A gunslinger, the last of his order, is trying to make his way to the Dark Tower, the center of all existence, before an entity called the Crimson King can destroy the tower and wipe out all life across every possible reality. The gunslinger, Roland, picks up a few people to aid him on his quest and meets many recognizable King faces along the journey. Including the author himself. Many attempts have been made to try and bring the saga to the screen, but none of them have paid off and it’s starting to look very unlikely that anything will.

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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