Horror connoisseur Brett Buckner will be watching a Stephen King movie every night in October. Here’s his playlist (with a few to spare). Read his daily reviews at BrettBucknerTheDirt.wordpress.com
You Can’t Kill Stephen King: While King is all too mortal (as evident by that minivan that nearly killed him in 1999), this gloriously bad B-movie uses the famed horror author (who doesn’t appear in the film and probably doesn’t know it exists) as a plot device … much like King himself did with the Dark Tower series, with the end result being just as disappointing.
Thinner: Somewhere there’s an infomercial promising a Gypsy weight loss curse with the same results.
Christine: It’s the movie for any girl who’s claimed her boyfriend loved a car more than her.
Creepshow 2: Based on three of King’s short stories, including the ludicrously creepy “The Raft” from “Skeleton Crew,” this anthology, like its predecessor, is more silly than scary and that’s not a bad thing.
Pet Sematary: Based on the novel King once famously believed was too scary to publish, the movie version doesn’t suffer from the same concern. It might however, be the next of the master’s novels to get the reboot it deserves.
Tommyknockers: A much-maligned mini-series based on one of King’s most maligned novels, this is the story of a UFO that should have stayed buried for so many reasons.
Misery: Who’d have imagined that a King-penned novel would help garner an Academy Award, but that’s exactly what happened for Kathy Bates, who masterfully portrayed deranged fan Annie Wilkes in what’s arguably King’s best film adaptation.
Sleepwalkers: King wrote the screenplay for this movie about a mother and son who are lovers and kinda vampires that have a phobia about cats … Yep.
The Running Man: Originally published in 1982 under King’s pseudonym, Richard Bachman, the film adaptation is a skeleton of the far grittier source that, along with another of King’s so-called Bachman books – “The Long Walk” – would serve as inspiration for “The Hunger Games” and other dystopian novels/movies.
Dark Half: Born out of King’s own experience with a pseudonym (Richard Bachman). Fortunately, Bachman never came to life and started killing people.
Apt Pupil: From the chilling novella in “Different Seasons,” a young boy discovers his neighbor is a Nazi war criminal, and together they inspire darkness in each other.
The Stand (miniseries): Based on King’s magnum opus about the war between good and evil after 99 percent of the world’s population dies from a super flu.
The Shining (miniseries): It’s no secret King wasn’t a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s vision of his novel. He’s got a point. The classic horror film with Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” and Shelley Duvall’s excruciatingly whiney Wendy Torrance was just a shell of King’s novel. So King gave the green light for this shot-for-shot TV version.
Secret Window: Based on the novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” from “Four Past Midnight,” this is the story of what happens when an author is accused of plagiarizing a lunatic who isn’t very forgiving.
Storm of the Century: There’s a blizzard and a mysterious stranger — what more do you need to know? Save for the fact that King wrote the original screenplay.
Riding the Bullet: Based on the novella of the same name from “Everything’s Eventual,” this adaptation proves why it’s best to never take rides from strangers.
Big Driver: This short story from “Full Dark, No Stars” stars the ever-tough Maria Bello as a famous author who seeks revenge after a sexual assault. Oh … it’s got Joan Jett, too.
1922: Based on the novella from “Full Dark, No Stars,” this proves how far a man will go to keep what he believes is his.
Gerald’s Game: My favorite King novel not titled “It” is dark and disturbing on numerous levels and has all the makings of a classic adaptation.
Children of the Corn: Based on the short story from “Night Shift,” this is easily the best of bad King adaptations.
Dreamcatcher: King originally wanted to call this disappointing novel “Cancer,” but his wife thought it was in poor taste. Too bad she didn’t get the same veto power for the movie.
Mercy: Based on “Gramma” — one of King’s most terrifying short stories – this takes all the joy out of visiting the grandparents.
Sometimes They Come Back: Based on a short story from “Night Shift,” this made-for-TV movie was originally planned around “Cat’s Eye,” before it became a stand-alone feature that spawned a pair of sequels (“Sometimes They Come Back ... Again” and “Sometimes They Come Back ... for More”). Hopefully, more effort went into the plots of these movies than into their titles.
Cujo: King did for dogs what he did for clowns in this horror classic — which he claims to not even remember writing thanks to booze and drugs he was abusing at the time. But the movie makes one major change from the novel, diluting its emotional impact
Carrie (remake): Having seen the Sissy Spacek classic roughly 83 times, I’m curious what could possibly merit a remake starring the beautiful Chloë Grace Moretz as a sheltered, bullied Carrie White … but sure, why not?
Cat’s Eye: Drew Barrymore continues her run of roles in King adaptations following “Firestarter,” in this trilogy of horror tales based on King short stories.
Maximum Overdrive: This was King’s first and only time directing his own adaptation. Based on the short story “Trucks” from “Night Shift,” this was King during his cocaine phase, which might explain why one of the terrorizing 18-wheelers is the Green Goblin from Spider-Man.
Silver Bullet: Based on King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf,” “Silver Bullet” stars Gary Busey and Corey Haim. How could it not be awesome?
Needful Things: Proving the mantra about practical jokes that it’s all fun and games until someone gets hacked to death with a meat cleaver (or something like that).
The Mangler: Considered one of the worst of the King adaptations (out of so many to choose from), this is based on King’s short story of the same name and epitomizes the author’s penchant for finding the evil in everyday things like cars, dogs, trucks and, in this case, a laundry press at a dry cleaner.
Dolan’s Cadillac: Based on the short story from “Nightmares & Dreamscapes,” about the lengths a man will go to for revenge for his murdered wife.
A Good Marriage: This movie based on the King novella from “Full Dark, No Stars” will leave you wondering just how well you really know your spouse.
Desperation: In a desolate Nevada mining town, a deranged cop guarantees the place will never become a tourist trap … just a trap.
Dolores Claiborne: Kathy Bates once again serves as King’s muse, this time as a tough-as-nails maid who is unrepentant for the murder she committed, while declaring her innocence of the one she’s accused of committing.