Pumped For ‘The Boogeyman’? We Suggest You Catch These Stephen King Classics, Too
The Boogeyman is the latest movie born from the mind of horror legend Stephen King. To celebrate the new release, we’ve collated a (very impartial) list of the best King films of all time.
This isn’t the first movie based on a Stephen King story. There are a lot of them. Approximately 349. Some of them are good. Some of them are great. Most of them are scary. But the best ones are weird and have a spooky hyper realism that gives them a nightmarish quality. This can’t be happening, but it’s happening. That kind of feeling.
I’ve used a carefully calibrated combination of science and journalism (sciencalism) to figure out exactly what the best Stephen King movies are. In doing so, I’ve made it so that no one can possibly disagree or become angry about this list.
I’m sure even Stephen King will agree with my take, actually; it’s that solid.
But if, by the end, you find yourself outraged and saying, “What about Christine, Pet Sematary, Firestarter, Cujo, Children of the Corn, The Mist, Dolores Claiborne, The Running Man, Creepshow, The Shawshank Redemption and The Dead Zone?” I’d say, “Never heard of them. Good day.”
I haven’t ranked these movies because I don’t believe in it, but Misery is the best. Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar for her performance, is still unbelievably scary as an avid reader who cares for/tortures her favourite novelist in a secluded cabin while forcing him to write another novel. She is deeply frightening because she seems so normal most of the time. She’s just a really excited fan – until it’s ankle-bashing time. You can imagine her viciously trolling people who don’t respect Romance as a literary genre on Twitter. Never in a thousand years would I think I could buy James Caan as a writer, but he is great – and especially good at portraying someone in a great deal of physical pain.
Brian De Palma makes great, weird movies. There’s always something off and uneasy about them. And this one’s got iconic work by Sissy Spacek plus a great deal of pig’s blood. Plus: “They’re all gonna laugh at you.” This is what high school was like for a lot of us, whether we want to admit it or not.
The Shining (1980)
I’ve never thought this movie was especially scary, but it is extremely entertaining. Jack Nicholson is the best actor of all time and this is one of those roles where we get the full Nicholson experience. Brooding evil, crazed, ax-wielding. He’s incredible. As is Shelley Duvall. And it’s Stanley Kubrick, for God’s sake. “Redrum”. The wave of blood rushing down the hallway. Twins. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The Simpsons devoted a Halloween episode segment to it.
Stand By Me (1986)
One of the two best lines in all of cinema is in this movie: “Do you guys want to go see a dead body?”
Nothing screams coming of age in the eighties (though it’s set in the fifties) more than a very young Jerry O’Connell asking his friends River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Wil Wheaton this question. This was what real friendship looked like. Now it’s all PlayStation this and Nintendo Switch that. No thanks.
If you’re curious, the other best line is: “Y’all want to see a dead body?” That was in Boyz n the Hood (1991).
The 1990 TV movie version with Tim Curry absolutely petrified me in high school and this one was even harder to watch. I don’t handle myself well in scary movies (probably should have mentioned that at the beginning) and I’m not that into clowns, especially if they drool too much and live in the sewer. So I will never unhear the way Pennywise says “Georgie”, with all that menacing saliva… it’s too much to bear.
The Boogeyman, in cinemas now.
Editor’s note: This piece is an unbiased editorial piece, but we do have commercial partnerships with 20th Century Studios.