He writes the stories that make the whole world scream. Stephen King turns 70 on Sept. 21, and if you want to celebrate by reading one of his books or watching a movie based on a King story, you won’t have to look too hard. There are so many King-based projects currently on—or coming to—the big and small screens that it’s frightening. It is currently the No. 1 movie in America, The Dark Tower was recently released, and coming soon to television are The Mist, Mr. Mercedes, and Castle Rock.

In all, King has written over 60 fiction and non-fiction books and almost 200 short stories. They deal with killer clowns, killer cars, killer prom queens, and even killer cell phones. How does he do it? “One word a time,” he has told interviewers. Of his stories that have terrified and traumatized generations of readers, King has said, “People think I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.”

There are almost 60(!) movies based on Stephen King stories. Some are horrifyingly bad (“Maximum Overdrive,” about killer mechanical objects). But there are several that are fit for a King.

 

Some of my favorites:

The Shawshank Redemption.

Not at all scary, but come across it on TV and it’s one of those movies you have to watch all the way through no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

The Stand

Great made-for-TV miniseries based on King’s masterwork. One of these days I’ll get around to reading the book.

Needful Things

Not all that great, but worth it just to hear the great Max von Sydow’s curio shop owner ask a baseball card collector if he wants “Topps or Fleers.”

Christine

Every all-American car loving geek totally gets this. Plus, it’s got the late, great Harry Dean Stanton (“Don’t get smart with me, son”).

The Dead Zone

Christopher Walken goofed on this underseen gem on Saturday Night Live as a Trivial Psychic. In the actual movie, he foretells a more disturbing future.

Dolores Claiborne

“An accidents, Dolores, can be an unhappy woman’s best friend.”

 

Happy birthday, Stephen King. Thanks for more than 40 years of frights, creeps, and nightmares. (And for making them scary fun.)

YOUR TURN: Share with us your favorite Stephen King book or movie.

 

By: Redbox Writer, Donald Liebenson