As I finished the last page of Stephen King’s novel “Thinner,” I started to think of how the story could translate into film. There would be technical aspects, such as getting an overweight actor to loose weight during the course of the movie to the point he’s emaciated but I figured it would be an entertaining film. But after a quick visit with our modern friend, Google, I discovered I don’t have to imagine too hard. Apparently, “Thinner” was made into a movie in 1996.
I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Turns out, Stephen King has written 49 novels, including nine collections of short stories. Out of these, 39 are feature films and 21 are television miniseries.
When we think of films based on Stephen King’s works, we tend to remember being terrified by his horror stories. We see Sissy Spacek drenched in pig’s blood with a deranged look on her face in “Carrie.” We remember Jack Nicholson’s famous “Here’s Johnny!” as he uses an axe to cut the door down so he can murder his family in “The Shining.” That little preacher boy Isaac, played by John Franklin, still freaks me out from “Children of the Corn.”
But what we may not immediately remember is Stephen King also gave us such great films as “The Green Mile,” “Stand By Me” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” His “Dark Tower” Series is one of his most popular series and has been in the works for film production for a few years now.
Some of King’s stories have received Academy Award attention. Morgan Freeman was nominated for Best Actor for “The Shawshank Redemption,” which was also nominated for Best Picture. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were both nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, for their roles in “Carrie.” Michael Clark Duncan was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in “The Green Mile,” which was also nominated for Best Picture. Kathy Bates won Best Actress for her role of Annie Wilkes in “Misery.”
What is it about the works of Stephen King that translates so well onto the big screen? It all boils down to the basic element of a good story. Yes, King is able to create a story that will scare our pants off but he is also a great storyteller in general, creating empathetic characters and complex story lines. While some films fill the niche of being visually stunning, King’s works rely on good storytelling. Even competing with the latest 3D technology, a good story is a good story and King gives us those stories.
Written by Kelly Cannon, a self-proclaimed cinephile, Cannonized Cinema will cover everything within the world of film. Whether they’re classic, cult, foreign or family-friendly, any film has potential to be Cannonized. For more Cannonized Cinema, click here.