Tomorrow is the 65th birthday of Mr. Stephen King — yep, the master of pop horror is now a senior citizen — so break out a party hat, have a slice of cake, and douse yourself in pig’s blood. Mr. King’s gradual progression, over the last couple of decades, from genre populist to critical darling has been a joy to watch. But the conventional wisdom that his books make for lousy movies inexplicably still holds. Make no mistake, they’ve turned his works into some turkeys, as anyone who’s sat through Graveyard Shift, Dreamcatcher, or his first (and so far only) directorial effort Maximum Overdrive can tell you. But his novels and stories have also provided the groundwork for several genuinely great movies — many of them, surprisingly enough, not even set in the world of the supernatural. After the jump, our picks for the best Stephen King movies to date.
Kathy Bates won an Oscar — and a place in the hall of fame for great cinema villains — for her performance as Annie Wilkes, the “number one fan” of novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan), who has earned her ire by killing off her favorite character. Ace screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) fluidly adapts one of King’s most personal works, and director Rob Reiner smoothly melds its humorous and dramatic elements with some very, very good scares. (Anyone care for a hobbling?)