As of this date, Stephen King reigns as the undisputed champion of horror fiction. The Bangor, Maine-based author has an absolutely massive selection of titles that are credited to his name. With 61 novels and 11 short story collections, there is certainly no shortage of his material to draw upon for film and TV adaptations – a source that many directors and producers have been happy to take advantage of for the last forty-plus years.

Many of these aforementioned adaptations have gone on to become box-office hits. Films like Carrie (1976), The Shining (1980), Misery (1990), and, the most recent example, IT (2017) have proven to be enormously successful with both fans and critics alike.

And then there are the ones that slipped through the cracks. Whether this is due to being overshadowed by a more popular release at the time, poor marketing strategies, or simply because they were just plain bad, there are many films that came and went largely unnoticed. So, without further ado, here are just a select few of those examples.

5. The Night Flier (1997)

A still shot taken from the 1997 horror film 'The Night Flier'. It shows a man with a monstrous hand caressing his face.

5 Lesser-Known Stephen King Adaptations.
Miguel Ferrer appears as Richard Dees in the 1997 horror film The Night Flier.

Directed by Mark Pavia and produced by Mitchell Garin. Starring Miguel Ferrer, Julie Entwisle, Dan Monahan, and Michael H. Moses. Distributed by New Line Cinema. Based on King’s short story ‘The Night Flier’.

Synopsis: After receiving what would initially seem like a ludicrous assignment from his boss, tabloid reporter Richard Dees finds himself launched headfirst into a murder investigation. It seems that a madman has been stalking the rural airfields of America, killing the people that he finds there, and draining them of their blood. There are rumors that the murderer believes himself to be a vampire, and soon, Richard will find out for himself if there is any truth to the gossip.

4. Cat’s Eye (1985)

A cat (General) hisses at the camera in this still taken from the 1985 horror film Cat’s Eye.

Directed by Lewis Teague and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Starring Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Candy Clark, and Alan King. Distributed by MGM. Based on King’s short stories ‘The Ledge’ and ‘Quitters, Inc.’.

Synopsis: Cat’s Eye is a horror anthology film, much like Tales from the Crypt (1972) or Trilogy of Terror (1975). The plot features three different stories that are all intertwined by the wanderings of a stray cat. There are dangers lurking everywhere in Cat’s Eye, that come to the audience in the forms of a malicious troll, a wager made with a deadly gangster, and a company that helps you to quit smoking cigarettes – by any means necessary.

3. The Mangler (1995)

A shot of the laundry press, which is featured in the 1995 horror film The Mangler.

Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Anant Singh. Starring Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor, and Vanessa Pike. Distributed by New Line Cinema. Based on King’s short story ‘The Mangler’.

Synopsis: It would seem that Gartley’s Blue Ribbon Laundry Service has been experiencing some technical difficulties lately. Some deathly serious technical difficulties. The press machine almost appears as if it has a mind of its own sometimes. A mind that has decided it enjoys the taste of human blood. Soon, it is up to a local police officer and his demonologist brother-in-law to figure out not only what has caused the hulking machine to become possessed in the first place, but more importantly, how they can put a stop to it.

2. Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Robert Rusler appears as the undead thug Richard Lawson in the 1991 TV movie ‘Sometimes They Come Back

Directed by Tom McLoughlin and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Starring Tim Matheson, Brooke Adams, Chris Demetral, and Robert Rusler. Distributed by CBS. Based on King’s short story ‘Sometimes They Come Back’.

Synopsis: Jim Norman is a troubled high-school teacher, who is about to learn a very important lesson in the hardest way possible: you can’t run away from the past, or the past will inevitably come back to haunt you. After returning to his home town for a new job, Norman begins to see some familiar faces around the school – some familiar faces that have come back for revenge. Some familiar faces that have come back from the dead.

1. Silver Bullet (1985)

Corey Haim stars as Marty in the 1985 horror film ‘Silver Bullet‘.

Directed by Dan Attias and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. Starring Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, and Megan Follows. Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Based on King’s novel ‘Cycle of the Werewolf’.

Synopsis: In the quaint rural town of Tarker’s Mills, somebody is hiding a dark secret. You see, there have been a series of murders – but these aren’t like any murders anyone has ever seen before. They are savage, almost inhuman in their brutality. The victims have been torn apart, as if by some kind of wild animal. After a terrifying encounter with the creature responsible, local paraplegic boy Marty Coslaw takes it upon himself to stop the rampaging beast before he is added to the ever-growing list of victims.

If you enjoyed ‘5 Lesser-Known Stephen King Adaptations‘, then please feel free to check out our other articles covering movies and TV, here.

L.J. Lewis


About the Author

L.J. Lewis is a freelance writer hailing from the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada. When he isn't writing, he can often be found sewing pilfered body parts together in his underground lair.

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