5 Amazing Stephen King Stories That Should Be Adapted For TV

 Art for "The Dark Tower"

Earth, wind, fire and water are the elements that make up 30% of the world. The other 70% of the world is made of Stephen King. He’s everywhere. Anytime you feel like their might be someone else in an empty room, it’s just the presence of Stephen King.

And as much as the master of horror literature is everywhere, he deserves to be everywhere-er. One of his latest novels, “Under The Dome,” is getting turned into a TV series and more from his expansive library should get the same treatment. Here are five Stephen King stories that need to be on your television.

“The Dark Tower”

dark tower

Every adventure story that has some sort of fan base is being adapted into some mainstream form of media. Right now, the people at Disney/Marvel/Throne Of The Emperor are desperately trying to get a script hammered out based around the people that swerved to not hit Peter Parker in Amazing Fantasy #15. And expect a plot synopsis based around some guy who shook Tony Stark’s hand one time to be released any time now. The expected title? Iron Man’s Pal, Jimmy Tholsen.

That’s why it’s only natural, and evolutionarily expected, that the gunslinger, Roland Deschain would get a TV show. It’s an exciting mix of dark action-fantasy and drama that would be perfect for an HBO series. It would be pretty pricey to produce, but look at how popular Game of Thrones is. That show is The Beatles of dwarves and pushing children from window ledges. While most of this list would best serve as TV miniseries, this could provide multiple seasons.

“The Running Man”

“The Running Man” is one of King’s most awesome stories. First published under the name of his pseudonym, Richard Bachman, it tells of a dystopian future, where unemployed Ben Richards, in an attempt to earn money for his daughter’s surgery, takes part in a reality show called The Running Man. In the show, he has to escape from being killed by Hunters, an elite group of hitmen. It’s pretty large in scale, with enough twists and turns to provide for a great few hours of television. There has already been a pretty movie version with Arnold Schwarzeneggar, but a TV series would provide a better chance to develop the narrative told in the novel, but also expand upon the universe.

Arnold Schwarzeneggar in "The Running Man"

Hopefully, they’d keep the same, kickass jump suit.

“1922”

“Full Dark, No Stars” is a novella collection, released by King in 2010. The first story in the anthology, “1922” took a horrifying shit in my soul when I read it. I don’t want to give too much away, but it deals with a man’s murder of his own wife and his slow descent into madness. Unlike a lot of King’s later works, it doesn’t have too many fantastical aspects, which makes it stand out, and it definitely doesn’t skimp out on the human drama and it has suspense that never lets up.

The cover of "Full Dark, No Stars"

While it’s too short to make a full season, it would work very well as a miniseries, as the story takes place over a few months’ time. Get a solid actor to portray the lead role of the husband, grab a director who knows what he’s doing (my vote would go to Pascal Laugier, director of the terrifying Martyrs) and let them go to work on creating what could be one of the scariest things on TV in years.

“‘Salem’s Lot”

salems lot

I think it’s about time for another adaptation of “‘Salem’s Lot.” Sure, there’s been two already, one really good one from Tobe Hooper in the late 70’s and one done in 2004 that is sort of like a long ad for using books as toilet paper, but since vampires have become synonymous with lameness, a “‘Salem’s Lot” could be really useful in turning the blood-sucking dead into cool night stalkers again. The story is big enough to turn any miniseries of it into a landmark event, but small enough in scale to be doable.

“Danse Macabre”

I wasn’t very interested in horror until I read “Danse Macabre.” It wasn’t become my favorite genre until I borrowed King’s treatise on horror on film, literature, TV and radio from a friend, and after that, there was no going back. Before Danse Macabre, I considered it cool that I knew what a Halloween IV was. Now, if one of my friends doesn’t know who Richard Matheson is, I begin my research into how to kill the pod people impersonating my loved ones.

“Danse Macabre” is non-fiction, but it would be so cool to have a show that explored a different facet of horror in every episode. Stephen King could be involved as sort of the “Crypt Keeper” of it all, introducing episodes, and the rest of the running time could be spent seriously discussing and researching the mythology of such a great genre. You could interview other notable people who work in the genre, and the number of possible guests to include is endless.

The cover of Stephen King's "Danse Macabre."

I don’t know who decided that Stephen King looking creepy would be great for a book cover, but they were totally right.

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Comments

  1. Sandee says

    I loved the book” From a Buick 8″. With all the fantastic technologies we have today this would be a wonderful movie to undertake. Even though Steven King’s ideas are way out there, they still have their could-be-so’s. He is my all-time favorite writer.

  2. mingopink says

    I DO NOT believe vampires exist, but I must confess…after reading Salem’s Lot, I have a tiny bit of doubt…

  3. Victoria says

    I would like to see The Dark Tower series as movies. But it would have to be done similar to Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, etc. in that it would take several movies to put the story together. And — please — no Hollywood crap about changing the storylines. Have Rob Reiner and/or Ron Howard direct the series.

  4. UpIrons says

    I agree with all of these, but especially the Dark Tower series. Even if all the books are never made into any kind of trilogy or whatever, somebody needs to take the character of Roland and make a series about it. It’s just too awesome of a mix of the old west meets Star Wars to not be made into something great!

  5. Aimee says

    The Dark Tower is Sai King’s Magnum Opus. While it would be nice to see the other stories turned into series, the only one I truly care about is The Dark Tower. I have been waiting years, and have a strong feeling I will unfortunately be waiting for delah more.

  6. Debbie Anthony says

    I feel all the stories in Full Dark, No Stars would make a good movie. Love anything Stephen King.

  7. Mabel says

    I like the Danse Macabre idea of exploring the horror genre the way King did in the book, but as far as expanding on a universe, that rarely does anything but jump the shark. Bottom line: Hollywood only cares about making money, not turning out quality content. Don’t give them an inch to play with; they’ll hang everything in sight.

  8. EditorinChief says

    Good article, and I agree on many of the possible adaptations you’ve listed here, but you really need to proof your articles before publishing. You have the wrong use of “their” in your first passage (in bold), and in your first passage under “Danse Macabre” you state “wasn’t become,” which is incorrect.

  9. Loren Breazeale says

    No King movie should be made into a movie. The depth of his character development and his story lines can’t be appreciated in a movie format. There really is no interaction between a movie and it’s audience. The movie format “shows” you but a book “hints at” many things that you get to visualize for yourself.

  10. Mutant Turd says

    I personally think that Blaze (his last Bachman book) would be amazing. Now it wouldn’t quite work on tv but it would make an extremely powerful movie in the right hands.

  11. koawm says

    Stephen King is hard to translate onto film because so much goes on in a character’s head. You’d end up doing a lot of ‘flashs’ to the inside of his mind and would probably be confusing. It’s what makes him such a great writer. His greatest works can’t be translated to film

  12. Lisanne says

    Please please PLEASE fix the grammatical error in your first paragraph. “Their” should be “there.” Also, under “Danse Macabre,” you need to insert the word “to” in between “wasn’t” and “become.”

    Other than that, great article. I particularly like your Danse Macabre idea!

  13. Patrick T. Kilgallon says

    I loved his idea in Danse Macabre about the eugenic squad killing all the unfit teenagers that it inspired me to write my first novel, gather the weeds. I like Stephen King’s idea about an illyic town in which the Hollywood production team comes in and executes all pimply or chubby teenagers who don’t fit in with the clearsail youthful crowd. Then the filmmaker would produce an campy horror movie and ironically it would be about a teenaged Frankstein and they will have to multilate some actor’s face to make him hideous.
    Maybe Stephen King has a manuscript about that gently rotting away somewhere in his basement!

  14. Joe Boyko says

    I agree with every one of these examples. The only problem is that a true adaptation of ‘The Running Man’ would never get made in a post 911 world. I won’t announce any spoilers, but I’m talking of course about the conclusion of the book specifically.

  15. MayraMM says

    The Dark Tower series should never be made into a TV series. It would just ruin the story when the writers start scrambling for next week’s story line. It should be made into a movie series, like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, but it has to have the right producer and the right actors, otherwise it would just end of cheesy like nearly every other King book made into a movie.

  16. Blondmyk says

    I agree with a few of these, especially the remake of “Salem’s Lot.” It would be really good to see this remade with today’s technology, but only if Mr King would once again do the screenplay/script for it. It would kill me to see it get screwed up just because we always want more…more…MORE!

    I also think that the Danse Macabre idea is inspired. I don’t know how far one could go with that idea though, as ideas behind horror ARE limited. You can ask any writer on the subject and they’ll tell you that sometimes they struggle to find something new. Maybe not the writing GODS as much as the average writer like me, but I know I struggle to find something new quite a lot of the time.

    “The Dark Tower” I want to be seen as a Motion Picture with a major motion picture budget before I see a TV version of it. The only way I’d even consider a TV version of it were if it were to have the kind of ambition sunk into it as has been sunk into the new “Defiance” endeavor on Sy-Fy, and I hear that’s been considerable. Dark Tower deserves a BIG, MONSTER budget ala “Lord of the Rings” in order to be done right. I hope someone can do that.

  17. Leslie says

    I’m a huge fan of Stephen king. I think these are all great pics for a movie or mini series but I would be ecstatic if Duma Key was made into a motion picture I’ve never read anything like it one of my favorite novels by King for sure it’s scary and will suck you in.

  18. Leslie says

    Oh and the dark tower series would be the next lord of the rings but ten times better I believe they would rule the boxoffice

  19. thomas kean says

    1. The Library Policeman. The fact it hasn’t been made is a surprise
    2. Gerald’s Game. I personally believe it can be done, despite the censors.
    3. Danse Macabre. A documentry in the waiting for horror fans
    4. Hearts in Atlantis. The Whole, not just one
    5. 11/22/1963. Alleged to be made into a movie, although I really haven’t much more than that.

  20. Dane says

    Salem’s Lot is the one I’m voting for!!! It was beyond a powerful novel and is absolutely the coolest and most horrify book I’ve ever read. I loved the 70’s mini-series even though it had to cut out so much of what made the book amazing. The last version of the mini-seriers (with Rob Lowe) was cheap crap! I liked where they went with trying to bring in more aspects of the book but it was very cheaply done and the execution was awful! If Salem’s Lot had talented writer and director behind it, it would be legendary what it could accomplish in today’s market. It’s time to move beyond Twilight and realize what Vampires really are. They are demons. They are the evil in good vs. evil. I would love to see a story that doesn’t play with that.

  21. bmg314 says

    The Dark Tower has been rumored to be in and out of development for a few years now. Ron Howard was on board to make it as a series of movies, with a season of shows on HBO in between each movie. I can only hope and pray that if it does end up being adapted, that it is done so like that, because anything else would undoubtedly fall seriously short, ala The Stand. Having said that, I almost hope that it NEVER comes to the screen, either big, small, or both, because I really doubt that it can be done right.

  22. onslaught94 says

    I love Stephen King’s work. I think he is incredible. Some of his works that were turned in feature films and TV movies weren’t bad (The Stand, Desperation, Misery, Needful Things, the original Carrie) but some left something to be desired, like the TV movie version of IT. The only redeeming quality about that movie is that Tim Curry NAILED it as the clown Pennywise. The movie left out too much (like the smoke hole and the fight in the house on Neibolt Street, where the kids battled the werewolf) and changed too much (the kids’ first encounters with Pennywise, for example). I’ve read that another version of IT is being developed as I write this, and I hope that if it comes to fruition, then it’s better than the 1990 movie. As for The Dark Tower, a series of movies would be great if the right actors and actresses were cast and it had a kickass director and screenwriter. For the role of Roland, I’m lookin’ at Clint Eastwood. Roland is basically the Dirty Harry of Mid-World so why not have Dirty Harry himself play the part? Plus, if you look closely at the original hardcover jacket of The Dark Tower VII, Roland actually LOOKS LIKE Clint Eastwood. The only problem I have with bringing the series to the big screen is how Hollywood always changes or leaves things out when they adapt books, comic books, plays, etc. into movies. If the series of movies is to be successful, then the movies have to be done right; otherwise, they’ll be a disappointment to die-hard fans like IT was.

  23. doris day says

    Geralds game was a koontz like quick read you could read it in a day, not enought content and only 2 actors,one scene. The one that I dream of seeing in a movie is the talisman, my favorite.

  24. Randall Flagg says

    If he really IS your “all-time favorite writer,” how the heck did you get his name wrong?

  25. Bud says

    Loved the Dark Tower. One problem though is really, it completely went off the rails toward the end. Have Yet to have someone explain it to me in a way that makes sense to me!

  26. Quigley says

    I’d do anything to see these adapted from book to screen:
    – “The Long Walk” as a movie.
    – “It” as a miniseries. Yes, there’s the Tim Curry one, but we need one that’s actually good quality.
    – “Needful Things” as a miniseries. Yes, there’s the Max von Sydow one, but this book is practically tailor-made for a multiple-part series. It’s very much like “Storm of the Century” (which I’d love to see King adapt into novel form).

  27. Paige says

    The Dark Tower should never be made into anything. They’d just destroy it, as they do so many other great SK stories. I’m still seething over the ending of The Mist. =/

  28. Paige says

    I’d love to see them remake Bag of Bones into something that doesn’t suck, as did the recent miniseries.

  29. Harbinger says

    totally agree with you

    Salems lot (the 70s version) scared the holy ever-living crap out of me as a kid. The next revision scared the holy ever-living crap out of a bug that was sitting next to the TV when i watched it and that was about it. I would love to see a more in-depth mini series type setting that lives up to the first version I was ever exposed to.
    And to make it even better in my mind, a pilot of sorts for it that covers Jerusalems Lot.

    But if its not going to make me cower under the covers with a crucifix and a supersoaker filled with holy water…. i dont want to even bother.

  30. Randy says

    I really hope Ron Howard can get The Dark Tower rolling he would do a great job also Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame would be a perfect Eddie Dean.

  31. john holloway says

    I’m surprised noone mentioned doing a Talisman /Black house film as i loved both of them. Also really loved It when it came out and was really disappointed in the miniseries.

  32. Alec Daley says

    I downright loved the ending of The Running Man. the ultimate “F*ck You” in my book. however maybe it could be stated that it’s an alternate universe. just keep the same story. just an idea

  33. Bri says

    Bag of Bones could handle a miniseries if you included all the plotlines. Poor single mom vs. rich grandfather, racism in Northern Maine, mystery, spookiness – who else can make a trip to the basement scary without seeming trite? ….and then she stood on the frizbee…..

  34. JT says

    The only way I could condone a Dark Tower if it’s on another level of the Tower, like the comic. Those who have finished the story will understand.

    Holloway brought up what I’ve been wanting for a bit, a Talisman/Black House series could be great if done right.

  35. Miki says

    I agree! ‘Salem’s Lot gave me nightmares for MONTHS back in the 70s and is still, today, one of the things I distinctly remember watching on TV, mainly because I was amazed my parents LET me watch it! I’m not catholic, but I tell you, that movie brought me to God!
    Scared the ever-loving crap outta me, too and NO vampire movie since has brought even a quarter of the ‘believeability ‘ to it. Time to make Vampires back into the scary, night dwelling NON-SPARKLY creatures they are meant to be!
    I still get the shivers just thinking of that movie.

  36. Rhiannon Davies says

    ‘Survivor Type’ is by far one of his best. It’s a short story in the Skeleton Crew collection, about a doctor that’s in a plane crash and washes up on the shore of a desert island with a suitcase full of heroin. He basically starts eating himself to stay alive. I bet the film would make 127 Hours look like My Little Pony.

  37. Melissa says

    I love ‘Survivor Type!’ It’s such an underrated story and it would be totally horrifying. Another good one would be Word Processor of the Gods. The main characters descent into madness is pretty awesome to read. The Skeleton Crew collection has to be one of my favorite ones of King’s.

  38. Cgirlsass says

    Love Stephen’s work, I’m torn as to whether I’d like to see The Dark Tower put on film. I just don’t think anyone would do it justice. Us fans are pretty darn picky, as witnessed the last time someone said they was going to make it. I think it’s pretty hard for film makers to stay true to the story, for some weird reason. 1922 would be a great one to try, it was really freaky. I enjoyed Liseys Story, but that may be a bit of a stretch to put on film. Just read a some of Just After Sunset, enjoyed N & The Gingerbread Girl. Duma Kay would make a great mini-series. He writes some crazy stuff for sure, I guess it’s just so hard to translate to film for some. I think some film makers are up to task, I think some just want a paycheck.

  39. johnbgood says

    I’d like to see Bag Of Bones done right. The A&E miniseries from a couple of years back was, to put it mildly, bloody awful.

  40. Blind Jasper says

    How about a good version of The Stand that’s well cast (no Molly Ringwald), darker and less TV-hokey than the six hour mini series. George Romero was supposed to direct a movie version in the late 70’s, I say go see if he’s still interested. You can do two movies. The Plague and The Stand. You’re welcome movie studios. Now get to work.

  41. Aman Kaur says

    I second that…..that book is beyond awesome….it really deserves to be made into a movie and like you said….with all the fantastic technology out there, this movie will definitely be really cool

  42. Rhiannon Davies says

    Gerald’s Game was really intense and uncomfortable to read, I can’t imagine how it would be to watch. And yes, it would need A LOT of censoring.

  43. BigBossOgg says

    Thank you! I was about to point those out, also, but being flamed so often, by the people who can’t see anything wrong with the way things are misspelled, I hesitated.

  44. BigBossOgg says

    Exactly so! “Cheesy” is a good description of what happens to King’s work, when it’s approached by the Hollywood or TV network crowd,

    They have a patina, a film over them that reeks of underfunded community theater, with hammy actors.

    I know he wants to make sure people adapt his ‘babies’ faithfully, but if he would let someone like Guillermo del Toro at one of them, while keeping every one of his busy-body fingers out of the cake batter, you could have some truly terrifying finished product.

    I wish I had a way to talk to him for a half hour, some day, to tell him.

  45. Michael Uden says

    I think IT needs to be remade into at least 2 if not 3 movies but it needs to be done right! The first attempt at a mini series was fucking awful if youll pardon my french but if its done properly it could be amazing!

  46. Saoirse says

    Ha! About time “The Talisman” fans chimed in! Suddenly I have this craving to read it yet again, and its sequel, “Black House.” That said, I agree it would be wonderful to see maybe as a miniseries, and “The Dark Tower” as well. In fact.. okay, aging memory is a little sketchy these days, but didn’t ‘Jack’ from “The Talisman” also make an appearance along the way in “The Dark Tower” series? Well, now I guess I have to read them all again. One last thought regarding Stephen King’s stories in film: I think his wonderfully warped sense of humor is the big thing that gets lost in translation to film, and care must be taken to preserve that in each and every production.