Known for his suspense and horror story lines, author Stephen King’s books have provided ample fodder for movies and television shows. Adapting his stories for screenplays has resulted in many crime dramas and sci-fi fantasies coming alive on TV. Here are a few now available for streaming on Netflix, sure to keep you glued to your couch and sometimes wanting to leave the lights on just a little longer.
The 15 Best Stephen King Titles Available to Stream Right Now
The suspense-filled, supernatural horror was nothing anyone had ever seen before when the iconic original starring Sissy Spacek first released in 1976. The 2002 remake of the movie, about a teenager who uses her telekinetic powers to wreak revenge on her bullies, is available on Netflix but the 2013 version starring Chloë Grace Moretz is a better bet if you have that streaming in your region.
A dark, psychological thriller of a sex game gone wrong, the movie is based on King’s novel of the same title. A couple heads to an isolated lake house to spend time together but unexpected scenes and characters are conjured when the husband has a heart attack, leaving his wife handcuffed to the bed. She must deal with visions and voices in her head as she plots her own escape from the precarious situation. Now on Netflix.
Based on King’s novella of the same name, this is a murder thriller set in 1922 – the story of a small family that grows smaller yet thanks to greed and wrongdoing. Farmer and husband Wilfred doesn’t want to sell the land his wife inherited and enlists the help of his teenage son to do away with his mother so they can be rewarded by the riches of the soil. But their sinister actions don’t go unnoticed by the darkness that now surrounds them. Also on Netflix.
'The Shawshank Redemption'
One of the best-known adaptations of King's works is this 1994 gem on Netflix, which earned seven Oscar nominations, starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. A move away from typical King thrillers, this movie is the inspiring story of a falsely imprisoned man who goes on to embrace life behind bars with the help of another inmate and assists in a money-laundering scheme for the prison warden as a safety net for himself.
A sci-fi show based on King’s novella, the first season on Netflix has ten episodes covering how a village in Maine deals with a mysterious fog that has enveloped the area and brings horrid creatures in its shadows. How the locals defend themselves against these creatures while trapped within a grocery store and the dynamics at play given the different personalities forms the crux of the storyline in this horror show.
The perfect binge-watching exercise in King’s creative works is this five-season supernatural mystery series on Netflix. The drama follows a young FBI agent who arrives in a fictional town in Maine and is quickly absorbed by the strange events that occur in the secretive town and among its inhabitants. She is soon engulfed in mysterious situations in a place that seems connected to her past life in some way.
'In The Tall Grass'
The latest of King’s works now available on Netflix will scare you from entering a garden maze ever again. A sibling duo on a road trip is attracted by the cries of a child when they stop along the way. The cries appear to emanate from inside a field of tall grass but once inside they realize they cannot find their way back out. Others come along to find them and are also sucked into the evil of the landscape they are surrounded by.
A cult classic and one of the best performances by Jack Nicholson, the Stanley Kubrick-directed suspense is available on Amazon. A young writer and his family come to an isolated resort in winter as the temporary caretakers, but things take a turn for the worse when the said writer loses his sanity and begins terrifying his own wife and son. A thriller for the ages and one that has been referenced time and again in pop culture.
The sequel to The Shining is also available on Amazon and stars Ewan McGregor in the role of the son, now an adult but still haunted by his childhood trauma. Fighting a battle with alcoholism, he uses his psychic abilities to calm patients he works with as an orderly but is introduced to a teenager with powers stronger than his and a cult that is after her for exactly those special qualities. A worthy follow-up to its original story.
Disappearing children. Evil clown. Perfect Stephen King suspense. What nightmares are made of.
Available on Amazon, the movie adaptations over the years have been plenty, the latest in 2017 and 2019 starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown. With gore factor galore, the movie looks at how the clown preys on his victims, and the loss of childhood innocence as each character faces their own versions of fear and hell.
Any King compilation would be incomplete without a mention of this horror flick which is inspired by ideas from the author’s own time as a writer-in-residence, living in a rural area and by a road frequented by fast-moving trucks that often ended in dead pets. The 2019 version of the movie has a shocking plot twist. No spoilers here but the change was King-approved and makes it worth watching both adaptations of the story. Available on Amazon.
Season one of this gruesome murder mystery is now on HBO, as well as Amazon, and will leave you addicted. An 11-year-old boy’s murder in the woods has the local detective and an investigator questioning everything they believe when what should have been a simple and straightforward crime case brings supernatural forces to light. A gritty crime drama with sufficient King factors to have you committed to the entirety of the show from the start.
Two seasons of gore await on Hulu, centered in this fictional place created by King and referenced or featured in many of his works. Consider it a classic compilation of several of the famed author’s themes, characters, storylines and imaginary worlds. If you are a King aficionado and experienced his past works, then this show will be a bit of a walk down memory lane with enough horror strewn along for good measure.
James Franco in a King time-travel thriller? We’ll take it! Connected to President Kennedy’s death, the mini-series looks at one high school teacher’s journey back in time through a time portal to try to stop the assassination. The story is complicated by elements outside his control, and he learns quickly that his attempts to change history aren’t well-received. Now on Amazon, this is one of King’s only works closely related to historical events.
'The Green Mile'
Another unlikely King-crafted story that moves away from his typical horror slants to a somewhat feel-good narrative. Guards on death row dealing with vicious prison inmates are faced with a new case when a gentle giant accused of murder and rape lands in their care. One of the guards, played by Tom Hanks, is especially aware of special powers the new inmate possesses and begins to question if he is truly guilty. On Amazon now.