The Stephen King Movies Fans Want To See Next

At this point, calling Stephen King the master of horror is a bit of an understatement. At the time of publication, the award-winning author has published 64 novels, 11 short story collections, and five non-fiction books. More than a household name, he has become a brand unto himself, and with his new novel "Fairy Tale" releasing in late 2022, the writer shows no signs of slowing down. King has always specialized in creating strong characters that often seem to leap off the page, so it's no surprise that his work is frequently adapted for the screen, both big and small. Following Brian De Palma's 1976 adaptation of "Carrie," his work has made its way to film more than 40 times, racking up more adaptations than any other living author

2022 will see a new adaptation of his 1980 novel "Firestarter," as well as Gary Dauberman's take on "Salem's Lot" releasing this September. King's work has been on a hot streak in recent years, likely due to the success of "It" (2017), which still holds the title of being the highest-grossing horror film of all time. Hollywood is sure to keep pumping out projects based on King's work for the foreseeable future; there's certainly no shortage of source material with many more titles yet to be tackled. The following is a list of King's novels and short stories constant readers have been dying to see on the big screen.

Billy Summers

Stephen King's crime thriller "Billy Summers" pulls an emotional bait and switch. Following a hitman on his last job, Billy's tale gradually morphs into a moving story about the healing powers of fiction and memory. The tonal shift occurs midway through with the introduction of Alice, a young woman Billy rescues from the side of the road. As the unlikely friends grow closer, they cautiously begin to trust each other and slowly find the strength to overcome their past traumas. The tearjerker ending is perhaps King's best conclusion in years, with a bittersweet nod to one of his most famous properties.

"Billy Summers" was well-received by critics and fans alike, making announcements of a planned adaptation a near certainty. With the success of HBO's "Barry," the Hitman with a Heart of Gold trope is back in the zeitgeist. It's difficult not to see star Bill Hader playing King's titular character, especially since he recently appeared in another King property as adult Richie Tozer in "It Chapter Two." But, King reportedly has his eye on Jake Gyllenhaal for the lead role and has reteamed with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot to bring the deceptive crime caper to life via a limited series. No stranger to the author's work, Bad Robot was also responsible for Hulu's King IP playground series "Castle Rock," as well as the adaptation of "11/22/63." 

The Breathing Method

Within Stephen King's first collection of novellas, "Different Seasons," lies the source material for two of the most popular film adaptations of his work: "The Body" became Rob Reiner's coming of age classic "Stand by Me," while Frank Darabont transformed the collection's lead story, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," into the similarly named Oscar-nominated prison drama. The much darker "Apt Pupil" was also adapted into a film starring Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro. Receiving mixed responses from critics, the entry's disturbing content likely kept it from achieving the ubiquity of its more uplifting counterparts.

Despite the overall success of the aforementioned films, King's final novella in the collection, "The Breathing Method," remains untouched. Subtitled "A Winter's Tale," the story is the only one to include supernatural elements and ends the collection on a chilling note. Set in the 1930s, the haunting story follows Sandra, an unmarried woman determined to give birth despite the nearly insurmountable odds. In preparing for labor, she learns a new breathing method and must battle through nightmarish events to put it into practice. Given the current battle for reproductive rights, an adaptation of "The Breathing Method" could prove especially poignant. Its creepy framing device, a mysterious gathering known as The Club where men congregate to drink brandy and tell stories, could easily launch a new connected universe of short story adaptations.

The Talisman

Stephen King's 1984 collaboration with fellow horror scribe Peter Straub is the story of Jack Sawyer, a 12-year-old boy who sets off into a parallel universe called the Territories to save his dying mother. "The Talisman" is a crystal axis connecting all worlds in this multiverse. Jack teams up with a friendly werewolf named Wolf on his journey through the treacherous terrain and attempts to steal the Talisman from the evil clutches of Morgan Sloat, his late father's business partner. This novel sits adjacent to King's masterpiece, "The Dark Tower" series, only joined thematically (though the novel's 2001 sequel "Black House" makes the connection explicit).

"The Talisman" has been in some level of production since before its initial publication. Hollywood powerhouse Steven Spielberg purchased the filming rights in 1982 and has been intermittently trying to make a go of the project for over 35 years. March 2021 brought an interesting development in the journey from page to screen and an exciting partnership. Speilberg will team with Matt and Ross Duffer, the creative team behind "Stranger Things," to adapt the massive novel as a series for Netflix. It's an ideal pairing considering the sibling showrunners' experience with tween-led adventure stories. It's also ideal timing, given rumors that King's upcoming novel "Fairy Tale" is set in a similar world and may hold a key to the long-rumored third entry in "The Talisman" series.

One For The Road

"Night Shift," Stephen King's first short story collection, has many grisly entries, but its penultimate tale, "One for the Road" is far quieter. Framed by two old-timers waiting out a Maine nor'easter, the story follows a naive young family who takes an ill-advised detour through the now deserted town of 'Salem's Lot. The short story was first published in a 1977 edition of Maine Magazine, two years after the release of King's 1975 novel "Salem's Lot," the terrifying tale of vampires in a New England town. Along with "Jerusalem's Lot," the lead entry of the collection, "One for the Road" serves as bookends for one of King's most celebrated early novels.

The Lovecraftian "Jerusalem's Lot" got its own adaptation in 2021 with Epix's "Chapelwaite'' series, starring Adrien Brody and Emily Hampshire. Though the epistolary story is set more than 100 years before "One for the Road," an adaptation of the snowy story would make a wonderful companion to the second season of "Chapelwaite," as well as the James Wan produced remake of "Salem's Lot" releasing in September 2022. The story's strong character development and largely off-screen horror makes it a tempting one for indie filmmakers. The film is a popular Dollar Baby offering, the program through which King sells the rights to selected stories to film students for a single dollar. Still, his constant readers would love an adaptation with the backing of a major studio.


"Revival" is a deeply upsetting story about death and what lies beyond. Jamie Morton is a young boy when he first meets Charles Jacobs, the new reverend obsessed with harnessing a force he refers to as "secret electricity." At first, seeking to heal others with the mysterious power, a horrific tragedy leaves him disillusioned with his faith. Charles leaves the church and his obsession with the electricity's power grows, determined to discover what lies on the other side of death's cruel doorway. Thematically linked to the terrifying "Pet Sematary," "Revival" is a harrowing story of destruction, death, the different forms of addiction, and all-consuming grief.

The extremely dark ending of "Revival" caught the eye of several filmmakers and plans to adapt have passed hands a few times over the years since publication. Josh Boone first attempted to adapt the disturbing novel, with Samuel L. Jackson in talks to play Charles. The project ultimately fell apart and the option lay dormant for more than three years. In 2020, Mike Flanagan breathed new life into the project by announcing he'd been secretly working on a feature film. Unfortunately, the director later announced via Twitter that he is no longer working on the project. While there are currently no plans to adapt the challenging text, the power of King's novel remains and it's only a matter of time before someone revives it from the ashes of development hell.

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Stephen King's short story collection, "Skeleton Crew," might be a bit more uneven than his iconic "Night Shift," but the terrifying "Gramma" is a definite highlight. The story follows George, a young boy who finds himself home alone with his elderly and infirm grandmother. The peaceful afternoon devolves into a horrific battle for his soul as George slowly uncovers the skeletons in his family tree as well as his Gramma's sinister intentions. Part autobiographical, the story combines two of King's biggest strengths: horror viewed through the lens of a child, and the creeping dread of the unknown.

The story was adapted as a part of CBS' 1985 revival of the classic "The Twilight Zone" series, with impressive talent involved. Harlan Ellison wrote the script, and "Carrie" star Piper Laurie provided the voice of the witch. However, the story seems to lose something in translation from page to screen, likely due to a lack of physical action in the short. A 2014 adaptation renamed "Mercy" attempted to take on the story, making significant changes to the source material. The film falls flat, having been nearly forgotten in the eight years since its release. As one of King's few stories dealing with witches outright, the "Gramma" would make for a fantastic addition to the Blumhouse lineup.

Duma Key

"Duma Key" is another novel that feels semi-autobiographical. Published in 2008, the book follows Edgar Freemenatle as he relocates from Minnesota to the titular Florida beach while recovering from a cataclysmic accident that cost him his right arm and his marriage. Arriving nine years after Stephen King's own near-fatal accident, "Duma Key" chronicles Edgar's physical recovery in unflinching detail, providing King with a much-needed outlet to explore his own rehabilitation. On the beach, Edgar meets two more damaged souls badly in need of healing, along with a nightmarish sea goddess named Perse.

Despite being well-received, "Duma Key" has never been high on the list of upcoming adaptations, perhaps because of its contemplative pacing and heavy mental recovery component. In 2019, "Dolores Claiborne" director Taylor Hackford was rumored to be courting a deal to adapt the novel, but no formal announcement was ever made. This would be an ideal match for the film considering both stories are thematically connected in their depictions of fractured relationships and festering emotional wounds. However, the project has seemingly fallen through and any plans for an adaptation drifted off to sea.


One of Stephen King's scariest short stories, "N." is a Lovecraftian glimpse into a nightmare. The story unfolds through the papers of a doctor preparing to write an academic article about obsessive-compulsive disorder. N. is the doctor's doomed patient, an unfortunate man whose mind is consumed with a mysterious formation of stones he finds while photographing a forgotten hayfield. The well-paced story is a contemplative journey into a mind falling apart as N. details his growing obsession with counting and placing objects. This magical thinking keeps the stones in place and prevents otherworldly monsters from breaking through the portal they surround.

A graphic series containing 25 short videos was released as part of the promotional campaign for the larger collection, "Just After Sunset." In 2017, Deadline confirmed an adaptation in the works to be directed by David F. Sandberg and written by Marvel alums Andrew Barrer and Gabe Ferrari. Renamed "8," the haunting story would feature additions and modifications to the source material in hopes of becoming a sustainable TV series for Gaumont Television. Given horror's recent obsession with folk horror, this would be the perfect time to adapt King's most unsettling story. However, the project seems to have fallen by the wayside, leaving the stunningly beautiful graphic adaptation our only window into Ackerman's Field.

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From A Buick 8

Not exactly "Christine," Stephen King's other evil car novel, "From a Buick 8," is also known to be the book he was drafting when he endured the devastating car accident that nearly ended his life. When he was hit, King had begun research on a story about Pennsylvania State Troopers guarding an abandoned car that may or may not be a portal to another world. However, the Lovecraftian hook hides the heart of what turns out to be a touching novel about small-town life and the generational passage of secret wisdom.

Published in 2002, various filmmakers have been attempting to bring the otherworldly story to life for the better part of two decades. George A. Romero and later Tobe Hooper were previously attached to the project, but the rights are now in the hands of another King regular, Thomas Jane. No stranger to King's dominion, Jane has had starring roles in "The Mist," "Dreamcatcher," and "1922." Last we heard, the actor will now co-produce the film with his Renegade Entertainment production company, with Jim Mickle of "Stake Land" and "We Are What We Are" set to direct. The movie is currently in pre-production, and could potentially release in 2023 if the project moves forward. 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Though many fans report discovering Stephen King in their childhood and early teens (as almost any episode of The Kingcast could tell you), the author has rarely written an explicit YA novel. His fantasy adventure "The Eyes of the Dragon," dedicated to his then 13-year-old daughter, and "Charlie the Choo-Choo," an eerie children's story from the world of "The Dark Tower" series and published under the pseudonym Beryl Evans, stand as two notable exceptions. Though marketed to adults, his 1999 novel "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" has a definite YA feel. Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland becomes lost in the Maine wilderness after wandering off the trail to avoid her bickering family. What follows is a harrowing battle for survival as she navigates the unforgiving landscape with only her wits and her walkman on which she listens to Red Sox games starring her hero Tom Gordon to find the will to keep going.

The story consists mostly of internal monologue as Trisha traverses the wilderness alone, making it ideal reading for young adults looking for inspiration in overcoming insurmountable odds. In 2020, word broke that Lynne Ramsay ("We Need to Talk About Kevin," You Were Never Really Here") would be helming an adaptation. Ramsay specializes in depicting complex internal upheaval, making this an ideal pairing. No updates have surfaced since the initial announcement, so for now we will have to make do with the gorgeous pop-up book telling a modified version of the story.

Mrs. Todd's Shortcut

Another fan favorite from "Skeleton Crew," "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" serves as a precursor to Stephen King's eclipse phase, a stretch of novels in the '90s focused heavily on female characters. The series includes "Gerald's Game" (1992), "Dolores Claiborne" (1993), "Insomnia" (1994), and "Rose Madder" (1995), but was arguably sparked by Ophelia Todd's desire "to drive." Mrs. Todd is a society housewife who distracts herself from an unsatisfying life by cataloging the fastest route between various points on the map. While exploring the backroads of rural Maine, she finds herself drifting into other worlds and finding empowerment not available to her in this one.

Though the story is particularly beloved among King's female fans, it's never been seriously considered for an adaptation. Given mixed reviews for Apple TV+'s 2021 series "Lisey's Story," adapted from the novel with similar themes, there may not be much industry appetite for another story about a woman exploring her place in the universe. If the story does ever get picked up by a studio, Pablo Larraín would be a fantastic choice at the helm. The visionary director has proven to be adept at handling the both mystical and symbolic aspects of King's work. His directorial efforts in "Lisey's Story," adapted by King himself, is a beautiful tapestry of timelines and emotional threads suggesting Larraín's visual palette would be a perfect fit for the wild unknown in which Mrs. Todd explores.


"Insomnia" is "The Dark Tower" adjacent and an early linchpin propelling the final three novels in Stephen King's epic series. Ralph Roberts is a recent widower who finds himself dealing with the titular affliction in the throes of his grief. He begins to notice strange things on his pre-dawn walks through Derry, Maine, including the auras of people he encounters and little bald doctors wielding large scissors who seem to have a cosmic connection to the cycles of life. As he digs deeper into the mystery, he and his neighbor, Lois, find themselves drawn into events that could twist the fabric of reality and threaten the future of King's multiverse.

An oddball of a novel, "Insomnia" is another title not often in the adaptation conversation. It would be a daunting story to take on given the novel's length and the metaphysical elements of the plot. The story's massive length, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, combined with its elderly protagonists is not likely to have Hollywood chomping at the bit. But, the novel's subplot about abortion activists and a lone wolf terrorist driven by misinformation would be especially timely, as would the story of a young mother fleeing an abusive marriage. The central love story is one of King's best, and constant readers would likely flock to theaters just to see the wild conclusion's flying catfish finally brought to life.

The Long Walk

"The Long Walk" is widely regarded as the best Richard Bachman book. Originally published under Stephen King's pseudonym, the story follows a group of 100 boys who set out on a long walk as part of a dystopian game show. Forced to keep a certain pace, they must walk until they literally drop dead from exhaustion or receive the last of three warnings at the end of a soldier's rifle. Rarely supernatural, Bachman's stories are known to be grounded in bleak reality, though "The Long Walk" may be the most sentimental of the seven novels that bear his name. Though the death count is high, King explores humanity through the doomed contestants providing a beautiful examination of life's unexpected turns.

Given the novel's popularity, not to mention the abundance of reality TV competitions, it's a wonder this story has never been translated to the screen. Frank Darabont held the rights for years but was never able to get the project off the ground. In 2019, New Line announced a planned adaptation for "The Long Walk" with André Øvredal at the helm. Fresh off of positive reviews for his other YA horror adaptation, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," the Norwegian director may be the perfect fit for this poignant tale of disaffected youth. Though the production was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in late 2020 Øvredal reported that the adaptation is still walking steadily forward.

The Institute

One of Stephen King's recent novels, "The Institute" also marks a return to form of sorts with a plot reminiscent of the author's early work. A group of kids with powerful psychic abilities are abducted and held captive in the titular government facility. When not the subjects of horrific experiments, they serve as psychic assassins directed at political targets chosen by the shadowy agency. The novel received mostly positive reviews and spent many weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list.

David E. Kelley was so excited by the novel's hook that he reportedly snapped up the rights to the story within 24 hours of its publication. Teaming up with Jack Bender, he announced plans for a limited series in conjunction with Spyglass Media Group. The project is currently in pre-production as Kelly and Bender prepare for another trip into King's dominion. The two previously worked together on the series adaptation "Mr. Mercedes," starring Brendan Gleeson as King's Bill Hodges. Few details have emerged about the specifics of the production, but as of February 2022, the project was still on track. A successful adaptation of "The Institute'' could potentially clear a path for classic King stories like "I Am the Doorway" and "Beachworld."

The Jaunt

"The Jaunt" is easily one of Stephen King's best short stories. First published in a 1981 edition of The Twilight Zone Magazine, the tale chronicles Victor Carune's invention of a teleportation device known as the Jaunt. A father tells his children the story while sitting in an airport-like portal in Schenectady, preparing to teleport to the now colonized surface of Mars. The game-changing technology comes with a dreadful warning: While the technology provides instantaneous travel to any place with a corresponding portal, it can only be traversed while asleep as the liminal space between worlds has been known to drive Jaunters mad. The shocking conclusion, one of King's best endings, presents a haunting question about the limits of time and the boundaries of reality.

With its long stretches of technical flashbacks and cosmic undertones, the phenomenal story has long proved intimidating to filmmakers. After sitting in limbo for six years, Dave Erickson of "Fear the Walking Dead" fame signed on to adapt "The Jaunt'' as part of a larger deal with MRC Television. Though the story itself is relatively short, clocking in under 30 pages in most editions, Erickson plans to convert the story into an open-ended series. While adaptations never happen instantaneously, there is a bitter irony in the journey from page to screen seeming to take forever.

The Dark Tower

"The Dark Tower" series is undeniably Stephen King's magnum opus. With eight formal novels, a handful of adjacent stories, and fingers that weave their way through the author's five-decade career, it is the glue that holds all King worlds together. Though the series is a worldwide best seller with a strong cult following, the story of Roland Deschain traversing the lands of Midworld on his quest to save the Tower has also proved notoriously difficult to adapt. The sheer volume of the story, along with the mind-bending narrative leaps, and metatextual twists are themselves a literary feat without the added complication of visually bringing them to life.

A planned series from Glen Mazzara ("The Walking Dead") and Amazon Studios recently fell apart. The 2017 loose adaptation from Nikolaj Arcel fared only marginally better. Despite the inspired casting of Idris Elba as the iconic Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as the devilish Man in Black, the film disappointed both die-hard fans and general audiences alike, earning mostly negative reviews and squashing any chance for related sequels. However, with the recent success of Denis Villeneuve's "Dune," another high-profile adaptation of a beloved but complex text, hopes arise that maybe the white whale of King's chronology will finally find a worthy adaptation.

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