We here at Screen Rant love us some Stephen King, the way we like roofs over our heads and food in our bellies. There’s just something essential about his work.
However, as even the most die hard reader knows, there have been an awful lot of bad adaptations of his work. The upcoming Cell has some toxic buzz attached to it, despite the straightforward source material and the reuniting of John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, who were so effective together in 1408, another King adaptation.
Still no matter how bad Cell is, it’s certain to have lots of company. Here are The 10 Worst Stephen King Movies Of All Time.
1. Cell (2016)
Seventeen years after appearing together in 1408, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson reunited for 2016’s Cell. Unfortunately, this time their efforts were nowhere near as successful. The plot centers on Clay Riddell (Cusack), who’s determined to reunite with his son after a malevolent electronic signal turns cell phone users into mindless killers. Along the way, he teams up with train driver Tom McCourt (Jackson) in order to better their chances of survival. While the novel was generally well-received for it’s technophobic take on the traditional zombie trope, the movie suffered a far less positive fate.
2. Graveyard Shift (1990)
1990’s Graveyard Shift still stands as one of the worst King adaptations. In a Maine textile mill where a drifter (David Andrews) has taken a job, several overnight employees of the mill have died recently, and the egomaniacal foreman (Stephen Macht) sends the drifter—and others—down into the basement of the mill to investigate. To put it politely, the short story didn’t translate well to the screen.
It’s kind of a shame, really, because the acting in Graveyard Shift isn’t bad. The movie even performed fairly well at the box office, eventually earning over $11 million. If you’re going to make the plunge and watch, keep an eye out for the performances of both Macht and Brad Dourif. You might know Dourif better as “Wormtongue” from The Lord of the Rings, but he does an excellent turn here as a crazy exterminator.
3. Thinner (1996)
Despite having excellent source material, Tom Holland’s 1990 adaptation of Thinner just couldn’t pull it off. When obese and morally bankrupt lawyer Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) accidentally runs over and kills a gypsy woman, he uses his court connections to get off the hook. The woman’s elderly father takes revenge by placing a curse upon Halleck, one which soon has him uncontrollably losing weight to the point of emaciation.
The premise is definitely scary, but the effect falls flat on the big screen—especially when we’re confronted with Burke in an atrociously fake latex fat suit that only gets slightly less hilarious as he sheds the pounds. The filmmakers also chose to make Billy’s wife (Lucinda Jenney) an adulterer, leaving the story without any sympathetic—or even likable—characters.