Since Carrie in 1978, Stephen King’s books have not only been best sellers, but his films have followed on in there path. Brian De’Palma’s ‘Carrie’ was a brilliant horror film, which dealt with horror in a very unique way. Although, Carrie White has telekinetic abilities, it is not this paranormal sense of horror that is portrayed until the end; it is the people surrounding her. Her mother, a religious maniac, who is portrayed brilliantly by Piper Laurie, is one of these people who torment Carrie. More so though, is Carrie’s classmates who terrorise her constantly through the film, before committing their most immoral crime upon her at the end. It is ‘people' that are the monsters in Carrie. I think that we can all agree, how awful High School can be, and the film adaptation captures this perfectly, showing how evil teenagers and especially teenage girls can treat each other.
King’s most famous and highly praised film adaptation is Stanley Kubrick’s 'The Shining', which I myself despised for many years as a horror film with any credibility. Jack Nicholson comes across as a maniac right from the start, rather than descending into a deep depression (as in the novel). Even 'King' dis-liked it, and later re-made the movie, writing the script himself. This was a much better film, because it stayed truer to the material in the book.
My personal favourite King movie is CUJO, probably, because I think that this is King’s most powerful book. I won’t give away the ending, but the book is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. The film decided to change itself from the novel, believing that it would be too traumatic for the audience. Things can be said for changing the end (it was too distressing) and also against (should we be censored?) In their roles, both Dee Wallace and the child, Danny Pintauro, who are stuck in a car with the rabid dog CUJO after them, give amazing performances.
King has had over sixty novel adaptations made into film, and he is a credit to the horror genre; he has taken on practically every type of horror and made a success of it; from vampires (Salem’s Lot), to psychological horror (Misery).
Is it fair though for one novelist to completely overtake the horror genre? Even now, after all these years his novels are best-sellers. Sure we have other authors such as Dean Koontz and Clive Barker, who have had their material made into horror movies, but none to the continuous success of King. I think this is due to Stephen, really being the ‘King’ of horror though, and say - “more power to him!”