Unreal Power Rankings: Top 5 Movies Based on Stephen King Stories

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We’re gonna introduce a new type of article here at Unreality called Power Rankings.  We often make lists or categorize certain actors, roles, scenes, etc., but without much regard to order or rank.  With Power Rankings, though, we’ll actually rank whatever it is we are categorizing.  For our first, let’s rank the five best movies based on Stephen King stories.  Some of the movies on the list are obvious, but you may not know that some of the movies were based on a King story to begin with.  Don’t agree with my rankings?  Feel free to comment and correct me.  Ad hominem attacks are also welcomed.  Power Rankings begin after the jump:

5.  Carrie

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With apologies to The Running Man, The Mist, and the made-for-TV movies The Stand and It, Brian De Palma’s Carrie comes in at number five.  Carrie White, after years of torment from just about everyone – including her own mother – discovers that she has the power of telekinesis.  The girl goes through a lot, and you can’t help but feel sorry for her.  Getting your first period in front of your classmates has got to be rough enough, but the bucket of pig blood that is spilled on Carrie at the prom is just plain cruel.  Carrie snaps and unleashes her telekinetic power, killing just about all her fellow students in the gym where the prom is held.  This classic climactic scene – along with the later-parodied “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” shouts from Carrie’s mother – land Carrie in the top five of these Power Rankings.

4. Stand By Me

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Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Cory Feldman, River Phoenix, a young, fat Jerry O’Connell, and Keifer Sutherland, Stand By Me is based on the story “The Body.”  Four young friends set out to find a dead body and bond along the way, fleeing from junkyard golden retrievers named Chopper, having deep discussions concerning what type of animal Goofy is, and listening to Gordie’s stories.  Who can ever forget the Lardass Barf-O-Rama?  Stand By Me makes the top four because of its uncanny tendency to give the audience a sense of nostalgia for their childhood friends.  And also because of the scene where Gordie gets a leech on his balls.  Truth.

3. Misery

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Also directed by Rob Reiner, Misery told the story of author Paul Sheldon, nursed to health after a car accident and then made prisoner by a psychotic fan.  Kathy Bates earned a Best Actress award for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes, and this was no fluke; never have I found a chubby middle-aged woman so terrifying.  The movie is a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel, with one exception being the infamous hobbling scene.  In the movie, Annie breaks Paul’s ankles by setting a block of wood between them and then blasting them with a sledgehammer.  In the book, she cuts off his foot and burns the stump.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

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I’m guessing that a lot of people don’t know that this movie was based on a Stephen King short story.  If you did, cool, but I generally believe that it’s tough to go wrong underestimating the knowledge of the general public.  I mean, didn’t we have a Vice Presidential candidate that thought Africa was a country, not a continent? Amazing.  But the point of this article ain’t politics, it’s movies, so let’s get back to Shawshank.  Andy Duphresne (played by Tim Robbins) is a fascinating character, maintaining his honesty and personal moral code in a realm filled with criminals and crooked guards.  His integrity is rewarded by the end of the film, as after escaping prison and screwing (not literally) the warden, he meets up with Red in Mexico to live the rest of his life free and peacefully.  A lot of people consider Shawshank one of their favorite movies and I agree, it’s great, but it’s not the best on this list.

1. The Shining

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I don’t know where to start with the Shining, to be honest.  I recognize that the movie is quite different from the book, but that shouldn’t affect the movie’s position on this list; it was still based on a Stephen King story.  Word is that King hated Kubrick’s film, which I think can only be a good thing, considering how many awful movie adaptations King has endorsed.  The Shining is classified as a horror film – and it is scary – but this film transcends that genre.  Nicholson’s performance, the score, and the pacing of this movie are just about perfect, but what stands out the most is the cinematography.  I think my favorite shot in movie history is when, with the use of the Steadicam, we follow Danny on his Big Wheel through the Overlook Hotel.  Every sharp turn that Danny makes, we make, and you can almost feel the texture of the ground as Danny rides over alternating patches of carpet and wood.  There are so many ways to film a child riding his Big Wheel through a hotel, but Kubrick’s vision gives us a tense, uneasy ride the whole way through.  And then, when Danny stops, we see the creepy little girls who were butchered years ago in the very same hotel.  The Shining is more than just a horror movie.  It’s just about perfect and the best movie ever based on a Stephen King story.

Agree?  Disagree?  Wanna make out?