There are very few writers who deliver as many stories as Stephen King has. He is one of the most-read authors in the world, and while one of the reasons behind this achievement is his exceptional storytelling, it can also be credited to the sheer number of novels he has written over the course of his very long and successful career. King has dipped his toe in a number of genres, however, the one that his name has become synonymous with is horror. He has based the stories on already established supernatural creatures, and if he didn’t find any, he created scarier things out of thin air.
From sci-fi worlds to the coven of witches, with every new book, King has spun his web to create dangerous worlds. He has chosen interesting set-ups for his stories, often deriving inspiration from the common things around him. And in doing so, he had presented a possibility for paranoia, anytime you find yourself in a situation even remotely similar to one of his characters. If you are one of his fans, then following is the list of really good Stephen King movies and TV series on Netflix that are available to stream as of today.
7. Cell (2016)
The only reason that I have included this film on this list is that right now, the options are very limited on Netflix. This is not an ideal adaptation and unless you have a serious craving for a King story, I’d rather suggest you steer clear of it. On the other hand, you might not want to blindly agree with me and would rather watch and decide for yourself. In that case, let me give you a hint of what you’ll be getting yourself into.
By now, you might have seen a lot of movies and TV shows about zombies. Every film tries to come up with new theories about humans turning into mindless cannibals, and how a bunch of people survive this apocalypse. If there is one person you can trust with experimenting in the horror genre, it is Stephen King. In this story, he presents the world with a new possibility of how people will eventually turn into zombies. The answer is cell phones! (There’s a reason you parents ask you to spend less time on your phones. Now you know why!) The film follows the story of a man named Clay Riddell, who is on his way to meeting his family. Before boarding the plane, he decides to make a call, and this one phone call changes the whole world around him.
6. The Mist (2017)
Frank Darabont’s 2007 film, ‘The Mist’ was an adaptation of a novella written by Stephen King. Over time, the film gained a cult status and is best known for tinkering with the original ending to make it even worse. Some people have been scarred for life by that film. So, if you go into this series with the same expectation, then I should inform you in advance, you will be disappointed. ‘The Mist’ is one of those novels by King where the horror comes not from the supernatural creatures walking outside, but from the humans that dwell within. Religion, society, family, hope- there are many layers to this story, and this series had only begun to scratch the surface. There’s just a single season of this series, and it laid the ground for numerous mysteries in these ten episodes. You might find this show better than most people did, and maybe you’ll get indulged in the cliff-hangers. But you won’t get any closure, so I’ll not advise getting too attached.
The town of Bridgeville becomes the playground for some very dangerous creatures when a thick mist surrounds the whole place. People are forced to stay where they are because if they come out, the creatures in the mist will kill them. A church, a hospital and a shopping mall become the stages for the drama that unravels amongst the people trapped in these places.
5. Christine (1983)
What memories come to your mind when you think about your first car? How invested were you in taking care of it, keeping it up and running as well as you could? And how invested was the car in taking care of you? The last might not be applicable to you. But if it is, then you have a serious problem at hand. Learn something from Arnie’s story. Arnie had been a shy, awkward, mostly friendless teenager in school. He wanted to buy a car for himself but his parents won’t allow it. One day, Arnie gets the opportunity to become the owner of a car, named Christine. It is in very bad shape but comes at a good price, so Arnie decides to buy it and starts repairing it himself. As the shape of the car gets better, Arnie’s life begins to change too. He loses his specs, becomes popular in school and even gets a girlfriend. These sudden changes in himself don’t catch his attention until the car starts behaving badly. The simple fact that it shows the behaviour of any sorts is a thing of concern. The situation becomes worse when people start to die because of it.
4. 1922 (2017)
We all do some bad things in our lives. For most of us, these things can be inconsequential stuff like lying to your family/partner or stealing something common. It is safe to say that these menial sins wouldn’t keep you for long in the blistering heat of hell (or, the frostbiting cold, whatever time of the year it might be!). However, some people do terrible things. Even though they succeed in getting away with it, their conscience (if they have one) doesn’t stop nagging them. There’s a reason they say things like “what goes around comes around”. And if you need a story with such lessons, then ‘1922’ is an ideal choice for that. It starts with a man confessing to his crimes and then follows the events that led him to confession.
In 1922, Wilf and Arlette live in Nebraska with their teenage son. Their marriage has been facing some difficult times, and this is why their arguments escalate when they can’t find a common ground for a major decision in their lives. Arlette has recently inherited land and she wants to sell it so that they can move to someplace else. Wilf wants to cultivate the land, not wanting to leave the town. When his wife doesn’t fall in line with him, he conspires with his son to kill her.
3. Under the Dome (2013-2015)
This story is set in a small town called Chester’s Mill. The residents of this town are cut away from the rest of the world when suddenly a transparent dome descends over the whole place. As the people inside try to come to terms with this new situation, the outside world tries to destroy the dome, but to no avail. This barrier seems indestructible, impenetrable to anything, no matter how forceful it might be. When nothing proves useful, the townsfolk realise that they are on their own now. And this gives rise to tension in the new structure of the confined community.
Stephen King is a master at bringing out the complex nature of his characters. This isn’t the first time that he has experimented with a bunch of characters forced to survive in an isolated space. In the run of three seasons, ‘Under the Dome’ explored the scientific aspects of the mystery surrounding the Dome. But the key player was the reaction of the town towards the crisis. The town became a crucible for the study of human character. The show makes a good attempt of being as true to the story and characters of the books as any adaptation possibly can.
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2. Gerald’s Game (2017)
When we first meet Jessie and Gerald, we can tell that their relationship is going through a difficult time. The reasons for the degradation in their relationship become clear after some time, but before further clarity can be achieved, something terrible happens to them. They had made an attempt to rekindle the spark of their marriage and had arrived at an isolated lake house to spend some time alone. To spice up things, Gerald ties Jessie’s both hands to the bedposts, soon after which they start arguing with each other. Amidst this, Gerald dies of a heart-attack while Jessie is left on her own, tied to a bed with no one to save her. As the night falls, things become even scarier for Jessie and Gerald’s game becomes a horrific memory.
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1. The Shining (1980)
In terms of being a faithful adaptation, this film will be somewhere at the bottom of the list. ‘The Shining’ is one of Stephen King’s most popular novels and he has created a very compelling story in it. There was a follow-up novel to it (which is being adapted, as well), and it tied very well with the universe that King had worked so hard for. So, his resentment towards the director was understandable when the film took a totally different turn from the novel. I would have said that Stanley Kubrick threw the book out of the window while writing the screenplay for this film. But I can’t say this because I’m not sure if he had even read the book! There are a lot of differences between the novel and the film, right from the primary protagonist to some of the finer details of the story. Had any other filmmaker attempted this feat, he/she would have most probably received a lot of criticism from the fans and the critics. But no ordinary filmmaker made this. This is a work by Kubrick, and that’s why it so friggin’ good! The best decision that he made was to shift the focus of the story from Danny, the boy, to Jack, his father. Jack Nicholson worked his magic, and we got an iconic film.
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