8 Stephen King Novels That Are Long Overdue For Adaptation


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For over four decades now, filmgoers have been treated to a steady diet of Stephen King adaptations. Some are great, some are terrible, and some are a bit of both—but when you factor in all the movies, TV series, and short films, King has over 200 screen credits to his name. Thanks to the success of last year’s It, the author is enjoying something of a renaissance, at least as far as movies and TV are concerned (as of this writing, over 30 new adaptations are in various stages of development and King-centric miniseries Castle Rock is set to premiere next Wednesday).

While it seems likely that every King novel will get adapted sooner or later, there are still some major works that have yet to be brought to the screen. Even if you eliminate King’s short stories and limit your search to his novels (and novellas), you’ll discover that many are long overdue for adaptation. Here are eight prime examples:

1. Rage


Originally published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, this disturbing novel about a school shooting has never been more timely—but don’t expect an adaptation any time soon. When the novel was linked to several real school shootings King allowed it to go out of print, though it remains available as part of The Bachman Books.

2. The Long Walk


The most celebrated of all the Bachman novels, The Long Walk was almost brought to the screen by King super fan Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) following the success of 2007’s The Mist. While this adaptation ultimately fizzled, another attempt was recently announced, continuing the project’s incredibly long walk to theatres.

3. The Eyes of the Dragon


One of King’s first forays into fantasy, The Eyes of the Dragon was once planned as an ambitious animated movie, but that project fell through in 2000. In recent years there has been rumour of a TV adaptation—building on the success of Game of Thrones, presumably—but the status of that project is unknown… for now.

4. Insomnia


You may have trouble sleeping when you hear what’s being planned for 1994’s Insomnia. According to King, efforts are underway to transform this sprawling novel into a virtual-reality series. “The VR thing is still percolating away,” he said in October. “I don’t think it’s dead or anything like that, although I haven’t heard about it lately.”

5. Rose Madder


Like Insomnia, Rose Madder has been sitting un-adapted since the mid-’90s, but Israeli director Assaf Bernstein (Fauda) is currently attempting to get a movie off the ground. “Stephen King’s literary universe has greatly influenced me as a writer and filmmaker,” he said last July. “Rose Madder is a terrifying and exhilarating thriller that will make for a compelling parable of the battle between the sexes… Rose is a once-in-a-lifetime role for an actress.”

6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon


The story of a 9-year-old girl who gets separated from her family and stranded in a forest, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was adapted and very nearly directed by late, great horror auteur George A. Romero. While he never managed to secure financing, this slim novel remains ideal movie material.

7. From a Buick 8


Around the same time that Romero was trying to get his Tom Gordon script made, he was also shopping around an adaptation of From a Buick 8. A year after the director’s death it seems both of these projects followed him to the grave, but don’t be surprised if new incarnations emerge in the years ahead.

8. Lisey’s Story


Writer-director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is attached to direct a movie adaptation of Lisey’s Story—King’s favourite of all his novels—but the author would rather see it adapted for TV. “When you do a movie from a book, there’s this thing that I call the sitting on a suitcase syndrome,” he said in August. “That is where you try to pack in all the clothes at once and the suitcase won’t close. So it’s tough to take a book that is fully textured, and do it in two hours and 10 minutes. But as a TV show you have 10 hours.”

Eager for more King content? Check out the trailer for Castle Rock below.