5 Stephen King Stories That Still Haven't Been Made Into Movies


The prolific horror author has had a love/hate relationship with the big screen since the beginning, but there are still more stories worth adapting.

Movies based on books are as old as the concept of movies, but every adaptation is different. Some work jumps off of the page, begging to be depicted in a visual medium. Other books are declared unfilmable after one too many failed attempts. If there’s anyone who understands both those rankings and everything in between, it’s Stephen King and his fans.

In 1976, Brian De Palma directed Carrie, the first theatrically released film based on a Stephen King story. Over the 46 years and change since the release of Carrie, there has been more than one Stephen King movie released every year on average. Yet, thanks to his absurd library of work, there are still plenty of good options to choose from.


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The ideal time to make this book into a movie would’ve been the 90s. The book came out in 1994, amid King’s TV movie fame. It’s an appropriately strange story, bringing a lot of the most controversial elements of King’s style. The story follows an aging widower named Ralph who struggles to sleep more than an hour each night. As his body suffers the effects of restlessness, he begins to see impossible things in the world around him. Ralph becomes embroiled in the cosmic forces that govern the universe, diving into concepts of destiny, otherworldly beings, and multiversal travel. The story starts in a grounded place and gradually becomes ridiculous. The story features some distinctly out-of-place political elements, but it’s too weird to be ignored. A great filmmaker could make something truly haunting out of Insomnia.


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This film hasn’t hit the big screen for one obvious reason, it came out in 2021. Some of King’s stories sit on shelves for decades before some enterprising filmmaker snags them up. Later could very well be a hit crime film or even a limited series sometime down the line. As it stands, the novel is available as a fully-acted audiobook. The story follows Jamie Conklin, a teen with the power to see ghosts. His power comes in handy when a dangerous serial bomber turns up dead with one final explosive hidden away. After his chat with the deceased terrorist, he discovers that there’s more curse than blessing in his gift. Later was hailed as a return to form for King, and it’s the kind of story that would fit an adaptation well. There are a few seasons of occult detective fiction in the story if someone plays it right.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

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This 1999 novel is the closest of King’s unadapted work to big-screen success. The story follows a young lady who finds herself lost in the woods. As survival becomes more challenging, she’s forced to reckon with increasingly impossible visions. Like a lot of King’s work, the hero’s perception becomes unreliable, and the supernatural happenings become more questionable. It’s a simple wilderness survival story, and it came dangerously close to a film adaptation when it was released. George A. Romero was set to direct the film, but its production stalled in 2005. In 2019, two years after Romero’s death, the legendary filmmaker’s ex-wife teamed with other producers to get the film made. Most recently, We Need To Talk About Kevin director Lynne Ramsay signed on in 2020. Little more has been said in the three years since that announcement, but this King story might soon join the ranks of King’s massive cinematic library.


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Those who read King’s work know that a substantial chunk of his oeuvre was crafted under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The author’s relationship with the character grew stranger over the years. King wrote Blaze in the 70s, just before he wrote Carrie, and years before he came up with Bachman. The book was shelved in favor of Salem’s Lot, and it sat on that shelf for decades. In 2007, Blaze hit shelves. It was said to be found in the personal effects of the late Richard Bachman, while it actually sat unpublished for 30 years before King fully rewrote it. The story isn’t as timely as it used to be, but it is still viscerally engaging and powerfully emotional. It follows a mentally disabled criminal who kidnaps a rich man’s son as a final score. Blaze is a time capsule of King’s early work, uncovered through the lens of his modern style, and it could be an excellent adaptation in the larger context.


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This 2018 novel represents an interesting new level to King’s work. It takes a similar concept from King’s deeply problematic 1984 novel Thinner and replaces every other detail with a story about prejudice and humanity in a modern era. King is almost unrivaled in his understanding of small-town America, and his Castle Rock setting is beautifully well-realized. It’s short, smart, and charming in a way that a lot of King’s work simply isn’t. Elevation could make a beautiful science fiction fantasy story that would feel vastly different from the average King adaptation.

MORE: Why Stephen King’s Misery Deserves A Remake


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