For years, horror and Stephen King fans considered the idea of remaking 1990’s IT with anyone besides Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown was a sacrilege. Come 2017 and Andy Muschietti’s IT is being hailed as one of the best cinematic offerings of the 21st Century with Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise already deemed iconic.
Suddenly, the idea of remaking a Stephen King movie for a second spin doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. True, a number of King-inspired movies deserve their designation as masterpieces (The Shining, Misery, Creepshow, and The Shawshank Redemption, for example) but most, objectively, are mediocre. Worse, some films based on Stephen King stories fall flat; these should definitely be considered candidates for a redux.
If you can’t stream, the 10 Stephen King movies that deserve another remake are listed below the video, along with trailers, synopses, and commentary. Enjoy!
Official Synopsis: Stephen King has proved that his works make great movie adaptations, but these ones are definitely misfires that could benefit from a second shot! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Stephen King Adaptations that Need to Be Remade! But what will take the top spot on our list? The Stand, The Langoliers, or The Dark Tower? Watch to find out!
Cujo (1983, Directed by Lewis Teague)
Official Synopsis: In this tale of a killer canine, man’s best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo is bitten by a bat, he starts behaving oddly and becomes very aggressive. As Cujo morphs into a dangerous beast, he goes on a rampage in a small town. Stay-at-home mom Donna (Dee Wallace) gets caught in Cujo’s crosshairs on a fateful errand with her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro). Stuck in their tiny car, Donna and Tad have a frightening showdown with the crazed animal.
While I wouldn’t say Lewis Teague’s Cujo needs a remake, I agree that a reboot done by the right director could up the intensity exponentially. A couple years ago, rumors of a bizarre Cujo sequel swirled; dubbed C.U.J.O. for “Canine Unit Joint Operations” never materialized—which is probably for the best!
Related Article: Upcoming Horror Movies: Horror Movie Remakes in the Works
The Dark Half (1993, Directed by George A. Romero)
Official Synopsis: Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) has had success writing novels under both his real name and his pseudonym, George Stark, which he uses to publish base thrillers. When word gets out that they are one and the same, the author holds a mock funeral for Stark. But after a rash of murders eerily similar to those in the Stark books, Thad and his wife, Liz (Amy Madigan), realize that Stark is real and responsible, and must work with local Sheriff Pangborn (Michael Rooker) to stop him.
I’ve never seen The Dark Half, so I’m talking WatchMojo’s word for it. It seems like a collaboration between Stephen King and George A. Romero would be instant gold, recapturing the magic that makes Creepshow such an enduring classic. Of course, the fact that I never felt compelled to give it a look-see myself probably proof of its mediocrity.
Secret Window (2004, Directed by David Koepp)
Official Synopsis: While in the process of an ugly divorce from his wife (Maria Bello), writer Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) relocates to his remote cabin in upstate New York for solitude. Attempting to recover his mental health, Rainey has the misfortune of being found by John Shooter (John Turturro), a farmer who claims Rainey plagiarized his work. At first, Rainey ignores the accusations, but Shooter has no intention of quietly disappearing. Soon, Shooter becomes increasingly vicious in his quest for retribution.
I have a soft spot of Secret Window, mostly thanks to John Turturro’s golden brilliant performance; still, the film’s quirky ending undermines an intense build-up and makes light of what should have been a harrowing descent into madness.
The Running Man (1987, Directed by Paul Michael Glaser)
Official Synopsis: In the year 2019, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is “The Running Man” — a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death. Having been made a scapegoat by the government, an imprisoned Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has the opportunity to make it back to the outside again by being a contestant on the deadly show, although the twisted host, Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), has no intention of letting him escape.
Stephen King’s The Running Man is a bleak and gut-wrenching tale with sociopolitical undertones, but the 1987 film adaptation is cheesy cash-grab made, it seems, purely to cash in on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rising star. A return to the story’s horror roots could make for a compelling feature film, as well as a timely examination of “Reality TV’s” prominence.
Salem’s Lot (1979, Directed by Tobe Hooper)
Official Synopsis: A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.
Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot is an underappreciated classic that remains surprisingly terrifying to this day. The window scene still gives me the shivers! In this case, however, another reboot would actually be a “3-make”, as Salem’s Lot was re-adapted in 2004 as a miniseries starring Rob Lowe; it was, not surprisingly, underwhelming. Given the IT treatment, Salem’s Lot could be a mega-hit.
Related Article: The Obscure Sequel to “Salem’s Lot” Nobody Knows Exists
Dreamcatcher (2003, Directed by Lawrence Kasdan)
Official Synopsis: “Dreamcatcher” tells of four young friends who perform a heroic act — and are changed forever by the uncanny powers they gain in return. Years later the friends, now men, are on a hunting trip in the Maine woods when they are overtaken by a blizzard in which something much more ominous moves. Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante, then overcome a threat to the bond between them.
Again, I kind of disagree with WatchMojo on this one. While Dreamcatcher isn’t the best Stephen King adaptation ever made, its nonetheless unique and hallucinatory. I’d much rather see a reboot of Silver Bullet or The Tommyknockers than another Dreamcatcher. Leave good enough alone, I say.
Pet Sematary (1989, Directed by Mary Lambert)
Official Synopsis: Doctor Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.
To be clear, Pet Sematary doesn’t need another adaptation; Mary Lambert’s 1989 release remains once of the most terrifying horror movies of the 1980s. Still, fans have been clamoring for a reboot for decades, and it looks like it’s finally going to happen. Read all about it in the link below.
Related Article: Directors Chosen for “PET SEMATARY” Remake!
The Langoliers (1995, Directed by Tom Holland)
Official Synopsis: Most of the passengers on an airplane disappear, and the remainder land the plane in a mysteriously barren airport.
Tom Holland is a legendary horror director and The Langoliers is an extremely tense and compelling story. Unfortunately, the budget given to this made-for-TV production was nowhere near what was necessary to manifest a truly worthy adaptation. I’d love to see Holland tackle this again as a feature film—and with a ton of money!
The Stand (1994, Directed by Mick Garris)
Official Synopsis: When a deadly virus escapes from a government research facility, few prove to be immune to its effects. With symptoms similar to the flu, those who come into contact with it quickly die. One survivor is Stu Redmond, a gas station attendant from Texas, who suffers no ill effects whatsoever. Kept in a medical research facility in Vermont, doctors try to determine why he is still alive. Others that also survive include Frannie Goldsmith who lives with her dad; Nick Andros, a deaf-mute; a rock musician, Larry Underwood; and Lloyd Henreid, in jail for murder. Survivors begin to have dreams, either about an old African-American woman, Mother Abigail, or a much scarier evil man.
Mick Garris did the best he could, but a story as brutal and epic as The Stand can’t be communicated in a made-for-TV miniseries. It would take at least a trilogy of R-Rated movies to do it justice.
The Dark Tower (2017, Directed by Nikolaj Arcel)
Official Synopsis: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.
One of the most recent Stephen King adaptations is one of the worst, but some might argue that The Dark Tower was doomed from the start. The idea of condensing multiple novels (written over multiple decades) into a single, 88-minute, PG-13 film is clearly ridiculous and destined to disappoint.
Related Article: In His Own Words: STEPHEN KING on Why “The Dark Tower” Movie Failed
About WatchMojo on YouTube: WatchMojo’s ten thousand videos on Top 10 lists, Origins, Biographies, Tips, How To’s, Reviews, Commentary and more on Pop Culture, Celebrity, Movies, Music, TV, Film, Video Games, Politics, News, Comics, Superheroes. Your trusted authority on ranking Pop Culture.
What do you think of WatchMojo’s list? Can you think of other Stephen King movies that could benefit from a second production (like IT)? Sound off in the Comments section!