Misery

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Rob Reiner, Andrew Scheinman, Jeffrey Stott, Steve Nicolaides
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, William Goldman
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Famed novelist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is the best selling author of a series of romance novels involving the character, Misery Chastaine. After finishing his latest novel, he departs from Silver Creek, Colorado to New York; he drives in the middle of a blizzard and his car goes off the road. He is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) and brought back to her home where she tends to his injuries.

She claims she is his number one fan, and goes on and on about how she cherishes Paul and the novels. At first, Annie seems to be a very kind nurse with a very happy-go-lucky attitude, but it becomes clear to Paul that she is psychotic. He lets her read his novel and she says that she disagrees with profanity, while she is feeding him, she loses control, spilling some soup on him, but regains control and humbly apologizes for her actions.

She then gets a copy of Paul’s already published book entitled, Misery’s Child the latest Misery novel and the last, as Paul has decided to go on writing other stories, including the one he has already finished. After he has “killed” Misery (who suffered a maternal death) in this story, Annie goes into a rage, almost killing Paul, she claims that she never contacted the hospital, his agent or family, or anyone else Paul knows. Annie then leaves and Paul decides to escape his room but she has locked the door making it impossible for him to leave. Annie comes to him the following morning and makes him burn his latest novel. Paul initially refuses, but then Annie starts pouring lighting fluid onto the bedspread, making it clear that she will set the bed on fire if Paul refuses.

Eighteen months later, Paul (now able to walk again) meets with his publishing agent in New York, in a restaurant, discussing his first non-Misery novel called The Higher Education of J. Philip Stone, which has become a real success. His agent asks if he wants to write a non-fiction book about his time with Annie, but Paul claims it would not be good for him. He then sees a vision of Annie as a waitress but turns out to be someone else. The waitress claims that she is his number one fan, to which Paul responds, “That’s very sweet of you.”

Creepshow

  • Directors: George A Romero
  • Producers: Salah M Hassnein, Richard P Rubinstein
  • Writers: Short Stories Screenplay, Stephen King
  • Genres: Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, E G Marshall, Stephen King, Joe King, Viveca Lindfors, Fritz Weaver, Carrie Nye, Ed Harris, Jon Lormer, Tom Atkins, Don Keefer, Robert Harper

(First story, written by King expressly for the film)

(Second story, originally titled “Weeds”, adapted from a previously published short story written by King)

(Third story, written by King expressly for the film)

(Fourth story, adapted from a previously published short story)

(Fifth and final story, written by King expressly for the film)

Carrie

  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Producers: Brian De Palma, Paul Monash
  • Writers: Lawrence D Cohen, based on a novel by, Stephen King
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a shy outcast, has her first period while showering after a P.E. class. She is humiliated by her classmates who tease her by chanting/screaming “plug it up!” The gym teacher, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley), breaks up the bullying. Miss Collins berates Carrie, but becomes horrified when she realizes Carrie has no concept of menstruation. At home, Carrie is harassed by her mother Margaret (Piper Laurie), a delusional religious fanatic, who tells her daughter the humiliation is a punishment from God for having her period.

The girls who teased Carrie are subjected to an athletic detention by Miss Collins, who then bans the chief instigator, Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen), from the upcoming senior prom for her refusal to participate. Another of the instigators, Sue Snell (Amy Irving), feels guilty for her actions and asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie initially refuses, thinking the invitation to be another trick, but Miss Collins’ comforting pep talk persuades her to agree.

When told about the prom, Carrie’s mother forbids her from going and warns her that Tommy will lead her into a life of sex. However, Carrie resists and in her anger, she displays telekinetic powers, causing her mother to believe her daughter is possessed by a demon. As Carrie firmly insists on going to the prom, her mother warns her that “They’re all gonna laugh at you!”

Some time afterward, Sue, the sole survivor, is seen walking up to the empty lot where Carrie’s house once stood. She sees a “For Sale” sign planted in some rocks, “CARRIE WHITE BURNS IN HELL” written across it with lipstick. As Sue gently kneels down to put flowers at the base of the sign, Carrie’s bloody hand reaches up and grabs her. Sue then wakes up screaming and shaking in the arms of her mother (Priscilla Pointer).

The Mist

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer
  • Writers: Screenplay, Frank Darabont, Novella, Stephen King
  • Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden, Nathan Gamble, Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Frances Sternhagen, Andre Braugher

The morning after a violent thunderstorm, commercial artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his wife Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz) witness an unusual mist moving towards their lakeside home. More immediately concerned with cleaning up in the aftermath of the storm, David and neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), along with David’s five-year-old son Billy (Nathan Gamble), go to the local grocery store, which, like the rest of the community, was left without power. While at the store, an increasing amount of police activity in the streets draws the attention of the patrons, culminating with Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) running to the store with a bloody nose warning of something dangerous in the oncoming mist. Seeing the mist roll over the parking lot and hearing the scream of a man who ventures outside, the store patrons heed Miller’s advice and seal themselves within the store, which is soon shaken by violent tremors. With visibility reduced to near-zero outside and uncertainty surrounding the fate of the man heard screaming before, a siege mentality takes hold. Unable to convince anyone to escort her back home to her children whom she left alone, a mother of two (Melissa McBride) departs into the mist by herself.

Driving through the mist, David returns home to find his wife has fallen victim to the spider-like creatures. Heartbroken, he drives the group south, witnessing the destruction left in the wake of the mist and encountering a tentacled beast towering hundreds of feet high. Eventually, they run out of gas without finding any other survivors. While Billy is sleeping, the four adults accept their fate, deciding that there is no point in going any further. With four bullets left in the gun and five people in the car, David shoots Amanda, Dan, Irene, and his son, Billy, to spare them a more violent death by the creatures. Sobbing, he attempts to shoot himself with the now-empty gun before exiting the vehicle to let the creatures in the mist take him. He hears what sounds like a creature moving toward him, but it is soon revealed as a Howitzer self-propelled gun, followed by a large contingent of soldiers equipped with NBC suits and flamethrowers. As the mist parts, several trucks filled with survivors pass David; among them the mother whom nobody from the store would escort and her two children. Realizing that the killings were needless and that he had been driving away from help the entire time, David falls to his knees screaming while two soldiers watch him in confusion.

Stand by Me

  • Directors: Rob Reiner
  • Producers: Bruce A Evans
  • Writers: Stephen King, Bruce A Evans, Raynold Gideon
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama
  • Actors: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O Connell, Kiefer Sutherland

Stand by Me is a coming of age film set in the fictional Castle Rock, Oregon in 1959. It portrays a journey embarked upon by four 12-year-old boys across the woodlands near their hometown to see the dead body of another boy who was close to their own age. The film is told through the recollections of the main character, Gordie LaChance, a freelance writer. It describes how his friend Vern overheard his older brother discussing the body of a missing boy after accidentally coming across it in the woods with his friend.

The lead characters journey into the woods to find the body of a boy named Ray Brower, who was struck by a train while picking berries in the woods. Through the boys’ misadventures and conversations, the viewer learns about each character’s personality. Each of the boys, for varying reasons, lives in the shadow of their fathers and older brothers. Gordie’s talent for storytelling (as illustrated by his improvised short story “Lard-Ass”) pegs him as the most likely of the four to have a promising future.

The film contrasts the four main characters, who are depicted as well-meaning and relatively virtuous, with a gang of bullies called the “Cobras”, who are led by local hood “Ace” Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland). Crucial to the story are the often sophomoric interpersonal exchanges among the four main characters. Terms that director Rob Reiner fondly remembers using during his childhood, such as “two for flinching” and “pinky swear”, were resurrected by the film.[1]

The Shining

  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Producers: Stanley Kubrick, Jan Harlan, Martin Richards
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Jack Torrance arrives at the Overlook Hotel for a job interview. Manager Stuart Ullman warns him that the previous caretaker got cabin fever and killed his family and himself during the long winter in which the hotel is entirely isolated. The hotel itself is built on the site of an Indian burial ground. Jack’s son Danny has had terrifying premonitions about the hotel. His mother, Wendy, tells a visiting doctor about Danny’s imaginary friend “Tony”, and that Jack, her husband, had given up drinking because he had physically abused Danny after a binge.

The family arrives at the hotel on closing day, and is given a tour. The elderly African-American chef, Dick Hallorann, surprises Danny by speaking to him telepathically and inviting him for an ice cream. He explains to Danny that he and his grandmother shared the gift; they called the communication “shining.” Danny asks if there is anything to be afraid of in the hotel, particularly Room 237. Dick tells Danny that the hotel has a certain “shine” to it and many memories, not all of them good, and advises him to stay out of room 237 under all circumstances.

A month goes by; Jack’s writing project is going nowhere, Wendy is concerned about the phone lines being out due to the snow storm, and Danny is having more frightening visions. Jack tells Danny that he genuinely loves and cares for him, and that he would like to stay in the hotel forever.

Danny has written “REDRUM” in lipstick on the door of Wendy’s bedroom. When she looks in the mirror, she sees that it is “Murder” spelled backwards. Jack picks up an axe and begins to chop through the door leading to his family’s living quarters. In a frantic maneuver, Wendy sends Danny out through the bathroom window but Wendy can’t escape the same way because the window sticks half-way. Jack then starts chopping the bathroom door down with the axe. When Jack has almost hacked his way through, he pushes his face into the splintered wood and calls “Here’s Johnny!” with homicidal intent. [2] As Jack attempts to unlock the door, Wendy swipes at his hand with a butcher knife; Jack backs off and starts prowling around the hotel. Hallorann enters, but is killed by Jack, by putting a axe through his chest, who then chases Danny into the hedge maze. Danny manages to evade his father by walking backwards in his own tracks. Wendy and Danny escape in Hallorann’s vehicle, while Jack freezes to death in the hedge maze. The final shot of the movie is of an old photograph taken at the hotel on July 4, 1921 in which Jack Torrance is clearly visible while Midnight, the Stars and You[3] is being played through the hallways.

The Shawshank Redemption

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Niki Marvin
  • Writers: Novella, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore

In 1947, a banker named Andrew “Andy” Dufresne[1] is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. At the prison, inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding is rejected for parole after having served twenty years of his life sentence shortly before Andy’s arrival. Andy gradually becomes acquainted with Red’s circle of friends, and Red himself, who is known for cleverly smuggling in contraband. After a month of adjusting to his new life, Andy approaches Red and asks him to get a rock hammer, intending to pursue a hobby of rock collecting. Red supplies the hammer for ten dollars, and later fills Andy’s request for a poster of Rita Hayworth.

One day in 1949, while tarring the roof of Shawshank’s license plate factory, Andy overhears the captain of the prison guards, Captain Hadley, bitterly complaining about the taxes he will have to pay on a forthcoming inheritance. Andy approaches Hadley with a solution that will allow him to keep the entire inheritance tax-free; though Hadley nearly throws Andy off the roof initially, Andy’s willingness to set up the transaction for the cost of beer for the tarring crew wins Hadley’s respect. Prior to this, Andy had frequently been beaten and sexually assaulted by a gang called “The Sisters”, led by inmates Bogs and Rooster. After a particularly vicious beating at the hands of the Sisters lands Andy in the infirmary, Bogs returns to his cell from a week in solitary confinement to find Captain Hadley there. Hadley inflicts a brutal nightstick beating on Bogs, which leaves him paralyzed. Bogs is sent away to a state hospital, and the message to the Sisters is clear; Andy is never bothered again.

The next year, 1967, Red is finally released on parole after serving 40 years at Shawshank. Red is afraid of “the outside”, dreading living in fear, worried that he would end up committing suicide once outside of the prison’s strict regime, as fellow prisoner Brooks Hatlen had done. Ironically, he’s given the same room and the same job Hatlen had. But instead of committing suicide, Red recalls his promise to Andy and heads to the field in Buxton that Andy told him about. He finds a small metal box containing money and instructions from Andy. He violates his parole and travels to Mexico, eventually reuniting with Andy in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast. Both of them are elated and hug each other when they meet at the coast.

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”