Stephen King has been terrifying readers since his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. And unsurprisingly, his ubiquity and quality have made for a lot of screen adaptations over the last four decades. They've varied in quality, but even the 'less successful' ones have often been interesting. Even more interestingly, with King far from an exclusive horror author, some of the best adapted movies completely sidestep the genre he's most famous for.
And so, on King's 69th birthday, we decided it apt (pupil) to run through the best and otherwise most notable. Where's your favourite on the list? Is your favourite on the list? If you're a desperate fan of Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, the answer is no, but please do read on anyway.
Pet Semetary (1989)
The movie: A young family moves into a new home. When the family pet dies, they bury it in a cemetery near their residence, and are understandably shocked when it comes back to life
What it got right: Director Mary Lambert isn't afraid to shove the gore up front and centre with this grizzly offering, a film that goes to surprising extremes, not least in the dead kid department. It's silly, but unnerving in all the right places.
Apt Pupil (1998)
The movie: Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) blackmails his new neighbour, Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen), whom he believes to be a Nazi war criminal.
What it got right: Disturbing depictions of domestic horror and some fantastic performances showed Bryan Singer had form after his stunning debut The Usual Suspects. Sadly, Apt Pupil is nowhere near as taut, but not many films are.
The movie: Uber-nerd Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) buys his first car, a red and white Fury tagged Christine, which may have a few secrets hiding under the hood.
What it got right: There's a pulpy charm to John Carpenter's haunted vehicle pic, with the auteur's characteristic focus on, er, characters keeping the engine purring nicely. Carpenter's score is also another streamlined beaut. The best film about a haunted car you're ever likely see. Take that, Transformers.
The Stand (1994)
The movie: There are two remake projects currently in the works - one an eight-part mini-series, the other made up of four movies - but this first stab at King's famously chilling tome stars Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald, whose town is on the brink of destruction-by-Biblical-apocalypse.
What it got right: Rob Lowe has a go at something different by playing a deaf mute, the special effects (glowy eyes!) make us nostalgic for the '90s, and the weaving of all the numerous characters' plot strands is admirable.
Salems Lot (1979)
The movie: Novelist Ben Mears (David Soul) and a young horror fanatic attempt to stop a vampire that's laying siege to their town.
What it got right: With Tobe Hooper behind the camera, Salem's Lot has a potent mood and a great protagonist in Mears, who transforms slowly from bookish author to all-out vampire slayer. Genuinely chilling in places.
The Running Man (1987)
The movie: In a post-apocalyptic future, convicts compete on a reality TV show against Gladiator-like opponents.
What it got right: Its premise was light-years ahead of its time (Hunger Games, anyone?) and director Paul Michael Glaser did well to bag an on-the-rise Arnold Schwarzenegger as his profanity-screaming hero. Sure, it's B-movie schlock at heart, but what's wrong with that?
The movie: A collection of five stories to chill the spine, all courtesy of Stephen King and director George A. Romero.
What it got right: Well, uniting those two prolific horror names, of course. If the end result isn't quite as earth-shaking as you were hoping, there's always the thrill of having King and Romero together in the opening credits.
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
The movie: When the mysterious Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves into town, he changes the lives of young Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his mother forever.
What it got right: The casting of Anthony Hopkins adds an extra layer of mystery (and inherent menace) to a character that could have been twee in the hands of a lesser talent. Emotionally complex and moving, this is one of the more low-key King adaptations, but it's all the better for it.
The Mist (2007)
The movie: David Drayton (Thomas Jane) holes up in a supermarket when a freak storm descends on his town, bringing with it godforsaken nasties.
What it got right: Director Frank Darabont's third stab at a King text resulted in this rip-your-own-eyes-out-because-its-just-that-depressing mood-killer. The atmosphere is palpable, Marcia Gay Harden gleefully cuts everybody around her down with poisonous barbs, and the finale will haunt you for days.
The movie: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) spends his life debunking supposed paranormal occurrences. Then he checks into the haunted room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel.
What it got right: By now, King's influence over the big screen was waning. But director Mikael Håfström reminds us how it should be done, stuffing his film full of atmosphere and grisly discoveries. The ending's a letdown, but this is an effective jumper.
The movie: Technically a TV mini-series, but who even remembers watching this on TV? Adapted from King's doorstep-sized tome, It follows a group of adults who fight back against a child-killing nasty from their youth.
What it got right: In retrospect, It is seriously flawed. But Tim Curry's performance as evil clown Pennywise is unforgettably terrifying, and for that alone, this earns its spot on the list.
Storm of the Century (1999)
The movie: Another mini-series, this four-hour epic sees the town of Little Tall Island hit by a storm that knocks out all communication with the outside world, and stops anyone from leaving until it's over. And while they wait for the storm to blow over, the town's residents have a mysterious murderer to deal with
What it got right: Well, not the runtime. But the ending makes it all worthwhile, and there are enough creepy moments along the way to keep you going. Ideal to pass the time on a dark and stormy night.
The Dead Zone (1983)
The movie: When he wakes up from a coma, Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) discovers that he's developed psychic abilities.
What it got right: Telekinesis as body horror? With director David Cronenberg on hand, that's what we get here, though the gore and violence is notably more restrained than Cronenberg's other work. Theres also Christopher Walken playing manic like only he can. Delicious.
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
The movie: When she's accused of killing her old employer, Dolores Claiborne's (Kathy Bates) estranged daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh) returns home to help. But the case only serves to stir up long-buried secrets.
What it got right: Five years after she blew our minds as Annie in Misery, Kathy Bates nailed it with another King property, bringing her A-game as the titular Dolores. Convincing as both the old and young woman, Bates wraps her tongue around some fantastic lines and manages to earn genuine empathy. An over-looked classic.
The movie: Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is an outcast at high school. Her own suspicions that she has telekinetic powers coincide with an impromptu invite to the prom.
What it got right: Brian De Palma's film is a love letter to cinema. With its meticulously planned camerawork, its long takes, its crash zooms and its careful-careful tension-cranking, Carrie is a wonder to behold. Sissy Spacek's far from bad, too.
The movie: After a horrific car crash, author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Convalescing at her home, Sheldon soon realises that fans aren't always the nicest of people
What it got right: Hiring Kathy Bates, for a start. As the hobblesome fanatic, she's terrifyingly believable not least when lurching from crazy-happy to plain crazy-crazy. It's a testament to director Rob Reiner that the single-location ploy doesn't get stale, too.
Stand By Me (1986)
The movie: Four young boys set out into the wilderness in search of a dead body.
What it got right: King's always excelled at two things, 1) eking out an element of truth in even the most fantastical premise, and 2) writing kids. With Stand By Me, he hit the motherlode, crafting a quartet of believable nerds and letting them tell the story at their own pace. Marvellous.
The Green Mile (1999)
The movie: John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is arrested for rape and murder, but as he gets to know the guards on Death Row, their opinions of him begin to change.
What it got right: In short, heartstring-pluckage. Long-time King fan Frank Darabont handles the source material with obvious reverence, and his film is a tender, moving portrait of miscarried justice. Great performances, too.
The Shining (1980)
The movie: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife (Shelley Duvall), and their young son go to look after an isolated hotel over the winter, where Jack begins to lose his mind.
What it got right: According to Stephen King, nothing. But Kubrick's immaculately directed chiller has so many well placed scares and unforgettable images that we'd have to respectfully disagree.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The movie: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sent to prison for murder. There, he meets Ellis Boyd Red Redding (Morgan Freeman), and starts to plan his escape.
What it got right: Famously shunned at the cineplexes, Shawshank found its redemption in the home video market, where it was soon acknowledged as a modern classic. How anybody overlooked it at the cinemas is beyond us.