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Survivor Type Is The Most Disturbing Stephen King Story Ever Adapted For The Screen

Stephen King has been one of the biggest purveyors of horror for nearly 50 years. From the terrors of adolescence in "Carrie" and "The Body" to the terrors of addiction in "The Shining" and "Doctor Sleep," King has long had his finger on the pulse of all the elements of human nature that make our skin crawl. 

Still, like any other author, King had a laundry list of stories written before he finally got signed to his first major publishing deal. Hence the existence of "Skeleton Crew," a collection of stories that he wrote before he got his big break, some of which were originally printed in anthologies and horror magazines.

The "Skeleton Crew" table of contents includes at least one story that most King fans will be familiar with in the form of "The Mist," but there are also several other creepily effective tales for fans to sink their teeth into in this collection. All the same, one of them might be too disturbing to ever be adapted as a major movie.

The premise of the story alone might be too much for audiences

"Survivor Type" is the scary tale of a surgeon, Dr. Richard Pine, who steals medicinal heroin from a hospital and sets out on a cruise ship to sell it as part of a series of side scams. Unfortunately, the ship sinks, leaving him as the sole survivor and forcing an injured Dr. Pine to fend for himself, with a broken leg, on a desert island.

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, Richard manages to save his heroin from the capsizing vessel. As he grows increasingly hungry, however, Dr. Pine begins performing surgery on himself and using the heroin to deal with the pain and horror of his circumstances. Richard details his stomach-churning journey in the pages of a diary, making it clear to the reader that the surgeon is slowly going insane.

As the gruesome story continues and Dr. Pine deteriorates further, he ends up amputating both of his legs as well as other parts of his body — and consuming them. Not surprisingly, his ravings in the diary become even more unhinged. Though the surgeon still believes — egotistically — that he will survive, as he is a "Survivor Type," the diary abruptly ends when a mad Richard finally amputates one of his hands.

There have been a couple of stabs at adapting the story

While Stephen King fans will have come to expect some truly frightening stories from the novelist, this one may be too much even for the author's most ardent readers. Still, there have been a couple of attempts to bring it to life. In 2012, Billy Hanson released a short film based on the story which is shot in a docudrama style and runs for 30 minutes in total (via IMDb). "Creepshow," a franchise that King was once a part of himself, delivered an animated take on the tale that features the voices of Keifer Sutherland and Joey King (via IMDb).

These efforts suggest that the story could one day make it to the silver screen, especially with oversight from someone like Mike Flanagan. He has already successfully adapted two of King's most challenging stories, "Gerald's Game" and "Doctor Sleep." 

On the other hand, the story just might be too disgusting for a major theatrical release. In fact, it might be for the best that "Survivor Type" remains relegated to the reader's imagination and those shorter iterations instead.