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Stephen King Stories That Need To Be Adapted On Screen

There's really no one who has had their work represented in film and TV like legendary horror author Stephen King. The list of King's stories that get adapted grows each year, with some of those adaptations among the most widely watched and best-regarded horror films and TV shows in the genre. Novels and novellas like "Carrie," "It," "The Shining," "The Shawshank Redemption," and many more have graced the big screen and brought King's characters to life in iconic fashion. On the small screen, Hulu combined a bunch of King's stories in the hit series "Castle Rock," and "The Stand," one of King's most famous epics, was adapted twice, for ABC in 1994 and for Paramount+ in 2020. It's even wilder that there are King tales that are only now being adapted for the first time.

"Host" director Rob Savage's adaptation of "The Boogeyman" is set to hit theaters this June, while novels like "Billy Summers," "The Long Walk," and "From a Buick 8" are in development. Yet even with many of King's books and short stories having been adapted for movies and shows, there are still some stories that haven't been approached. Let's look at the untouched Stephen King stories that we would love to see brought to the big and/or small screen.

The Eyes of the Dragon

What instantly makes "The Eyes of the Dragon" stand out is that it isn't a horror story. Rather, it's a medieval fantasy epic from Stephen King that brings fans into a world of royal betrayal and magic. The story follows two sons of a fallen king whose power is coveted by the king's royal magician Flagg, and details the betrayal that comes at the hand of Flagg as he attempts to seize the throne. Like any great King story, it's a tale of complicated characters versus a power-hungry evil force that has plenty of great twists and turns that'll shock and even horrify readers.

"The Eyes of the Dragon" is definitely a unique deviation from what King is known for, yet contains enough of his style to mark it as his own take on a fantasy epic. There have been several attempts to adapt the book, with all of them eventually falling through. From Syfy and Hulu attempting to turn the story in a TV series, only having it be canceled, to an animated film adaptation in the early 2000s that never went anywhere, "The Eyes of Dragon" seems a little tricky to adapt. However, if someone can get it right, they could be looking at a hit, as a fantasy epic from King would definitely catch peoples' eyes.


Considered to be a "trunk novel" that Stephen King "found" in his attic, "Blaze" was technically written before "Carrie" but published in 2007. The story follows mentally-disabled con man Clayton Blaisdell Jr — better known as Blaze — detailing the crimes he commits and the horrific life he had growing up. Although his former partner-in-crime George is long dead, Blaze still hears his voice whispering in his ear and telling him to perform his next crime — to steal the baby of a millionaire. Oddly enough, Blaze begins to form a bond with the baby, named Joe, that makes him reflect on his life and think about Joe's life going forward.

"Blaze" has all the makings of a great psychological horror-drama with a strong character-driven narrative and some supernatural elements to make it a chilling viewing experience. It would easily work as a TV series that would let Blaze's slow-burning realizations and reflections simmer to a roaring boil and let audiences immerse themselves deeper into the thrilling story. While "Blaze" may not be a major King work, it's the kind of story that could hook wider audiences, and its history of going from trunk to TV would likely be a great narrative around the adaptation.


Another supernatural thriller from Stephen King that delves into his wider universe and takes place in a familiar location for King fans is "Insomnia." Set in Derry, Maine (the same setting as "It" and "Dreamcatcher"), the story follows Ralph, a retired widower whose insomnia allows him to perceive ghostly auras and hidden entities. This new power draws Ralph into a greater conflict between two higher powers known as the Purpose and the Random. Along with connections to other King works set in Derry, "Insomnia" also heavily references "The Dark Tower" as Ralph can see the titular tower in his visions.

With an "It" prequel series in development at HBO Max and a "Dark Tower" series also in the works from "Doctor Sleep" director Mike Flanagan, there's surely a place for "Insomnia" to be adapted as well. While it would be nice to see Ralph referenced or possibly even show up in either series since he has big connections to both, it would be even better to see him lead a series adaptation of "Insomnia." It's a story full of haunting potential, which would evoke some chilling imagery that King fans would gush over.

Rose Madder

Although "Rose Madder" has some familiar Stephen King story trappings, it takes a unique route with its ideas by utilizing some intriguing lore for its titular supernatural figure. The story follows a woman named Rosie who leaves her abusive husband Norman to start a new life in a distant city. There, she comes across a painting of a woman in a rose madder-colored gown and finds the woman in the painting appearing in real life. With this supernatural connection, Rosie finds herself compelled into a new world just as Norman has her in his grasp again. 

Domestic violence is a common part of many of King's character struggles, but with "Rose Madder" there's a more personal feel to it that makes it even more horrific. Rosie's personal journey, from her initial escape to her relationship with the rose madder woman, has potential to be an empowering arc. There's also some Greek mythology embedded into "Rose Madder," which is pretty unusual for a King novel, but makes for a tense scene of Rose facing a one-eyed bull called Erinyes. It could also be interesting to see Norman using his skills at finding missing people as a way to get closer to Rose. Adaptations of "Rose Madder" have been attempted in the past — both as a TV movie in the late '90s and a film in 2011 — but maybe now someone can get it right and bring this underrated King story to wider audiences. 

Duma Key

Another Stephen King story dealing with powerful art is "Duma Key," a strange supernatural novel that feels like a classic cautionary tale of gaining horrifying power. Edgar Freemantle is a man who moves to the Florida coast island of Duma Key to ease his mind after suffering mental and physical issues due to a near-death experience. There, Edgar rekindles his love for sketching, but finds that this beach house has a paranormal power of its own that bleeds into Edgar's art. With this new power, Edgar realizes that he can manipulate events in the outside world but that it comes with some unexpectedly terrifying consequences. 

The idea of a tormented artist's work altering reality sounds like the perfect King story to bring to life in live-action. There's plenty of potential for some incredibly horrifying imagery to be unleashed and the setting of Duma Key sounds incredibly eerie with its supernatural history and power. Also, Edgar's story in this setting could deliver some superb chills, as his personal life and trauma eventually become intertwined with this new power. "Duma Key" could be a great adaptation for a studio, TV network, or streamer to scoop up. 


Stephen King is no stranger to including religious aspects in his characters and stories, but his 2014 novel "Revival" sees him take religious horror to new heights. When a new minster and his family move to a small Maine town, they're instantly beloved by the entire community. However, after the minister's family suffers a grave tragedy, he turns his back on God and is banished from the town. Decades later, when he reunites with a boy from the same town who has a traumatic history of his own, the encounter has consequences for both men as it awakens an evil force that gives new meaning to the term "revival." 

The decades-spanning horror story is full of imagery that could captivate audiences and deliver religious horrors unlike anything seen by King fans before. It's an intense mix of psychological terror and demonic intrusion, with strong Lovecraftian overtones. There have been two attempted film adaptations of "Revival," by "New Mutants" director Josh Boone as well as "Doctor Sleep" filmmaker Mike Flanagan — both of whom have brought King novels to the screen before — but neither version has gotten out of development. Maybe it's just because "Revival" is too dark, or just too jam-packed with story and character development to be told over one film. Perhaps someone could adapt it as a limited series, where there would be time for the two central perspectives to unfold. 

Strawberry Spring

What's better than a Stephen King serial killer story? Not much, and an adaptation of his 1978 short story "Strawberry Spring" would give audiences a nostalgic mystery thriller that sees a blood-thirsty killer on the hunt. The story largely takes place at a fictional New England college in 1968 where, during a strawberry spring — an unusually warm period during late winter — a serial killer is on the loose. The mysterious murderer has left a trail of female victims in their wake and causes mass hysteria in the small community. 

With all the love for Netflix's slew of true-crime series lately, "Strawberry Spring" would be the perfect story for that audience to get sucked into. Its 1968 setting could offer some fascinating flashbacks to that time while also harkening back to the terror of that era. The story is essentially King's take on Jack the Ripper, which sounds interesting on its own, and the role the narrator plays in everything will definitely leave audiences shocked. Plus there was already a podcast adaptation done, with a pretty noteworthy cast, that shows how the material can be adapted. "Strawberry Spring" might sound pleasant as a title, but it could easily be one of King's more terrifying adaptations to date. 

I Am the Doorway

If you've been looking for a Stephen King story steeped in cosmic sci-fi to be brought to the big screen, then you should hope that someone adapts "I Am the Doorway." The story follows an astronaut whose interaction with an alien mutagen turns his hand into a gateway for other extraterrestrial beings. Eyeballs begin to sprout out of the astronaut's hand and act as the eyes of other entities able to peer into our world. The idea of eyeballs sprouting out of hands is already enough to gross anyone out, but coming from the mind of King makes it even more disturbing. 

"I Am the Doorway" has all the potential to be a mind-bending tale of losing one's humanity and spiraling into madness, and some of that potential has already been explored. In 2018, director Simon Pearce helmed a short film based on the story, which won several awards. Perhaps a big studio could tap Pearce to direct a feature adaptation since he's so familiar with the material and has had some success. On the other hand, it would be nice to see a director like Adam Egypt Mortimer make an attempt at "I Am the Doorway" since it's not too far off from the mind-bending concepts of his Vortex Trilogy. Regardless of who makes it, a full-length "I Am the Doorway" adaptation needs to happen. 

Everything's Eventual

King's 2002 collection "Everything's Eventual" has had some of its stories adapted into films before, most notably "1408" and "Riding the Bullet." But it's time that the titular story gets its own adaptation since it features a compelling main character that's got a sinister power. The novella follows a man named Dinky, who has a mental power that can cause those he doesn't like to perform unspeakable acts. Dinky is often on the run for what he's done but eventually becomes a weapon for a secret organization whose intentions aren't what they seem. 

"Everything's Eventual" is a great mix of paranormal horror and conspiracy thriller, meaning that it will likely have audiences on its hooks from start to finish. The mystery of Dinky's power makes him a complicated character with dark undertones and the tasks he's given by this secret organization have some horrifying secrets behind them. "Everything's Eventual" has all the great trappings of a gripping thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and would be awesome to see on the big or small screen.  

I Know What You Need

Believe it or not, King actually wrote a pretty compelling horror/romance short story called "I Know What You Need," which can be found in his classic "Night Shift" collection. College girl Elizabeth Rogan suddenly develops feelings for an outcast named Ed, who has the ability to perceive what makes others happy. Unfortunately, it never results in his own happiness and he begins to manipulate Elizabeth by making himself seem like what she needs. Eventually Elizabeth finds herself trapped in this strange relationship with Ed, as his true colors start to show. 

"I Know What You Need" is a timeless story about people's greatest fears in a relationship — that the good times will start to turn bad and the parts of someone you've tried to ignore will take a horrifying new form. It's rare to see King outwardly dive into romance, and with him putting his horror spin on the "girl meets boy" story, "I Know What You Need" could instantly intrigue audiences. Currently, a short film is in development from director Julia Marchese, and perhaps if she gets it made and it garners some acclaim, she could expand it into a feature film. Whether that happens or not, an "I Know What You Need" adaptation would be awesome to see. 


King's 2008 novella "N." has a lot of foreboding elements and is one of his more nerve-shredding shorter tales, making it primed for a big adaptation. The story follows a man named N., who sees signs of an impending apocalypse spurred by a set of stones in a field and an otherworldly entity wanting to enter our world. Other characters in the novella question if N.'s visions are just a product of him losing his sanity or a real threat that will upend their lives. Eventually, they all come to realize terrifying possibilities, making them ponder their fates and their own grip on reality. 

"N." is one of those tantalizing mysteries that grabs the reader from the start and twists one's beliefs and perspectives throughout the story. "N." has been adapted as an online video series as a marketing tool for the novella before its release, but it has the potential for a big adaptation. Oddly enough, Marvel Comics did its own limited series based on "N." although we imagine that a film or TV project would come from a traditional studio.


King's 1993 short story "Popsy" starts as a simple crime tale of someone's vices leading them to ruin, but eventually takes a wild horror turn. In the story, a man named Sheridan's gambling addiction take him down a bad path after he's forced to abduct children in order to pay back his debts. Unfortunately, the latest child he's attempted to kidnap is much more than he bargained for. Not only is the kid a real nasty fighter, but he also has a supposed protector named Popsy who's far more horrifying than the name would imply. 

The sudden shift into horror would be incredible to see on the big screen and could definitely strike a chord with genre movie audiences. The story could also be spun into a longer conflict than on the page, and has much more depth in its premise that could be greatly expanded on the big screen, while doing more to develop its characters. Director Jon Mann did make a short film in 2019 based on King's story, but "Popsy" shows potential to be something bigger and really draw out the thrills and chilling reveals of its material.