What a great year to be a Stephen King fan. A new Pet Sematary adaptation was released in theaters earlier in the year, IT: Chapter Two just came out this past weekend, a Doctor Sleep movie is coming in November, Castle Rock Season 2 is starting on Hulu in October, and Mr. Mercedes Season 3 is starting this very week. We know there’s more to come with The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Long Walk, etc. — Uncle Stevie is nothing if not prolific and could start his own Stephen King Cinematic Universe.
There are literally dozens of Stephen King movies and TV series to stream, some for free with a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon subscription, and some you have to pay extra to see right now. Come float down the streaming sewers with me and check out just a few options…
Netflix actually has a few Stephen King options to stream, including this movie that was released on the streamer in 2017. The very dark, kinky, disturbed, but impressive movie adapts King’s 1992 novel. It’s a huge showcase for star Carla Gugino, who later reunited with director Mike Flanagan for Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.
Stream Gerald’s Game on Netflix.
Castle Rock is a whole anthology series filled with Stephen King characters and settings, all mixed together. The first season starred King favorites Sissy Spacek (Carrie) and Bill Skarsgard (IT) along with Andre Holland, Melanie Lynskey, and Jane Levy as Jackie Torrance (niece to The Shining‘s Jack). In Season 2, a feud between warring clans will come to a boil when budding psychopath Annie Wilkes gets waylaid in Castle Rock. Yes, Season 2 will be a Misery prequel starring Lizzy Caplan as the younger version of the character that won Kathy Bates an Oscar. The rest of the cast is amazing too — including Shawhank alum Tim Robbins and Garrett Hedlund playing a character familiar from the movie Stand By Me. For King fans, this is a must-see.
Stream Castle Rock Season 1 now on Hulu.
I actually loved Frank Darabont’s 2007 movie adapting Stephen King’s 1980 novella. Darabont later cast several people from this movie on The Walking Dead — including Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Melissa McBride. (Thomas Jane was originally going to be Rick Grimes, you knew that, right?) You have to pay to watch The Mist movie on Amazon, and it’s not on Netflix. Instead, Netflix, has the 2017 TV series that aired for one season on Spike. There are 10 episodes to check out, and you can compare the decisions made for both mediums.
Speaking of Thomas Jane, The Mist movie star returned for another Stephen King horror adaptation for this Netflix film released in October 2017. Critics seemed to appreciate 1922 more than viewers, although Thomas Jane was singled out for his strong performance as unhinged Nebraska farmer Wilfred James. Give that to Uncle Stevie, at the very least: He writes characters that inspire actors to really go for it. Think of how many amazing performances we’ve seen from characters that originated from Stephen King’s warped, wonderful mind.
Stream 1922 on Netflix
Stand By Me
A classic. But even now, not everyone knows Stand By Me was adapted from Stephen King’s “The Body,” a novella he published in 1982 in the Different Seasons collection. That same collection included “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” — and you know how that was adapted — plus “Apt Pupil,” which became a Bryan Singer movie with Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro. Also, “The Breathing Method” is in that collection, and a movie based on that story was announced for 2020. I trust you’ve already seen Stand By Me, but it may have been a while and the 1986 movie never gets old. #RIPRiverPhoenix
Stream Stand By Me on Amazon for free through IMDb TV or Sundance Now, with a trial subscription.
The Shawshank Redemption
Did you know The Shawshank Redemption was released 25 years ago this week? Amazing. The Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman movie — made by Frank Darabont, who’d later return for The Green Mile and then The Mist — really expanded on King’s novella from Different Seasons. Shawshank didn’t make a ton of money at the box office, but it’s now considered one of the greatest movies of our time. Shawshank was originally released in theaters on September 10, 1994, so this is the perfect week to stream it again and marvel at its perfection.
Stream The Shawshank Redemption now for $4 to rent or $15 to buy on Amazon.
I am not particularly drawn to Kennedy assassination conspiracies, and I can’t count myself the biggest James Franco fan, so I was shocked to both love 11/22/63 as a novel and love 11.22.63 as a miniseries adaptation. J.J. Abrams produced the eight-episode series, which was adapted from Stephen King’s 2011 novel. The series premiered on Hulu in 2016. King excels at horror, but this story proved that he can also excel at a science-fiction thriller/time travel romance.
Stream 11.22.63 on Hulu.
Stephen King’s It
I remember reading It in high school and being fascinated and appalled in equal measure. I grew up with the 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry, so that’s still my It. The new movies have made a killing at the box office, although the second movie hasn’t done as well as the first, so far. There are some changes from the book to the screen (per usual), but it’s amazing how many King properties are still relevant to fans decade after decade.
Stream Stephen King’s It on Amazon for an extra buy/rent fee of $4 or $10.
You can pick your poison when it comes to Pet Sematary adaptations, but as of today you have to pay to rent or buy them on Amazon. Both the 1983 film and the 2019 film were inspired by Stephen King’s grief-driven 1983 novel. They both change certain things from the book, including a major twist to the ending in the new movie.
Speaking of changes to Stephen King’s novel … King is notorious for hating Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of his novel. The movie is genius, though, at least for Kubrick’s cinematic eye and Jack Nicholson’s performance. The new movie Doctor Sleep, coming out in November 2019, is meant to be a sequel to both King’s novel and Kubrick’s movie. There’s also a three-part miniseries version of The Shining, starring Steven Weber, which aired in 1997.
Stream The Shining movie for $4 to rent or $10 to buy on Amazon.
Since this Stephen King adaptation — starring Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges — is on Audience Network, it’s exclusive to customers of the AT&T U-verse, including DirecTV and DirecTV Now. The first two seasons came out in 2017 and 2018, with 10 episodes each, based on Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy of Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch. Season 3 premieres September 10 on Audience. There’s not much time to catch up, but you can binge fast.
There are obviously so many more Stephen King adaptations you can stream, if you’re so inclined. The Stand‘s 1994 miniseries might be a good refresher before the new series comes to CBS All Access. The Green Mile is fantastic. The Dark Tower‘s 2017 film may not be fantastic, but it exists. I’m fond of Storm of the Century, which Stephen King wrote as a screenplay on his own, not adapting one of his novels. I can’t say I’m fond of The Langoliers miniseries, since that was one of my favorite Stephen King novellas and the 1995 TV series just did not do the story justice.
There’s also Misery, The Green Mile, Dolores Claiborne, Cujo, Creepshow, Christine, Children of the Corn, Cat’s Eye, The Running Man, The Lawnmower Man, Needful Things (my favorite King book for a long time), The Dead Zone, Firestarter, Thinner, and so many more.
If you’re looking for more streaming recommendations, check out these past features:
What Stephen King movie or TV adaptations have you streamed lately?