25. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
Directed and written by King, based on his short story Trucks
Your brain knows that King’s solitary directorial effort is an objectively bad film. Your gut doesn’t give a damn. It’s poorly acted and sloppily crafted, but the sheer gonzo nature of this machines-come-to-life-and-kill movie is ridiculously appealing. From popping a kid’s head with a steamroller to killing a guy with a murderous soda machine, the movie is just ridiculous enough. And if nothing else, it’s worth a watch for King’s cameo at a sassy ATM machine.
24. The Stand (1994, miniseries)
Written by King and based on his novel of the same name
King’s greatest novel -- an epic tale of good and evil as a worldwide plague wipes out most of humanity leaving the survivors to choose a path of light or darkness -- gets a fairly average adaptation from Mick Garris, but while the limitations of the medium and talents involved are evident, enough of the book’s strengths come through to deliver sequences both frightening (the tunnel) and emotionally powerful (Nick’s demise).
23. The Dark Half (1993)
Based on King’s novel of the same name
King’s look at a writer’s dark side coming to life gets a solid adaptation from the legendary George Romero, known best for tales of the living dead. Timothy Hutton (in his first of two King films) delivers too as both the film’s hero and villain, and along with a fine supporting cast he grounds the supernatural elements.
22. Cat's Eye (1985)
Written by King and based on his short stories Quitters, Inc. and The Ledge
It may be more centered on suspense than horror, but the second King anthology film -- we get stories about a ruthless self-help group, a murderous husband, and a heroic feline -- still delivers with a great cast, engaging thrills, and some over the top cruelty. Female characters fare pretty horribly though, Drew Barrymore’s endangered little girl aside, as they’re abused and shoved to the periphery at every turn.
21. Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
Based on King’s novella Low Men in Yellow Coats
This coming-of-age tale is about a boy being raised by a single mom and the mysterious older man who moves into their building. It’s engaging enough, but what elevates the material are the two lead performances from Anthony Hopkins and a very young Anton Yelchin. Their conversations about life, growing old, and the beauty of life carry an unplanned weight now that the old man has outlived the child here in the real world.