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Make no mistake, 2017 seems to be the year of Stephen King, with The Dark Tower in theaters now, and projects like IT, Mr. Mercedes and Gerald's Game all landing in front of his eager fans throughout the remainder of the year. And as always, the thoughts of King fans turn back to their favorite tales that deserve a fresh coat of paint, despite already being adapted into a filmed medium.
Some of these stories are always ripe for updating in a modern context, while others deserve a healthy helping of justice after a sub-par first time out. However, all of them have the potential to be extremely entertaining, and seriously disturbing, looks into the #sharedKINGdom.
For a concept as rich as Needful Things, the original film version hasn't exactly aged with grace. Come to think of it, the film kind of landed with a thud in its first incarnation to begin with. But if Rick and Morty can distill the concept into a memorable episode, then surely the story of a small town being overpowered by a seductive evil is ready for a more modern take. Though if there's a possibility to draft Alfred Molina to play the role he helped Dan Harmon lampoon on Adult Swim, then this flick would already be off to a good start.
If you watched Stephen King's The Stand when it first aired on ABC, you remember being teased by a trailer promising The Langoliers as the next big thing when it came to the world of horror television. Well, it you actually watched the two-part special, you'd know that this promise fell flat on its face, despite the best intentions. Obviously, The Langoliers is a good opportunity to take a short from King's Four Past Midnight and turn it into a top notch film that will, hopefully, have more of an effects budget than the 1995 original ever did.
Now that we're on the subject, Stephen King's The Stand, even in its aged state, could still be considered a gold standard of King adaptations. A four-night epic, the massive tome was turned into as theatrical a production as one could imagine on TV. Of course, like most of King's past catalog, there have been repeated attempts to bring this film into the modern era, with both TV and film in mind. Our suggestion? Turn this story into the series of films Warner Bros originally intended, and give it the full Lord of the Rings treatment. Oh, and bring Matthew McConaughey as Randall Flagg, because who else would you put in that role?
There's always room for a good demon dog movie, especially when that dog is Cujo. A legendary name among evil animal characters of page and screen, it's sadly a name that's probably lost relevance with the modern world, relegated to nothing more than a cute punchline. Well, with the infamous St. Bernard showing up in The Dark Tower as one of the film's many easter eggs, now seems like a good time to remind people just why the name Cujo was synonymous with fear.
The Dead Zone
There are a lot of obvious political reasons The Dead Zone should be remade, but the one we'll focus on is perhaps the greatest: the game of politics has changed. While the basic structure of a man who can see the future of anyone he touches can obviously remain, the nature of politics in the 21st century is ripe for commentary through the lens of Stephen King's classic novel. It doesn't matter who's in the seat of power when the game of power has changed since David Cronenberg's turn at bat. That being said, we're sure Stephen will want to add some extra special notes to how a modern context is handled.
The Running Man
Full disclosure: who doesn't love The Running Man as an Arnold Schwarzenegger classic? It's a sci-fi dystopia that's massively entertaining in an '80s action movie sort of way. But is it the scathing social commentary that King's Richard Bachman pseudonym intended it to be? Not at all. If you took the basic concept The Running Man's movie adaptation used, and added on more of a paranoid bent, as well as a more refined message of what media and propaganda can do to a populace, then you'd be closer to home. So yeah, this one could definitely use a remake, though we have a feeling they'll change the ending quite drastically.
Vampires are kind of like the color black: always in style and surrounding people in darkness since time began. So Salem's Lot would naturally be a possible target for the remake factory, especially considering that a lot of folks are going to see two familiar names on a shop front in The Dark Tower. But besides any incoming buzz, King's Dracula inspired novel could be a cinematic masterpiece in the right hands, and it's high time there was a version that people could remember actually existing.
Admittedly one of his least favorite books, Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers was one of those ABC miniseries that seemed cool at the time, but could really use an update. There's still a lot of really good ideas buried in the book's context, and to a certain degree the Marg Helgenberger/Jimmy Smits made-for-TV version did generate some good scares with them. But it feels like one single movie could tell a very similar story, with more punch and pizazz in a modern, more focused context.
You're not seeing things by reading a title so recently adapted as Cell on this list. While folks would have expected the reteaming of 1408's John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson to be another possible hit, the reality was that the film adaptation barely escaped development hell with anything to show for it. Considering King wrote a screenplay that was later given another draft, via another writer, there's a chance that going by King's original draft might save this film. If Stephen King changes a story's ending for the film version as a response to the fans not enjoying the source's finale, surely his version of the story should be given a chance to live.
The Lawnmower Man
Oh man, oh man, oh Lawnmower Man. Do you want to know how off the mark this movie was? It has nothing to do with the Stephen King short it takes its name from, which forced King to sue for the right to take his name off the film in every capacity possible. What's really the story of a man terrorized by another man of a rather supernatural origin, complete with autonomous lawnmower, was turned into a parable on VR and biotechnological ethics. You can debate the merits of the Pierce Brosnan film all you want, but The Lawnmower Man was not THE Lawnmower Man, and as such we're owed a deliciously batshit tale of vengeance through lawn maintenance.