7 Movies And TV Shows Based On Joe Hill's Books And How To Watch Them

Ethan Hawke poses while wearing a creepy mask in The Black Phone.
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

By the time he became known to the public as the son of celebrated horror master Stephen King, author Joe Hill had already made a name for himself as his generation’s… well, Stephen King. Some of the writer’s creepiest short stories — such as “The Black Phone” — and terrifying novels — like NOS4A2 — would go on to serve as the basis for some of the best horror movies in recent memory as well as a few great horror TV shows, too. 

Of course, those are just a couple noteworthy examples of how the gifted, widely acclaimed, and storyteller of a bit demented tales has caught Hollywood’s attention lately. The following is a guide to just about every one of the movies and TV shows that have been inspired by Joe Hill books — and one that is not based on his work, but does involve him in a fascinating, lesser-known way — along with a tip on how to find them on streaming right now.

Mason Thames in The Black Phone

(Image credit: Blumhouse/Universal)

The Black Phone (2022)

After a meek teenager (Mason Thames) becomes the latest prisoner of a notorious local child abductor (Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke), he discovers that he can use a disconnected phone on the basement wall to communicate with his captor’s deceased previous victims, who try to help him figure out his escape in 1970s Denver.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: Inspired by Hill’s short story of the same name (which was first published in the author’s 2005 short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts), The Black Phone is co-writer and director Scott Derrickson’s second collaboration with Hawke after Sinister, and one of the best horror movies of 2022, in the opinion of our own Eric Eisenberg.

Stream The Black Phone on Amazon Prime.

Zachary Quinto on NOS4A2

(Image credit: AMC)

NOS4A2 (2019-2020)

A young woman (Ashleigh Cummings) discovers that she possesses an extraordinary ability that makes her a worthy opponent against a charismatic, but creepy, child predator (Zachary Quinto) with a few unusual abilities of his own.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: Yet another Hill-penned story that puts a supernatural twist on the topic of child abduction is his 2013 novel, NOS4A2 — the author’s own, unique take on vampire legend that inspired one of the best horror TV shows available on Hulu and one that also pays homage his father in a fun way.

Stream NOS4A2 on Hulu.
Buy NOS4A2 on Amazon.

Travis, Becca and Cal in In The Tall Grass

(Image credit: Netflix)

In The Tall Grass (2019)

A quick road trip stop for a pregnant woman (Laysla De Oliveira) and her brother (Avery Whitted) becomes a never-ending nightmare after a young boy’s cry for help leads them to step into a high, wide, grassy field from which there is no escape.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: One of the first stories that Hill collaborated on with his father was the harrowingly claustrophobic 2012 novella, In the Tall Grass, which was adapted by writer and director Vincenzo Natali into one of the scariest Netflix original horror movies yet — thanks in part to a manic performance by Scream King Patrick Wilson.

Stream In the Tall Grass on Netflix.

Daniel Radcliffe in Horns.

(Image credit: Dimension Films RADiUS-TWC/VVS Films)

Horns (2013)

A young, grieving man (Daniel Radcliffe) discovers one morning that horns have started growing from the sides of his forehead and, along with them, he has gained a dangerously powerful gift for human manipulation.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: The writer's second full-length novel — and one of his most haunting, heartbreaking, and devilishly humorous — is 2010’s Horns, which was made into one of the most underrated films by French Extremism pioneer Alexandre Aja and one of the many weird projects Radcliffe took on after he left the Harry Potter movies behind.

Stream Horns on Freevee through Amazon.
Stream Horns on Tubi.
Stream Horns on Pluto TV.

Locke & Key cast

(Image credit: Netflix)

Locke & Key (2020-2022)

Three siblings (Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, and Jackson Robert Scott) and their mother (Darby Stanchfield) move to their recently murdered father’s family home, where they discover a series of mystical keys that soon make them the target of a vengeful evil.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: In 2008 — in collaboration with illustrator Gabriel Rodriguez — Hill began dabbling in the world of comics, resulting in the IDW series, Locke & Key, which was later adapted into one of Netflix’s best horror TV shows by developers Meredith Averill, Carlton Cuse, and Aron Eli Coleite.

Stream Locke & Key on Netflix.

Sydney Wease on Creepshow

(Image credit: Shudder)

Creepshow (2019-Present)

Bizarre and terrifying tales about the likes of a haunted doll house, a suitcase that grants riches for a very strange price, a teenage girl convinced her brother is trying to kill her, and more are presented by a ghoulish hooded figure.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: So far, two of Hill’s short stories — namely the emotionally-charged creature tale “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain” and “Mums,” in which a mother’s legacy lives on in her plants in unexpected ways — have been adapted into segments on one of the best TV shows on Shudder, Creepshow, which is a fun anthology series spun off from a classic movie that the author has an interesting connection to.

Stream Creepshow on Amazon with a Shudder subscription.

Joe Hill in Creepshow

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Creepshow (1982)

Bizarre and terrifying tales about what consequences a lonely farmer faces after touching a meteor, a revenge plot that does not end well, a curmudgeon’s failure to live an infestation-free life, and more are presented by a ghoulish, hooded figure.

Why it is worth checking out if you are a fan of Joe Hill: Not only did Stephen King write and star in director George A. Romero’s beloved horror anthology movie, Creepshow, but his son — then credited as Joe King — was cast in the wraparound segments as a young boy named Billy, who gets help plotting revenge against his abusive father (Tom Atkins) from the Creepshow Creep.

Stream Creepshow on Kanopy.
Rent or buy Creepshow on Amazon.

How cool is it that Joe Hill made his acting debut in a movie that would one day inspire a TV show that takes inspiration from his own work? Maybe one day he will follow in his father’s footsteps and helm a reboot of King’s directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive. Whatever his next project is — hopefully an adaptation of his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, which has actually been in development hell for years — I am here for it.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.