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Only One Of Stephen King's Top Five Stephen King Stories Hasn't Been Turned Into Live-Action TV Series Or Movie

stephen king on the late show with stephen colbert

Across his accolades-filled career, Stephen King has written more novels, short stories and non-fiction works than most authors could even dream of, and a sizeable majority of those creations have been expanded and adapted into full-length TV shows and movies. But there are indeed the rare tales that somehow haven't yet been expanded and brought to life (or death) in live-action, and one of those exceptions happens to be in King's shortlist of favorite stories from within his own bibliography.

No stranger to sharing his praise for other fictional works, Stephen King appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote the release of his brand new novel Billy Summers, and when the talk show host asked him to deliver a Top 5 rundown of his favorite original creations, the King of Horror's first answer is the piece in question, the Skeleton Crew short story "Survivor Type." Here's the spoilery way King explained it:

I think maybe my favorite short story would be called 'Survivor Type,' which is about a physician who gets stranded on a little island, and he's smuggling heroin. And he's starving, so he eats himself piece by piece. That is family-friendly, yes. That could be a Disney cartoon.

Stephen Colbert egged on those latter comments, laughing at the thought of a self-cannibalizing man being a fun romp for all ages. And the truth of the matter is that the rather extreme subject matter and reveal within "Survivor Type," combined with the story's briefness, probably make it a harder sell when it comes to stretching the story out for an episodic format. Granted, Adrien Brody's new show Chapelwaite is based on the Night Shift short story "Jerusalem's Lot," the largely unrelated precursor to the classic vampire novel 'Salem's Lot. And the same collection's story "Children of the Corn" shares its name with a mind-blowing ELEVEN films, though almost all of them share only the loosest connections with the source material.

Now, to be fair, there has been a limited and rather unique adaptation of "Survivor Type," though it doesn't technically qualify as a "TV show" or "film" for the purposes of this argument. The lip-smacking story was turned into an animated segment and served as half of the 2020 holiday special for the Shudder anthology series Creepshow. The segment, which marked Kiefer Sutherland's first Stephen King project since Stand By Me, was originally meant to be adapted as a live-action segment, but it didn't happen. (Also note that there have been a handful of short film adaptations of "Survivor Type," but nothing very high-profile.

When it comes to the rest of his Top 5, here's what Stephen King had to say:

I liked Misery, the novel Misery, a lot. That was kinda fun. It was a fun book to write. I like Lisey's Story very much. It's a series that's now streaming on Apple+, and I held onto that for a long time. The Stand, and one called Stand by Me, 'The Body.'

Stephen King's love for the deeply personal novel Lisey's Story is such that it's the one adaptation of his books that he personally spearheaded for TV. (As opposed to directing Maximum Overdrive based on his short story "Trucks," or penning the original teleplay for the TV movie Storm of the Century.) And I can't imagine there's a horror fan, or King fan in particular, out there that hasn't yet watched Misery, Stand By Me, and The Stand, which was adapted into both a 1990 TV miniseries and a 2020 streaming series.

Check out the Late Show segment below!

Fans can get invested in an all-new Stephen King tale now that Billy Summers finally released on August 3. After you're done with that, be sure to check out Chapelwaite and all the other shows heading to the 2021 Fall TV schedule.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.