Top 10 Stephen King books.
We're leaping into our newest themed week all ready over here at Staystillreviews. As you can see we're cranking these themes out quickly in order to wrap things up nicely for Sensational Summer before moving onto tons of fun filled things for autumn including a killer countdown in October, tons of reviews, recipes, interviews, giveaways, Galligangiving, and much much more!!! With just two more weeks of Sensational Summer, we're going to travel on up to Castle Rock Maine to talk all things Stephen King! Today I decided to personally choose my top ten favorite novels by King and why! I would love to hear everyone's own choices. King as you all know has been a huge part of my life, and this summer seems very fitting since just last week The Dark Tower was released and next month IT will be hitting the silver screen. Can't wait to see both films! Long live King!!!
- This gets my #1 spot simply because no other book has terrerifed more than this one. I think basically anyone my age can say that they have vivid memories of the original mini-series that aired in 1990 where Tim Curry forever ruined clowns for us with his creepy take on Pennywise the clown. This mini-series seriously scared the living daylights out of me as a kid, and still to this day is remembered as being a staple for horror and Stephen King fans. Still, one thing many people noticed was how much they had to cut-down, and change to make this possible to air on TV. I can't rave about this book enough. It tells the story of seven outcast children who call themselves the Losers Club that live in the town of Derry Maine, and how over one summer back in 1957 a series of brutal unsolved murders began to plague the neighborhood. Most of the victims are young children, who have been mutilated. One of the latest victims was one of the loser's younger brothers. It isn't long before these children bond together, and begin to discover that who's actually doing these killings aren't a person, but an ancient alien/demon who has been around for millions for years. Every thirty or so years it awakes, and takes the form of whatever it's victim fears the worse and eats them. One of it's most famous identities he takes is one of a clown. The children band together and fight off this monster as it takes on several different forms including a werewolf, the creature from the black lagoon, a mummy, a leaper, ect. Nearly three decades later, the murders start again and it's up to the only member who stayed behind to watch the town, to call up his long lost friends, reminding them of a promise they made back when they were just kids.
2) Needful Things
- In one of the last books by King that takes place in Castle Rock, this truly has one explosive ending. Needful Things was made into a motion picture back in the early 90's, but sadly fell short for what a genius interweaving of this small town that's taken advantage of when a mysterious shop owner moves into town and opens a antique store that literately has every item you could ever desire or want beyond your wildest dreams. Sadly these dream items come at a cost. King showcases brilliant writing in this book as he makes dozens upon dozens of characters in this town, and how due to bad blood they are all connection in some way. Here we see the perfect domino effect as a series of tragic fatal events set off this tale. We not only have rich backstory, but get to witness a town that falls apart. I've been dying to see this get remade, maybe on Netflix or HBO so it can capture truly what a great vast story this is. I mean how brilliant would Mads Mikkelsen be as Leland Gaunt?!
3) The Stand
- Oh the Stand. King's greatest accomplishment of his entire writing career. This is the ultimate end of the world story. Here he showcased what would happen of a government made virus got lose, and took out 99% of the world's population? Here we follow several characters, from all different backstories spread across the country who all have one thing in common. Since the virus hit at the beginning of summer, they are all sharing the same dream of an old woman who lives mid-west, telling them a battle is about to be fought. The ultimate fight between good and evil. It seems that Satan himself is walking the country, searching for his bride, and an army of followers to help him take over the world. Here, we watch as the survivors of the virus travel, using their dreams and nightmares as a guide to see what side they will fight on. This 1000+ page book holds a very special place in my heart since it was one of my late mother's favorite books of all time. This is a sweeping epic, and I can't recommend it enough to anyone. This movie was originally supposed to be directed by George A Romero (king of the Dead trilogy) who teamed up with King in the early 80's to make Creepshow. After this project wasn't lifted off the ground, it sat in development Hell before finally getting the chance of being turned into a mini series that featured an all star cast who completely knocked it out of the park. Hardcore fans of the novel are still awaiting for the film version we all know it deserves. Sadly with The Dark Tower getting the reviews it's been getting these past few days, people are nervous it might actually might not happen. I on the other hand am truly hoping that with IT, this might get another chance. I just think a film, even if it was split up might not be the way to go. I've been planning dream casts for this remake for years. Come on Hollywood make it happen!!!
4) Salem's Lot
- King has tackled so many great subjects, and pretty much all monsters. He KILLED it with vampires with Salem's Lot. This novel tells the tale of a young author who recently lot his wife, and decides to return to his hometown where he briefly lived with his late aunt many years ago. Originally wanting to buy a giant so called "haunted" house that overlooks the town, he discovers that two men who have just recently opened an antique store in town have bought it first. Renting a room in town, he begins working on his latest novel, as well as falling for a local girl. Shortly after, a young boy goes missing, as well as a great deal of people taking ill and dying under mysterious circumstances, which begins to raise suspension. Here the author, a doctor, a teacher, and a young boy begin to suspect that these two men who have moved into the giant house on the hill are actually vampires, and are planning on taking over the entire town. In the late 1970's we got Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper to make a really decent mini-series. An oddball sequel followed in the mid 1980's, and finally on TNT we got a remake with Rob Lowe that I personally love. Yet again King captures the small town perfectly, as well as showing all of the skeletons that are in people's closets and are quickly revealed. Salem's Lot is often overlooked as a vampire classic, but for huge fans of King they will see that there honestly is no monster he can't make terrifying.
5) Doctor's Sleep
- I'm really going to get some shit for saying this but I honestly didn't really like The Shinning. People have said no true King fan would say this. I've tired, and read it a total of three times. It just doesn't do it for me. Doctor Sleep on the other hand I believe is one of King's most brilliant pieces of work. He even states that The Shinning was written by an alcoholic. King has been very open about his drinking and drug abuse. The Shinning perfectly mirrors the struggle he was battling due to addiction. In Doctor Sleep, it shows the P.O.V of an alcoholic, who even all these years later has been still fighting as exhausting as it is to stay sober, and on the right track. I don't know if King original intended on making a sequel to The Shinning, but there is a brief little mention of foreshadowing to a character who serves a huge purpose later on in this book. I think this one is the most powerful out of any of his books. We get to see Danny, now all grown up, working as a nursing home orderly, and how he hit rock bottom with his addiction to alcohol and thankfully was given a second chance by a group of friends in NH as he began new work, as well as a life life being sober. This book opens with a flashback of Danny now living in Florida and speaking to his friend Dick (remember kids, the novel The Shinning, and the movie...at least the 1980 one is VERY different.) how he shows him if any ghosts appear due to his ability, how to lock them up in his mind. This is a trick he'll later use in the book to help him. In Doctor's Sleep we also are treated to some of the best villains he's ever written. The True Knot. A group of immortals who are psychics that have been traveling the country side for decades. The reason they don't age and have such power is that they track down young children with psychic abilities and butcher them, sucking in their life force. Here Danny, as well as a very special little girl who's connected to him fight an epic battle between The True Knot. I myself got very emotional reading this book, and one of the most powerful moments I feel is when Danny goes to A.A. and admits his lowest point. This book was beautifully written, and in my eyes one of King's masterpieces. So far no word has gotten out of this being made on the small or big screen. I can only hope it gets it's day to shine.
- Christine is one of my all time favorite adaptions. Thanks to the ultimate team-up between John Carpenter, and King himself, I feel this was one of the strongest film versions of his work to date. The book was something that took me forever to get into since I was originally afraid you had to know about cars to enjoy. Thankfully, it's more about the three lead characters. Arnie, Dennis, and Leigh. This is a tragic love story, that yes involves a car. We see King transform an every day object such as this 1957 Plymouth Fury into a terrifying possessed force of nature. What's even cooler is how the first half of the book is told in Dennis' P.O.V. When he becomes injured, it switches to the third person. Here we watch the downfall of Arnie, the nerdy young teenager who becomes obsessed with the magical car, and much like a junkie, ruins his life just to be with her. This tale of revenge is amazing, and I love King's usage of going through the months, following Arnie's downfall, and how helpless his parents, Dennis, and even girlfriend feel watching him destroy himself. I love this book and believe it or not there are some elements they left out. I truly don't think this should ever be remade since all the actors really knocked it out of the park, as well as the haunting theme by John Carpenter. In fact this soundtrack is one of the best out of all of King's films! The book I plowed through, and had a blast reading. I've been lucky enough to meet Carpenter, and the bullies from the film version. My dream is to one day meet King and honestly rave about how amazing this book was!
7) The Regulators
- King for a brief time released several books by the name of Richard Bachman. I really do respect this man's way of thinking, wanting to know of people were buying his books for the overall work, or just his name. I've always seen The Regulators and it's sister book Desperation as one giant book. This may sound a little confusing, but both books feature the same characters in different universes. There are changes such as careers, ages, even genders, but overall they are the same people. In Desperation they all accidentally get trapped in a desert town that's been possessed by an ancient demon. In The Regulators, it shows a small neighborhood in Ohio. One summer day, a bunch of very strange looking vans roll up and a huge shootout happens, killing people, and blowing them to bits. It appears that this has completely happened out of nowhere, and after the smoke clears and the vans disappear, the police are nowhere in sight. In just a matter of minutes the vans return, and another massacre take place. Here the neighbors all scramble to hide out in two separate houses, having zero idea what's going on. It's here that they begin to take notice that the vans are just like the vans in a famous cartoon show for children. That the men driving the vans look to be cowboys from an old 1950's Western. That slowly their neighborhood is beginning to transform into what appears to be a children's drawing, and the giant bullets that are killing everyone look strange, as if a children made them. Here they become trapped in the world of a young boy with special needs who's become possessed by an evil spirit. Together the neighbors know time is running out, and that they need to find a way to stop this before it's too late. I LOVE this book. Honestly I can't rave enough about how awesome it is. Some say it's a little out there and weird, but I've read it dozens of times. It takes an every day situation, and turns it into a strange, and crazy nightmare. I found it brilliant to show the mind of a child possessed, causing all of this madness to happen. It's violent, and extreme, but amazing to see these characters we all got to know from Desperation in a new setting, battling new monsters. Desperation has gotten the mini series treatment, and we're still waiting for The Regulators to get it's day to shine. I for one would love to see a film version of it!
- Cujo was one of the first books I ever read by King. I'm a big fan of the movie from 1983 (the year of King since The Dead Zone, as well as Christine were released at the same time.) but the book is sooooo good! It tells the story of a housewife, and mother to a young boy living up in Maine durning one of the hottest summers that's ever hit the state. The woman clearly has her hands full since she's just broken off a very intense affair with a local who reveals what happened to her husband. Trying to pick up the pieces of her crumbling marriage, she's thrown into limbo when her husband is forced to fly to both Boston and New York to try and save his ad company that's on the verge of losing their biggest license. Deciding to take her old Ford Pinto up to get looked at, at a garage that's on the outside of town, in the middle of nowhere with her young son. Unknown to her, the mechanic who runs his garage out of his home has been brutally attacked and murdered by his giant St. Bernard dog named Cujo who just recently went rabid and has killed another neighbor. When the woman's car drives up to the garage in the middle of the countryside, the dog attacks, but as fate would have it...her car no longer starts. Trapped inside her vehicle with her young son, and nobody knowing she took the drive out there, she begins to panic. Each time she attempts to leave her car the giant dog attacks, leaving her trapped. With the hot summer sun blazing down on them, she knows if she doesn't think fast, time will run out for both her and her son. Cujo is the one King book I've read more times than any other. It's become sorta a tradition to re-read this book every summer. Yet again Stephen King writes the domino effect so brilliantly, showing a series of tragic events that lead to what happens. Between the mechanic's wife winning the lottery and being away visiting family when this happens, to the woman's husband having to try and save his company due to a cereal scandal that's just happened, it truly shows how unlucky this poor woman is. Most of the book takes place inside the car, but that doesn't make it any less boring. You seriously feel the temps raise inside the car, and feel how thirsty she is. He writes her P.O.V as well as her young son's so well. There's creepy foreshadowing involving dreams, or even a character sleepwalking. One of the creepiest is showing vaguely that the spirit of a serial killer from The Dead Zone has returned in the form of Cujo. It's a heartbreaking tale, but by far one of King's darkest and best.
9) Bag Of Bones
- King writes a love story from beyond the grave, and honestly goes such an amazing job doing so. Bag Of Bones shows a middle aged author who tragically loses his wife suddenly, and how lost in grief he is following her death. Not only was it unexpected, but he learns she was pregnant when she died as well. Heartbroken, he discovers he has writer's block, and has to use past unused books of his to give to his publisher in order to keep his career going. After a few years, and still missing his wife more than ever, he decides to get away from it all and go up to the summer cabin him and his wife used to go to by a beautiful lake. Here the author begins to get haunted by dreams, and starts to suspect that his wife's spirit is trying to contact him involving a young single woman who lives off the lake. This was a book I read shortly after losing my mother, and it honestly was a book I couldn't put down. It's heartbreaking, and beautifully written. I love the name of the cabin Sarah Laughs. It got made into a 3 part mini series that I hated. The casting was sooooo off about this one. Sorry guys, missed the boat with this one.
10) Pet Sematary.
- Another one of the first books I ever read by King. I think it's because it was one of my all time favorite movies (Pet Sematary was one of the first VHS tapes I ever owned.) I adore the movie version, but the book is one of my favorites. It's about a doctor, his wife, daughter, and young son who move from Chicago to Maine to start a new life when he gets a job working at a local college. It isn't long before they be-friend the old man next door, and notice a path going into the woods. The man shows them that it leads to a Pet Cemetery that's been around for decades where local children bury their pets. Months pass, and when the doctor's family is away for Thanksgiving and the daughter's cat gets run over in the road, the old man brings the doctor beyond the pet cemetery to an ancient Indian burial ground, that holds special power. It seems that if you bury something that's died, it will return changed, but alive shortly after. Think...King does zombies, his way. This is by far King's darkest book. It deals with grief, death, and learning to accept losing a loved one. It also begs the frighting statement "Sometimes...dead is better." This book I've read countless times. It's dark, and very graphic. I can understand why parents don't exactly love this one. In 1989 it was made into another great version with an all star cast. My friends Justin and John made a killer documentary based off this movie, and I sport a killer Church the cat tattoo! Clearly a favorite!
So what are yours?