Every Ridiculous, Terrifying ’80s Stephen King Movie, Definitively Ranked

09.23.14 3 years ago 84 Comments
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Warner Bros./Paramount

Master of horror, Stephen King, celebrated his 67th birthday this past Sunday, and hey, we’re already creeping up on that spooky, Halloweeny time of the year, so what better time to take a look back at King’s greatest contribution to pop culture? No, I’m not talking about his books — I’m talking about his vast catalog of ’80s movies!

A whopping 14 movies based on King’s writings came out between 1980 and 1989, and they range from some of the most ridiculous schlock you’ll ever see, to some of the best movies, horror or otherwise, ever made. Here’s a definitive ranking of Stephen King’s entire ’80s movie catalog…

Boring Tier

Some Stephen King movies are great, some of them are awful, and some of them are just…kind of dull. Given the choice, I’ll always take hilariously abysmal over boring, so these uninspired adaptations find themselves on the bottom of the list even if, technically, they might be better produced than some higher-ranked films.

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MGM

14) Cat’s Eye (1985)

I barely remember anything this anthology, other than the fact that it’s tied together by a not-scary-at-all framing device about a cat going on an Incredible Journey-like adventure for, uh, some reason. Oh, and Cujo also makes a cameo. Take out a couple bad words and Cat’s Eye could easily serve as three middling episodes of Goosebumps.

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Universal

13) Firestarter (1984)

Admittedly Firestarter does pack an absurd number of delicious explosions, but when things aren’t going boom, it’s not worth watching. In between the explosions, the movie is laden down with way too much blather, and it never even approaches atmospheric or scary. Just a bottom of the barrel “evil kid” movie.

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Warner Bros.

12) Cujo (1983)

Cujo is a weird in both movie and book form. Basically, the “scary” portion of the story, in which a mom and her son are trapped in a car by a rabid dog, could, maybe, fill out a brief novella or 20-minute short film. Unfortunately the book is over 300-pages, and the movie is 90 minutes, so both have to pad shit out with endless excruciating family drama and kids seeing monsters in their closets. I’m an absolute wuss about big dogs, so Cujo should be right up my alley, but I can barely make it through it.

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New World Pictures

11) Creepshow 2 (1987)

The first Creepshow was a great, lovingly made horror anthology — unfortunately by the time Creepshow 2 came along, director George A. Romero and, apparently, all of Stephen King’s inspiration were long gone. The movie kicks off with a story about a cigar store Indian coming to life, and somehow the two following stories are even less terror-inducing. Creepshow 2 had some of the best VHS box art of all time, but the movie inside the box is not worth your time.

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