The Dark Tower (and five of the best Stephen King adaptations)
Horror writer Stephen King holds the distinction of being the most adapted living author, with no fewer than 34 films based on his novels and short stories having been adapted for the big screen – and that's not even including the numerous TV series, shorts and one-off episodes based on his work. But for hardcore fans of King's work it's perhaps the novels from his Dark Tower series that have captured their imaginations the most, so the news that the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, was set to be transformed into a feature film was greeted with more than a little excitement.
Directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, the man behind films such as The Royal Affair and King's Game, The Dark Tower arrived in cinemas earlier this year and sees Idris Elba tackle the role of the novel's titular gunslinger Roland Deschain, starring opposite Matthew McConaughey as his nemesis Walter Padick, alternatively known simply as The Man in Black.
The story centres around a young boy named Jake (Tom Taylor) who begins having visions of the Man in Black, a tower which holds the universe together, and the gunslinger, who seems determined to protect the tower from destruction.
Walter – otherwise known as the Man in Black – has other ideas and has been trying to harness the power of children with psychic abilities to help him bring down the tower. When he discovers that Jake has a gift known as 'pure shine', making him powerful enough to bring down the tower alone, Walter goes after Jake and his family in an attempt to harness the boy's power for his own ends.
Jake's only hope is Roland, the last in a long line of gunslinger's an perhaps the only man in the universe who can stop Walter from achieving his goal.
The film arrives in stores this week and you can find a trailer below, beneath that we've picked out five of the finest films based on the work of Stephen King as a guide to those unfamiliar with his extensive body of work...
Released in 1983 and directed by David Cronenberg, The Dead Zone stars Christopher Walken as a man involved in an accident which leaves him with the extraordinary ability to see the past and the future of those he comes into contact with, including all their most closely-guarded secrets. When a brush with a presidential candidate reveals an apocalyptic glimpse into the future, he must decide whether to kill a man in order to save the lives of millions.
This outstanding coming-of-age story directed by Rob Reiner features a cast that includes River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland, telling the story of four 12-year old boys who set out to find the body of a murdered boy, and discover more than they bargained for. A much-loved and heartwarming fixture of many a childhood, this remains one of Stephen King's most absorbing stories.
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman star in this epic tale of a man wrongly convicted of killing his wife and sentenced to serve two life sentences in prison before dreaming up the perfect prison escape under the nose of a sadistic warden. Quite simply, this is an all-time classic.
Starring James Caan and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Kathy Bates as the unhinged superfan of an author she finds dying in the snow after a car accident, Misery is one of the most unsettling stories King has produced and this excellent adaptation, again directed by Rob Reiner, remains one of the finest translations of King's work to feature on the big screen.
Last but by no means least, this Stanley Kubrick-directed adaptation of King's disturbing story about a writer slowly losing his mind in a near-empty hotel has been described as the greatest horror film of all time, and not without good reason. Jack Nicholson delivers a career-defining performance as Jack Torrance and Kubrick's startling visual imagery makes this one of the best adaptations of King's work you'll ever see.