Mar 3, 2023
Stephen King Movies Releasing in 2023
Even if you’re not a horror fan, you still love Stephen King. You know you do. The past few decades have seen numerous books and short stories from the famous author, and film and television adaptations are a-plenty. This year (and likely next year) is no exception with a handful of adaptations coming your way. Here’s what’s dropping in 2023 and what’s up next on the Stephen King entertainment agenda.
Children of the Corn – I’ll never forget the first time I first saw the original Children of the Corn movie and was scarred for life. It was 1985, and I was eight years old. We kids definitely shouldn’t have been watching it, but we did the second our parents left the room. See, we were visiting relatives, who just so happened to live and work at the Angola State Prison. So, on those grounds late at night in the bedroom of a work trailer is where the creepy kids from the corn made their appearance in my life. The 1984 version sees a young couple trapped in a remote town with no adults because a gang of creepy-ass kids has killed them all. The remake hits theaters Friday, March 3, 2023, and it will have an 18-day theatrical window before releasing on Shudder March 21. The story reportedly does take some liberties. Here, we get to see a town fall as “He Who Walks” uses a little girl named Eden to satisfy the evil entity’s bloodlust and turn the town’s youngest residents into murderous little nightmares. No doubt it’ll be just as terrifying as the original.
The Boogeyman - The first adaptation of King’s 1978 short story from the Night Shift collection is about a teenage girl and her little sister, who find themselves plagued by a sadistic presence in their house after their mother dies. They must get their grieving father to pay attention before it’s too late. In the original story, we follow a man grieving the deaths (murders) of his three kids. While their deaths were all different, they all took place in the children’s respective bedrooms, each having shouted, “The Boogeyman,” before they met their fates. The film hits theaters June 2, 2023, then is supposed to hit Hulu soon after.
Salem’s Lot - This gem has also been adapted to a movie and is expected to hit theaters April 21, 2023, but it’s already been pushed back from Sept. 2022, so don’t hold all your breath just yet. Nonetheless, it’ll be anticipated when it does arrive, especially with director James Wan (Saw franchise). It is rumored to remain faithful to the book, which if you’re unfamiliar is about a writer who returns to the town of Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine only to discover that the residents are all being turned into vampires. Stars Lewis Pullman (Outer Range), Spencer Treat Clark (Glass, Unbreakble), and Alfre Woodard (See).
Pet Semetary – Though the 2019 version of Pet Sematary wasn’t well received with critics, a prequel movie was greenlit in 2021. It’s intended to continue digging into the mythology of the small town of Ludlow, the strange rituals, the Wendigo, the cemetery, and character Jud’s life. We’ve been seeing the dead re-animate for over a decade now with all the zombie and undead adaptations, but none of those are as scary as seeing Gage come back to life just to kill his mother and run around with a creepy giggle and his father's scalpel terrifying everybody to death. And the cat, Church—we can’t forget about him. After all, he is the reason Jud learns of the power of the pet cemetery. It’s planned to be released later this year to stream as a Paramount+ original movie.
From A Buick 8 – Based on King’s novel published in 2002, this is the second story to feature a supernatural car, the first one being the unforgettable "Christine." The adaptation has been in development for years. Back in 2005, George A. Romero was announced as the director, then two years later he was replaced with Tobe Hopper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise). By 2009, the project came to halt, then in 2019 was announced to be in development again. No details have been revealed since, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Published in 1999, the story follows a nine-year-old girl as she finds herself lost in the woods on what she thought would be another normal day hiking with her mom and brother. She fantasizes about her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, rescuing her. Originally, a film adaptation of "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" was to be directed by George A. Romero, but plans fell through in 2005. The project was revived in 2019, and in late 2020, Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) was announced as director. Let’s hope we get some updates soon!
ALSO (you didn’t really think that was it, did you?), Deadline recently revealed in an exclusive that Warner Bros. has acquired King’s 2021 crime thriller bestseller “Billy Summers” to adapt into a feature film produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. Bad Robot have also adapted other King works like Lisey’s Story (Apple TV Plus), Castle Rock (Hulu), and 11.22.63, also on Hulu. It was originally intended to be a limited series, but the big screen won out instead. Writing the screenplay are Ed Zwick (Blood Diamond) and Marshall Herskovitz, who co-wrote The Last Samurai with Zwick, and it is rumored that Leo will play the title character, but that is yet to be confirmed. The plot synopsis reads:
Billy Summers is a hitman who is looking to retire and takes on last highly lucrative job to feather his nest. The job requires him to embed himself in a quiet town, where he pretends to be an aspiring writer (he actually pours himself into the prose). He sets up in an office with a direct view of where hitman Joel Allen will be delivered to face trial for shooting two men during a poker game. Allen also has committed enough murders for some high-level mobsters to be scared the gunman will incriminate his former employers to lessen his sentence. Summers, a meticulous craftsman, become more and more cynical about the mobsters who’ve hired him, and his skepticism is well warranted as things go awry following the job’s completion.
*On a side note, if you haven’t watched Castle Rock, I urge you to roll on over to Hulu and check it out. While the two-season series isn’t based on any specific one of King’s works, it does share themes, characters, and most notably its name with one of the central locations found throughout the legendary author’s career.
Season 1 tells the story of Henry Deaver, a death row attorney who returns home to Maine for the first time in years when a mysterious inmate at the local prison, Shawshank, specifically requests Henry as his lawyer. Several narratives unravel from there, including a troubled individual with apparent telepathic abilities, the shocking death of one of Castle Rock’s most prominent characters, and some pretty disturbing developments for Henry as he uncovers more and more about his past—like the time he vanished as a child.
Season 2 is a chilling must-see! Instead of continuing on with the same characters and original cast, the series pivots and centers its story on Annie Wilkes, the infamously psychotic, murderous nurse from King’s 1987 psychological thriller novel “Misery” and 1990 film adaptation of the same name. In Castle Rock, we are introduced to Annie Wilkes pre-Paul Sheldon days, so it’s sort of a modern-day prequel. Lizzie Caplan (Masters of Sex) delivers a sharp, tense, and breathless performance as Wilkes navigates her life and career, and so much is revealed along that way that when it ends, it’ll leave you wanting more and most likely compel you to turn around and watch Misery again.
And, just in case you missed its release back in September, don't forget to check out the Stephen King documentary King on Screen, which examines cinematic adaptations of the iconic author's works. With King's stamp of approval, it gives audiences an intimate sit-down with different directors who've all adapted the writer's works for the screen, looking at the movies and shows that have brought his stories to life, both the hits and the flops. Among those sitting down for interviews are Mike Garris (ABC's The Stand), Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game, Doctor Sleep), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), and director and special effects makeup titan Greg Nicotero (Creepshow, Misery), to name a few.
Alright, kiddos, that's all for now, but stay tuned for more adaptations from THE original horror master ... and no doubt his son, Joe Hill. You know we'll be keeping you updated.
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