Top 11 Stephen King Movies
October 9, 2018
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown, followed by the 2018 Nostalgia-Ween opening; open on NC in his Nostalgia-Ween jacket, but looking frustrated as his hand rests on his cheek)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Well, I guess it's Stephen King time again.
(The title "Stephen King Time!" from the previous episode appears)
NC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is the first time I've ever done (holds up two fingers) two Stephen King videos in the same month. So, it probably goes without saying, I need alcohol. Luckily, I have the Stephen King Drinking Game shot glasses!
(He displays on his table a set of eight shot glasses, all themed to Stephen King movies he had reviewed in the past. He turns the shot glasses around to display various messages on the backs)
NC: Yeah, no joke, a fan made these for me, and I can't think of a better time to use them. (picks up one glass and fills it up with Smirnoff) So, let's get ready to talk about yet another Stephen King adaptation. This is... (squints as if trying to read something) the Top 11 Stephen King Good Movies. (eyes widen) Good movies? You mean, I finally get to talk about good Stephen King movies? Good Stephen King movies?! (suddenly elated) Oh, thank the Lord and the giver of His love! I AM FINALLY SAVED! (beat) I'm still gonna drink this. (takes a swig of the Smirnoff in the shot glass, then makes a sour expression as he gags on it)
(Clips of Stephen King movies that NC reviewed in the past are shown)
NC (vo): For years, I've made fun of Stephen King's worst adaptations, running cliches, and, yeah, maybe passed over the good stuff that made him popular to begin with. Truth be told, this guy has written not only some amazing stories, but amazing stories that turn into amazing films. On top of that, they're different types of films: some big and over the top, some subtle and perplexing, some scary, some funny, some standard, and some groundbreakers that inspire filmmakers to change the field they're in. As much as I mock his funnier stuff, King has turned in some game-changers that force us to think deeper about what scares us, what moves us, what pushes us apart, and what pulls us closer together. It's been a long time coming, but I finally get to discuss some of the greatest works of one of our most famous writers!
NC: And we're gonna talk about the top 11 of them here today! Why top 11? (holds up index finger) Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the Top 11 Good... God, this feels so weird to say... Stephen King Movies!
(Cut to a shot of a heavenly choir of angels tooting horns as Stephen King, as Jesus, appears, while "Hallelujah" is heard in the background, and the title for this video appears. This will be the interlude footage throughout the video)
NC (vo): Pet Semetary. This has "creepy" written all over it, from the book and the screenplay, both penned by King. Focusing on a family who just moved into town, they discover a cemetery where you can bury a dead animal, and it miraculously comes to life. Like any cautionary tale, though, it dooms those who try to mess with the natural order of things, for those buried there come back looking the same, but acting different, somehow a completely new soul than what went into the ground. When a family member is tragically killed, they attempt to do the same thing, only this time, the differences are even more clear and disturbing. The entire film has a surreal sense of dread. Every shot seems to echo with deathly air and uncomfortable anxiety. The film only promises to get stranger and stranger, and that's exactly where it leads us. Never knowing quite where it's going or even how to feel during some of these scenes, Pet Semetary feels like a creepy fable that's both haunting in its moral, as well as its visuals. It leaves you with goosebumps all over your body and being thankful that whatever becomes dead, stays dead.
NC (vo): Number 10: It. Okay, so I made fun of both film versions, and I do still have issues with them, but there's no denying that the cinematic version of It had some big shoes to fill.
(NC mimics Tim Curry's Pennywise's laugh while an image of clown shoes is shown)
NC: Wa-ha! Wa-ha!
NC (vo): And it did so in its own unique way. The story of a group of kids coming across a killer clown that can transform into their deepest fears ties in beautifully with all the real-life fears that these kids have to deal with in their regular lives. Some of them are pretty common, like creepy paintings and monsters, but some of them are scarier without the supernatural, like obsessive phobias, psychotic teens, and more than abusive parents. The film taps into the scares both kids and adults would have, and at the center is a completely new Pennywise the Clown, played with a completely new energy by Bill Skarsgard. The role is made iconic by Tim Curry, but the film did a great job creating a brand new kind of creepiness, both scary and faithful to the book, while also being its own unique creation. Yeah, I had some issues, and if you want to know more about them, you can watch my review. But as I let it sit, the good stuff does get better and better, asking questions about the fears of the mind, the fears of the physical, and how they intersect. But, come on. (Footage of Tim Curry's Pennywise from the original is shown briefly) Couldn't you have him tell a few jokes?
(A scene in the remake is shown, showing Bill seeing Richie getting locked in a room by a moving door)
Bill: Richie! (The door shuts) Richie!
(Cut to Pennywise's famous scene in the original)
Pennywise (Tim Curry): Well, you better let the poor guy out! (NC again mimics the laugh alongside Pennywise) Wa-ha! Wa-ha! Wa-ha!
NC (vo): Number 9: 1408. This is one of the few films that visually captures the writing of Stephen King's style. Don't get me wrong, many other films do their best and accomplish great visuals, but something about the pacing, effects, and blending of reality seems to scream "King's writing prose". A man who writes books, debunking the supernatural, is told about a haunted hotel room numbered 1408. The room is so haunted that the owner of the hotel tries to bribe anyone from staying in it. The writer sees this as a stunt, though and insists he be led in. What follows is a slow descent into madness, never knowing if what he's seeing or even doing is reality or his own mind messing with him. The film is very clever in not just having monsters from his past come out and go boo, but slowly and effectively morphing from one point in time to another point in time, combining his past and future to make an awful present. This eventually seems to even put his loved ones in danger, and leaving him seemingly no way out. You feel this room, you feel how it traps him both physically and psychologically. After a while, you yourself don't know what's real, is he talking to someone or just talking to himself? Did he make it outside or is he still in the room? Are others really in danger or is it just himself? After a while, you can't figure out if it's been minutes or years he's been trapped in this hellhole, but either way, it feels like an eternity. This film captures the book's ability to keep you in a moment in time, only in this circumstance, you feel trapped by it. Very few movies can do that and this one does an incredible job. It's a terrifying trip that'll have you asking the question:
NC: Where are you right now?
(Cuts back to one last clip of the man standing in front of the room's door, and the camera slowly zooms into his eye right before cutting to black.)
NC (vo): Number 8: Carrie (The original 1976 version). A classic story of why you don't pick on the quiet kid, Carrie stars a tortured teen who is constantly torn down by her mother, the kids at school, pretty much everyone around her. Little do they know that she seems to have telekinesis, but even she herself doesn't know how they work or when they work. Things seem to look up, though when she goes to the prom, is crowned prom queen, but then discovers it's a cruel prank to humiliate her.
NC: (shakes his head) Do I even need to say what happens next?
(Cut to the scene where Carrie unleashes an inferno on the teachers and other kids with her telekinesis)
NC (vo): The climax to Carrie is so famous and referenced so much, it's ingrained in our popular culture. And the great thing is, even if you know this going in, Carrie is loaded with tragic moments, disturbing imagery and a hope that this quiet girl will for once get a break. When she never does, though, you can easily understand why this third act is as effective as it is. Carrie used an experimental split-screen editing that was used only in a handful of films at the time. While this might seem a little gimmicky, it's surprisingly effective in a film like this, adding to the uncomfortable nature of what you're watching. Even with the option of two shots, there is nowhere you can look that isn't showing someone suffering. Lots of people have tried to replicate the idea, tone and overall creep value that Carrie has created. But even with all the imitators, there is only one Carrie.
(Cut to NC, where a poster of the sequel and the 2013 remake are shown in the corners. NC, smiling, doesn't even glance at them)
NC: Only one Carrie.
NC (vo): It's uncomfortable, it's eerie, it's a painful delight from beginning to end. Pleasant dreams and remember: (with a similar inflection as in "The Adam Sandler Song") They're all gonna laugh at you!
(The last scene shown is the burning car with Chris and her boyfriend, before fading into the background and a bloodstained Carrie is seen, looking with a creepy stare)
NC (vo): Number 7: Misery.
NC (vo): Number 6: Stand by Me.
NC (vo): Number 5: Dolores Claiborne.
NC (vo): Number 4: The Shawshank Redemption.
NC (vo): Number 3: Gerald's Game.
NC (vo): Number 2: The Shining.
NC: Before we get to Number 1, here's some honorable mentions.
(Nine movie posters of the honorable mentions are shown for the same amount of time Tim Curry's Pennywise needs to laugh one "Wa-ha!" These movies are, from the top left to the bottom right: Cujo, Creepshow 2, The Running Man, Christine, Silver Bullet, Cat's Eye, The Dead Zone, The Green Mile and Maximum Overdrive)
NC: And here we go.
NC (vo): And the Number 1 Stephen King movie is...
(NC is quiet for a moment and looks to the right)
NC: You're not gonna like it. You're really not gonna like it. Look, just hear me out before you go ranting about why I'm wrong- you all have a paragraph in the comments, don't you? (The comment section is shown with someone who has written "Ass!" 160 times in advance to post when needed) All right, all right, I'll just say it! It's Creepshow.