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04.05.2013by: Alex Maidy

The Ten Spot: Best Unfilmed Stephen King Stories

Stephen King is one of America's greatest contemporary storytellers. His pop fiction has influenced countless films and television shows and almost every one of his novels has been adapted for the big and small screen, with varying success. But, did you know there are still countless short stories and novels by the master that have never been adapted? Some of his best works are still out there, ripe for the silver screen. Take a look at the ten best and add your picks in the talk backs below.

#10 - The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

One of Stephen King's shorter books and often overlooked because it is not a horror novel, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of those books that is begging for a Frank Darabont adaptation. The tale of a little girl who loved the Boston Red Sox, she gets lost in the forest with only her radio and a baseball game to keep her company. As the batteries die, she imagines her favorite player, Tom Gordon, is there with her, guiding her to safety from an unseen monster. A fascinating read full of tension, this would be an amazing movie.

#9 - Blockade Billy

Another Stephen King baseball story, Blockade Billy reads like a cross between THE NATURAL and a murder mystery. The retro 1950s baseball story in itself is worth the read, but Stephen King slides a twisty surprise into the story. Coming in at just over 100 pages, Blockade Billy is a short read that could make another excellent film adaptation. I always imagine the film as a David Fincher/Brad Pitt project, which would make it instantly watchable for even non-King fans.

#8 - The Gingerbread Girl

Stephen King has a subset of novels involving women in abusive relationships who find a way to fight back (DOLORES CLAIBORNE, GERALD'S GAME, ROSE MADDER), but The Gingerbread Girl has the most cinematic setup. A woman named Emily is jogging when she is abducted. The story follows her fighting free and eventually overcoming her captor. A basic setup, but giving the story entirely a female focus, the story ends up being very empowering. The story has only one true main character and would be quite the acting challenge for a quality actress.

#7 - Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the few mammoth novels (800 pages) that has not been adapted. This is likely because it ties in directly to The Dark Tower saga, which makes it difficult for audiences who are unfamiliar with the fantasy cycle. But, the story of an old man who learns of mysterious slien-like beings who are trying to destroy the world for their master, The Crimson King. The story is a bit convoluted for the non-Dark Tower fans, but much like the book Hearts In Atlantis, it could be adapted into a more mainstream mystery/adventure. Think UP crossed with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

#6 - 11/22/63

One of King's recent novels, 11/22/63 is an excellent time travel story that was almost adapted by Jonathan Demme. Demme left the project last year after disagreeing with King on which elements to drop from the big (850 pages) novel. The story centers on Jake Epping who stumbles onto a portal back to 1958. There he sets out to prevent the Kennedy assassination. The twist is if he ever leaves the past and re-enters the portal, the timeline resets. What follows is a brilliant and intricate paradox of a tale that will leave you scratching your head in the best possible way.

#5 - Cell

Eli Roth was working on an adaptation of Cell for a long time and we have yet to see it. The book almost feels like a Cliff's Notes version of THE STAND, but that is not a negative. The conceit in this novel is that a signal sent over cell phones turns people into zombie-like maniacs. Clayton Riddell must travel a post-apocalyptic New England to reunite with his son. John Cusack is in talks to play the lead, which would mark his second King film after the ghost story 1408. Cell may not be the most original King story, but it is one hell of a fun ride.

#4 - The Eyes of the Dragon

I often recommend The Eyes of the Dragon as an alternative to King's horror fiction since many people don't know the varied genres the author has played in. This novel is the most purely fantasy centered of all the King works and is a good read for the GAME OF THRONES fans in your life. With the massive success of that show, I would think this novel of double crossing sorcerors, kings and princes would have been snapped up after THE LORD OF THE RINGS became a huge hit, but it still remains unadapted. Someone jump on this one already!

#3 - The Talisman

Another excellent novel, The Talisman has long been in development hell. Most recently it was going to be a TNT mini-series which failed to come to fruition. The tale of Jack Sawyer travelling between our world and a parallel version of America to save his mother is THE NEVERENDING STORY, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and THE DARK TOWER all rolled into one. It is such an awesome adventure that it would make a great movie. The sequel novel Black House is so tonally different that it could become a great standalone film on it's own.

#2 - The Long Walk

My favorite Richard Bachman novel, The Long Walk is basically THE HUNGER GAMES meets THE RUNNING MAN, minus the running. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where an annual event gathers 100 young men who must compete in a race to survive. Each walker must maintain a speed of 4 miles an hour. If they drop below that for 30 seconds they are warned. If a walker is warned three times, they are "ticketed"/shot to death. The novel focuses on the group of walkers as they slowly drop from the race. I have never been enthralled by a book about walking before and probably never will be again. Frank Darabont owns the rights to the movie and I hear he isn't making anything right now. Get to it, Frank!

#1 - The Dark Tower

Of course this is number one! From Damon Lindelof and JJ Abrams to Ron Howard, The Dark Tower is the ultimate Stephen King adaptation that has not happened yet. The sprawling seven plus volume saga touches everything from horror to scifi to romance to western to drama to time travel and more. Much like GAME OF THRONES, The Dark Tower would work in that same "novel as a season" model. The violent and sexual nature of the story would work best on HBO or another pay cable station while the complex plot would need a 13 episode season to best expound on the layered tale. This must be made some day and I would be willing to bet it won't be much longer before we get it.

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