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Horror master Stephen King once named his 22 favourite films of all time

At a time when the film industry remains ravaged by the current health crisis, cinemas and movie theatres remain closed amid strict social distancing measures and film fans are forced to change the way they source their entertainment, we’re stepping back into the Far Out archives to find some recommendations from the best in the business. Stephen King, the undisputed master of horror, the award-winning novelist who has enjoyed unprecedented success when transitioning his work into cinema, once named the 22 films which he considered his favourites and we’re diving in.

Ever since Brian De Palma adapted King’s book, Carrie, into a film back in 1976, the novelist has seen no fewer than 50 feature films birthed off the back of his writing with more scheduled to arrive in the next 12 months. Alongside Brian De Palma, King has worked with some of the best in the world of cinema with the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, George A. Romero and, most recently, Mike Flanagan all taking King’s stories to the big screen. As King oversaw the release of Doctor Sleep, the highly praised sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining which was adapted by Flanagan himself, we decided to look back at some films that have had a lasting impact on the man behind the ideas.

“When you get a really gifted director in particular who wants to guide the process of the film, the actual creation, that filmmaker wants to work with the screenwriter in order to get certain effects that they want,” King once said of his collaborations with filmmakers. “There was a time when I distrusted that process very much. But having been around the business with so many films, I have more of a tendency to trust good directors than I used to.”

He added: “I love the movies, and when I go to see a movie that’s been made from one of my books, I know that it isn’t going to be exactly like my novel because a lot of other people have interpreted it. But I also know it has an idea that I’ll like because that idea occurred to me, and I spent a year, or a year and a half of my life working on it.”

The below list, which was comprised by Open Culture, has been sourced via suggestions in which King picked out for Bloody Disgusting, the British Film Institute, and Fandor. With a mix of some classic cinema and some new releases, King previously stated: “I am especially partial—this will not surprise you—to suspense films.”

Despite detailing at length his admiration for Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 film The Blair Witch Project in the past, King admitted: “My favourite film of all time—this may surprise you—is Sorcerer, William Friedkin’s remake of the great Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear.

“Some may argue that the Clouzot film is better; I beg to disagree.”

See the full list, below.

Stephen King’s 22 favourite films:

  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe – André Øvredal, 2016.
  • The Blair Witch Project – Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999.
  • The Changeling – Peter Medak, 1980.
  • Crimson Peak – Guillermo del Toro, 2015.
  • Dawn of the Dead – Zack Snyder, 2004.
  • Deep Blue Sea – Renny Harlin, 1999.
  • The Descent – Neil Marshall, 2005.
  • Duel – Steven Spielberg, 1971.
  • Les Diaboliques – Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955.
  • Final Destination – James Wong, 2000.
  • Event Horizon – Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997.
  • The Hitcher – Robert Harmon, 1986 and Dave Meyers, 2007.
  • The Last House on the Left – Dennis Iliadis, 2009.
  • The Mist – Frank Darabont, 2007.
  • Night of the Demon – Jacques Tourneur, 1957.
  • The Ruins – Carter Smith, 2008.
  • Sorcerer – William Friedkin, 1977.
  • Stepfather – Joseph Ruben, 1986.
  • Stir of Echoes – David Koepp 1999.
  • The Strangers – Bryan Bertino, 2008.
  • Village of the Damned – Wolf Rilla, 1960.
  • The Witch Robert Eggers, 2015.