Maine. It’s home to lighthouses, lobster rolls, and some of the freakiest creepers known to the horror genre. Thanks to Stephen King, of course. The prolific writer has delivered one terrifying tale after another over the last four decades. And with this week’s release of Finders Keepers, the second in King’s murder mystery trilogy (the first, Mr. Mercedes, won an Edgar), the author shows no sign of slowing down.
Any why would he? Especially since King’s novels consistently receive the Hollywood treatment.
Movie adaptations of Cujo, The Dead Zone, and The Shining have sent shivers down the spines of moviegoers everywhere. Under the Dome is still going strong on television, while the author’s epic horror fantasy series The Dark Tower is slated to grace the silver screen very soon.
So in honor of the horror maestro, we rounded up 6 creepy icons from Stephen King’s best movies, scary characters that could only come from the master himself.
Pennywise, the Clown
This red-nosed waking nightmare is the sole reason we couldn’t get through bath time as a kid without an episode. A sadistic wisecracker, Pennywise lives in the sewer and lures kids into his reach so he can eat them. Who’d have thought such a permanent nightmare could have come from a made-for-TV movie?
The Grady Twins
From: The Shining
It’s possible these gingham-dressed ghostlets made excellent double Dutch partners back when their blood ran warm. As postmortem ghouls, however, their ominous “Come play with us” invite just makes us want to run screaming down the mountain, forever… and… ever.
From: Pet Sematary
There’s a lot to fear in King’s horror tale about a cemetery that spits out evil versions of its recently buried bodies. You have Pascow, the dead guy with half his brain hanging out, and Church, the family cat who returns as one pissy pussy. But it’s the mother’s dirty secret – her bony sister suffering from spinal meningitis —who still haunts our dreams. Don’t open the door—seriously.
Sure, her religious jargon gets tiresome, but Margaret White’s bizarrely misguided notions about puberty—“pimples are the Lord’s way of chastising you”—really get under our skin. So, go on, joke about old Marge winning mother of the year. Any character that causes us to be suspicious of our own mommy dearest deserves some kind of award.
Though she’s got a killer swing that would come in handy on a croquet course, there’s no way we’re getting within a hobbled foot of Anne Marie Wilkes Dugan. On paper, she’s a saint: Kindly nurse saves famed writer. On screen, she’s the angel of death: Cockadoo super fan mangles man with a sledgehammer.
Curb your outrage: We love pooches. But the second this great St. Bernard got bit by a rabid bat, he went from family pet to killing machine. If you’re not familiar with Cujo, he is the slobbering beast holding a mother and her asthmatic son hostage in their Pinto. Could be worse – imagine if they were trapped inside King’s killer car, “Christine.”
Featured still from "The Shining" via Warner Bros. and "It" via Warner Bros. Television