Stephen King Reveals His Worst Movie Adaptation

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Stephen King worst movie

Stephen King occupies the throne of horror fiction. The prolific author masterminded nightmare fuel like It, The Shining, Carrie, Pet Sematary, and many more. The seemingly interminable work of Stephen King has been adapted for the screen many times over, and in a report from Far Out Magazine, the author minced no words about which film he believes is the worst movie based on his work: 1984’s Firestarter.

Directed by Mark L. Lester, the man behind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quintessential Commando, Firestarter shows King flex his science fiction muscles. The story follows a child named Charlie, played by a young Drew Barrymore, who develops pyrokinetic abilities; a kid who can set things ablaze with her mind naturally draws the attention of shady government characters, and Charlie’s father, played by David Keith, must protect her. Stephen King admits the film follows the plot of his book well, but feels its lifeless quality makes it his worst movie.

Drew Barrymore in Firestarter

King is not alone in his opinion of Firestarter. The movie opened to mixed reactions, but ultimately garnered a disappointing average; today it holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38% from critics and 53% from audiences. By that metric, however, the 1984 Firestarter is far from Stephen King’s worst movie, beaten in the race to the bottom by the likes of Children of the Corn, The Dark Tower, and most ironically, the 2022 remake of Firestarter, which starred Zac Efron as Charlie’s father in a move that made a lot of people realize how old they actually are.

Arguably, Stephen King directed his worst movie. Maximum Overdrive, King’s sole directing credit, lurks near the bottom of the list. The fight to survive an onslaught of murderous machines marks a dark spot in King’s acclaimed career, but that hasn’t killed King’s ambition to return to the director’s chair.

Though King’s screenplay and directing credits are uneven, the author’s prose prowess is undeniable. The written works of Stephen King continue to hit bookstore shelves, and Hollywood keeps eating up the writer’s intellectual property. King’s latest book, Fairy Tale, was released in September and its film rights were snapped up in a matter of days. Whether the acquisition will result in competition for Stephen King’s best or worst movie will remain to be seen.

Whether King pens the screenplay or is in the director’s chair or not, his work continues to hit the big screen, and soon, a new addition to the small screen comes to HBO Max. Welcome to Derry, a prequel series to It: Chapter One and Chapter Two is on the way from Jason Fuchs and Brad Kane, known for their recent work on Wonder Woman and Tokyo Vice, respectively. When calculating Stephen King’s best and worst movie, do TV shows count?

Stephen King is a household name beloved by some, feared by others, and known by all. The author has been a tremendous force in popular culture for nearly half a century, and he’s not stopping yet. According to King, writing stories is what he was meant to do, and as long as he’s around, he intends to fulfill his purpose.