Can You Guess the Stephen King Movie From a Single Sentence Summary?

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Ian Fortey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Lin Pictures / New Line Cinema / Vertigo Entertainment / KatzSmith Productions

About This Quiz

Stephen King's "Carrie" came out all the way back in 1976. Directed by Brian de Palma and starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta, it became an instant terror-filled classic that still stands the test of time decades later. It also started the rollercoaster ride of Stephen King movie adaptations that have hit incredible peaks of critical acclaim like "The Shawshank Redemption" and "It" and terrible lows with universally panned films like "Cell" and "Graveyard Shift." There's pretty much something for every taste in the Stephen King universe, whether you like gritty, gruesome horror, thought-provoking drama, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and a lot of coming of age character development.

Dozens of movies have been made based on the works of Stephen King; some of them have even been adapted more than once at this point. Others have had unofficial sequels, and some have been stretched into TV miniseries to try to cover everything the most prolific horror writer in the world has managed to sandwich between the covers of each work. If you consider yourself a true King fan, then it's time to show your stuff by seeing just how many of his works you can guess based on nothing more than a quick synopsis!

Which King adaptation features a nameless entity that manifests as a clown and preys on children's fears?

King's massive novel "IT" was around 500,000 words in length, making it about the size of four or five regular novels. The book was adapted as a miniseries on TV in the 1990s starring Tim Curry and then became his most successful adaptation in 2017, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

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A bullied and abused girl manifests deadly telekinetic powers in which adaptation?

The very first of King's adaptations, "Carrie" has proved to be one of the most popular and garnered both a remake and a sequel, neither of which was particularly popular, especially compared to that first one.

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A writer gets injured and ends up at the mercy of a deranged superfan in this movie. What's it called?

Kathy Bates takes on the role of the very disturbed Annie Wilkes in "Misery." This was one of the few King adaptations to be nominated for an Academy Award. Bates won the award for Best Actress in the film.

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In which movie do a mother and son find themselves trapped at the mercy of a massive, rabid dog?

"Cujo" was about a rabid St. Bernard, but the movie's dog handler was not happy about it. Karl Miller, who was tasked with training the dogs in the movie, asked for any other breed to work with because St. Bernards are a notoriously difficult breed to train.

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A wrongly convicted man forms a friendship with another convict before enacting a clever escape plan in which film?

"The Shawshank Redemption" is arguably one of King's most popular adaptations ever and also one of the most critically acclaimed. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards though it didn't win any.

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In which movie does a town full of creepy kids want to sacrifice a couple to a demonic being?

"Childen of the Corn" has spawned several sequels even though King only wrote the one novel. In the movie, a being known only as "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" will provide a bountiful harvest if victims are sacrificed to him.

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A writer takes a job as the offseason caretaker of a hotel along with his wife and son before slowing descending into madness in which movie?

Considered by many to be the greatest King adaptation ever, "The Shining" starred Jack Nicholson in one of his most iconic roles. Despite the fan love for the movie, Stephen King himself apparently hated the film, and lead actress Shelly Duvall also hated making the movie thanks to nearly non-stop abuse and harassment from director Stanley Kubrick.

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In what movie do four boys go on a journey to find a dead body?

"Stand By Me" was the first-ever non-horror adaptation of a King novel and was extremely popular. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Director Rob Reiner once said it was his favorite film out of all the ones he's directed.

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Drew Barrymore has pyrokinetic powers in which film?

One of King's earliest adaptations, "Firestarter" featured Drew Barrymore when she was just 9 years old. Back in 2002, the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) made a miniseries sequel starring Marguerite Moreau.

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This movie is about a mysterious gunslinger who crosses realities to fight an evil being. What is it?

"The Dark Tower" is kind of a sci-fi/horror/Western about multiple realities that are supported by the eponymous Dark Tower. The book series by King threads through nearly all of King's other works in some small way, and King himself even exists in the books.

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An innocent man with incredible powers is sent to Death Row where he has a profound impact on the lives of the guards. What's the movie?

"The Green Mile" is one of King's rare films that can't rightly be called horror even if it does have fantastic elements to it. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan.

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A group of strangers is trapped in a supermarket by mysterious, transdimensional monsters in what movie?

"The Mist" was released in 2007 and was so popular it actually ended up being adapted as a TV series in 2017 on Spike. Though the movie did fairly well, the TV series did not and was canceled after a single season.

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Which movie is about machines coming to life and killing people?

"Maximum Overdrive" was considered a massive failure of a movie and is routinely listed not just as one of King's worst but one of the worst movies ever made in general. It was also the first movie King directed himself.

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In this film, an ancient burial ground brings the dead back to life. What is it?

"Pet Sematary" is another one of King's books that have been adapted more than once. The original movie came out in 1989, and then a unpopular sequel was made in 1992. The original was then remade in 2019.

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A group of people finds themselves trapped in a mysterious and deadly field in which Netflix original?

Written by Stephen King and Joe Hill, "In the Tall Grass" is a surreal tale of a group of people trapped in a grassy field in which time and space no longer make a lot of sense. It starred Patrick Wilson, who's been a horror staple in movies like "Insidious" and "The Conjuring."

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Future criminals are forced to partake in a deadly game show in an effort to win their freedom in which film?

"The Running Man" is based on a book by Richard Bachman, which is one of King's pennames. The movie was one of several collaborations on-screen between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse "The Body" Ventura, both of whom would later become governors.

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A wooden Indian, a malevolent pond blob, and a hitchhiker that won't die are featured in three tales in which anthology?

"Creepshow 2" followed up the collaboration between King and George Romero in the first "Creepshow" movie. There were meant to be five parts to this film, including one called "The Cat From Hell" that ended up later being used in the movie "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie."

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Can you name the movie in which an evil laundry press kills people?

Arguably one of King's most bizarre adaptations, "The Mangler" is about a demonically-possessed laundry press. It was directed by legendary horror director Tobe Hooper who's most famous for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

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An author who investigates haunted houses gets trapped in a sinister hotel in what movie?

"1408" stars John Cusack and Sam Jackson, who also starred together in "Cell," another King adaptation several years later. "1408" has four separate endings. One was theatrical, one is available on the Blu-ray, and one used to be on Netflix though it was swapped out after a while.

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Do you know which film focuses on a wife handcuffed to a bed after her husband dies of a heart attack leaving her stranded?

Director Mike Flanagan's "Gerald's Game" was considered by many to be unfilmable due to the fact much of the story is supposed to be in the mind of the central character. The headboard of the bed in the movie is actually half of the evil mirror from the movie "Oculus," which was also directed by Mike Flanagan.

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This anthology features stories about killer roaches, a monster in a crate, zombies and alien-influenced plantlife. What is it?

Directed by "Night of the Living Dead's" George Romero, "Creepshow" is a horror anthology presented like tales in a comic book. When the movie was replayed on television back in the day, many channels would actually omit the final segment entitled "They're Creeping Up On You" due to time constraints.

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A simple-minded gardener transcends humanity with the help of a virtual reality machine in this movie. Do you know it?

It's safe to say "The Lawnmower Man" is one of Stephen King's least favorite adaptations ever. The original title was "Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man" until the author sued to have his name removed, basically arguing the movie butchered his story so badly it had nothing to do with what he wrote. And it's true, the movie and the story it's based on have literally nothing in common.

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Do you know which movie focuses on a creepy antique shop that offers many unusual items but charges more than money for them?

Max Von Sydow stars as the nefarious shopkeep Leland Gaunt in "Needful Things." The Sheriff in the movie is named Alan Pangborn, who is also in King's movie "The Dark Half" and the TV show "Castle Rock."

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This movie is about a town plagued by werewolf attacks. What's it called?

"Silver Bullet" is a 1985 film that starred Gary Busey and Corey Haim. Word is that Gary Busey got so into the character he was playing that he actually ad-libs a good portion of his dialogue in the film.

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In this film, a woman returns home to see her mother who has been accused of murder. What is it?

"Dolores Claiborne" was the second collaboration between King and Kathy Bates. In fact, Stephen King wrote the character in the novel specifically with Kathy Bates in mind after really enjoying her performance in the movie "Misery."

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A lawyer gets cursed by a gypsy in this movie. Do you know it?

When "Thinner" was first released, it was actually put in some theaters as one half of a double feature alongside Michael Jackson's "Ghosts," which was also written by Stephen King.

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A vengeful and jealous 1958 Plymouth Fury kills those who get between it and its own in this movie. Can you name it?

Directed by horror icon John Carpenter, "Christine" was actually greenlit as a movie before Stephen King had even published the novel, proving just how popular a writer he was at that point in time. Sixteen Plymouth Furys were used in the filming of the movie, along with some repurposed Belvederes and Savoys.

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Which film features friends on a camping trip who discover parasitic aliens?

"Dreamcatcher" starred Morgan Freeman, who doesn't even show up until the film is almost half over, and Thomas Jane, who took the role because his mom was a big fan of Stephen King's work and told him he should make it.

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In which film does a man develop psychic powers after awakening from a coma?

Directed by horror legend David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken, this is one of King's best-reviewed adaptation to date with over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also adapted into a TV show that starred Anthony Michael Hall.

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Do you know which movie was about a farmer murdering his wife and trying to cover it up?

"1922" is the third King adaptation Thomas Jane starred in after "Dreamcatcher" and "The Mist." This was also the second adaptation of a King story made by Netflix. "Gerald's Game" was the first and "In The Tall Grass" is the third.

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This movie is about a serial killer pilot vampire. What is it called?

"The Night Flier" is one of King's lesser-known adaptations. There was actually going to be a sequel to this called "Fear of Flying" that the director and King worked on together, but they weren't able to secure funding since the first movie wasn't all that popular.

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An author is tormented by a threatening rival who accuses him of plagiarism in this movie. What is it?

Johnny Depp stars as Mort Rainey in "Secret Window." In one part of the movie, when Depp's character is having trouble sleeping, there's an ocean scene that wasn't actually filmed for this movie. It was extra footage that had been shot for "Jurassic Park II."

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In which film does a writer's alter ego come to life and try to take over?

"The Dark Half" is a very slightly autobiographical tale from King as, for many years, King wrote under the name Richard Bachman without anyone knowing it was actually him. By outing himself, he effectively killed off the alter ego, much like the character in "The Dark Half."

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In this anthology, a little girl is plagued by a goblin, a man is sadistically encouraged to quit smoking, and another man is blackmailed onto a building ledge. What film is it?

"Cat's Eye" is another King adaptation that starred a young Drew Barrymore. The presence of the cat links each of the three tales in the story. There was originally a prologue that explained the presence of the cat, but it was cut out of the final film, making it confusing as to why the cat is even there at all.

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Shapeshifting cat-like monsters that feed on humans move to a small town in this movie. What is it called?

"Sleepwalkers" was the first film King wrote specifically as a screenplay, rather than the other movies, which were adapted from novels he had already written. All things being equal, it's one of King's least successful films to date.

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