Stephen King's Fave Horror Movies Are Guaranteed To Scare You Senseless

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The next time you're planning a scary-movie night with your friends — or even by yourself, if you dare — you could do worse than the horror movies Stephen King has recommended over the years. I've got seven of them for you to pick from below, but rest assured that there are many, many more where those came from.

This fall, King will be honored by the British Film Institute (BFI) with the Stephen King On Screen season event from Sep. 1 through Oct. 3. In addition to screenings and discussions of the many Stephen King movies that have been made over the last 40 years, Stephen King On Screen will also feature exclusive screenings of five movies hand-selected by the master of horror. Those five movies are included below, with King's own commentary, along with two other films he recommended in Danse Macabre.

In selecting the movies for this list, I've attempted to choose films that many Bustle readers probably haven't seen, either because they are classic films from the 1950s and '60s, or because — in the case of more recent films — they are not very widely known today. A few of these movies have been remade over the years, but, to my knowledge, these are all the original film versions.

Check out the seven horror films Stephen King has recommended below, and share your favorite King-approved scary movies with me on Twitter!


'The Changeling'

Chessman Park Productions

Stream The Changeling here.

"For supernatural horror, I like Peter Medak’s film The Changeling, starring George C. Scott in perhaps his last great screen role. There are no monsters bursting from chests; just a child’s ball bouncing down a flight of stairs was enough to scare the daylights out of me."

— Stephen King, to BFI


'Event Horizon'

Golar Productions

Stream Event Horizon here.

"Basically a Lovecraftian terror tale in outer space with a The Quatermass Experiment vibe, done by the Brits. The plot’s messy, but the visuals are stunning and there’s an authentic sense of horrors too great to comprehend just beneath the eponymous event horizon."

— Stephen King, in Danse Macabre


'The Hitcher'

HBO Pictures

Stream The Hitcher here.

"The Hitcher is a terrifying road movie stripped back to basics. What sets this apart, other than some spectacular stunts, is the amazing performance of Rutger Hauer as the mysterious and homicidal John Ryder. 'Where did you come from?' asks the terrified kid Ryder is chasing. 'Disneyland,' Ryder whispers back."

— Stephen King, to BFI


'Night of the Demon'

Columbia Pictures Corporation

Stream Night of the Demon here.

"Although it’s old school, I love Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon, a pretty wonderful adaptation of M. R. James’ story, 'Casting the Runes.' Tourneur was a disciple of Val Lewton, which means the horror here is pretty understated, until the very end."

— Stephen King, to BFI


'The Stepfather'

Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Stream The Stepfather here.

"While we’re talking about terrifying men who come from nowhere, there’s The Stepfather, with Terry O’Quinn as the murderous (but charming) psycho looking for a family to love him. There’s that classic moment when he goes blank and says, 'Saaay, who am I this time?' before bludgeoning his wife with a telephone."

— Stephen King, to BFI


'Stir of Echoes'

Artisan Entertainment

Stream Stir of Echoes here.

"Writer/director David Koepp should be declared a national treasure. His adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1958 novel is an unsettling exploration of what happens when a blue-collar guy (Kevin Bacon) starts to see ghosts, thanks to a hypnotic suggestion."

— Stephen King, in Danse Macabre


'Village of the Damned'

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

Stream Village of the Damned here.

"On the subject of British horror (wrapped in an sci-fi bow), you can’t do much better than Village of the Damned, directed by Wolf Rilla and — like Night of the Demon — shot in beautiful black and white. It’s an adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos, by John Wyndham, and George Sanders does a stellar job as the schoolmaster tasked with teaching some very strange pupils."

— Stephen King, to BFI