Stephen King Recommends Many Horror Movies, But These 10 Are His Favorites

Stephen King Recommends Many Horror Movies, But These 10 Are His Favorites
Image credit: Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures

What could be better than horror recommendations from the King of Horror himself? Only recommendations of his most favorite ones.

Stephen King not only participates in the creation of horror films, but also enjoys watching them. The writer often publishes reviews of new movies on his X account, but we have chosen only those that King has repeatedly declared his love for and recognized as his favorites.

1. Diabolique, 1955

A dark thriller about women's revenge by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The action takes place in a provincial boarding school run by an unpleasant middle-aged man named Michel. His wife and his latest lover, a young teacher, join forces to kill the unfaithful man. Some time later, the women discover that Michel's body has disappeared.

Of all the films the term Hitchcockian has ever been used to describe, Clouzot's Diabolique is the most Hitchcockian of them all. Moreover, Alfred Hitchcock himself intended to adapt the French novel, the film's original source, but was late in acquiring the rights. At the same time, King claims that Clouzot outdid Hitchcock himself, and the movie is as frightening today as it was in the '50s.

2. The Changeling, 1980

After the death of his wife and daughter, composer John Russell moves from New York to Seattle and buys an abandoned mansion in the country. Soon Russell begins to have nightmares, and strange things begin to happen in the house.

King called The Changeling his favorite mystical horror film, in which there are no scary monsters, but there’s a child's ball bouncing down the stairs that is enough to scare you to death. King also believes that this is one of the best roles in George C. Scott's career.

3. Curse of the Demon, 1957

Curse of the Demon is an adaptation of the story Casting the Runes by the British author M. R. James, who was not only admired by King but also by Lovecraft himself. The plot revolves around a professor who comes to England to investigate the death of his colleague who was studying a certain demonic cult.

According to King, Curse of the Demon is not only one of the best old-school horror films, scaring you first with its eerie atmosphere and only showing the real horror at the end, but also a worthy adaptation of the original book.

4. Village of the Damned, 1960

Village of the Damned is a classic British horror movie with a sci-fi twist. An inexplicable force causes all the inhabitants of a small village to fall asleep. When they awaken, they discover that all the women of child-bearing age are pregnant – giving birth to identical blond children who grow abnormally fast and possess supernatural abilities.

As with Curse of the Demon, King praises the film primarily for its worthy translation of the story from the pages of book (The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham) to the big screen, calling Village of the Damned the best classic British horror.

5. The Hitcher, 1986

A road movie with lots of murders and car crashes, in which a young man driving a Cadillac through Texas picks up a hitchhiker who kills both lonely drivers and entire families.

The hitcher is played by Rutger Hauer, and it is he who King praises the most – according to the author, Hauer "will never be topped" as a cold-blooded killer.

6. The Stepfather, 1987

A charismatic man named Jerry Blake moves in with a single woman and her teenage daughter. The perfect stepfather arouses the girl's suspicions, and for a good reason. Blake turns out to be a serial killer who murders single mothers.

King likes the type of character he describes as a terrifying man who comes out of nowhere. In The Stepfather by Joseph Ruben, such a character is played by Terry O'Quinn, known to most viewers for his role as John Locke on the TV series Lost. Blake, according to King, is an absolutely charming psychopathic killer looking for a family to love him.

7. Event Horizon, 1997

A rescue ship is sent to the other side of the solar system to find out what happened to a high-speed spaceship that disappeared long ago and suddenly reappeared near the planet Neptune. Nothing good awaits the rescuers on the abandoned ship – only horror and endless space around them.

King described Event Horizon as Lovecraft's terror mixed with The Quatermass Xperiment, in which a group of scientists launch a rocket into space that returns to Earth without any of its crew and with a mutant astronaut aboard.

8. The Blair Witch Project, 1999

A low-budget mockumentary horror film whose success paved the way for this genre of horror films on the big screen. Three students venture into the deep woods to make a documentary about the local legend of the evil Blair Witch and disappear. A year later, the footage they filmed is found, but the students themselves are not.

In The Blair Witch Project, King, like many other viewers, was captivated by the film's hyper-realism, which makes you feel like you are in a nightmare yourself.

9. The Autopsy of Jane Doe, 2016

The action of this movie by Norwegian director Andre Ovredal takes place mainly in one place – the autopsy room, where a father and son perform an autopsy on an unknown woman, trying to determine the cause of her death. At first, they are surprised by how untouched her body looks, but then they begin to find strange details.

The movie is an example of impeccable storytelling, as the characters constantly question their sanity while dealing with an object that doesn't move, scream, or attack them. Few movies could pull off such a trick, which King agrees with, saying that this horror could compete with such classics as Alien and the films of David Cronenberg.

10. Sorcerer, 1977

Four emigrants with nothing to lose get involved in a dubious adventure: they have to transport a truck loaded with explosives. Each is promised $10,000 if the cargo does not explode en route. William Friedkin remade the 1953 Franco-Italian thriller The Wages of Fear, casting 1970s star Roy Scheider in the lead role.

Though The Sorcerer is not a horror film in the strictest sense, but rather a dark thriller, this list would not be complete without it. King has called The Sorcerer his favorite movie of all time, one that keeps the audience on edge and unable to look away from the screen.