15 Books You Didn't Know Stephen King Wrote

With 62 novels and 200 short stories under his belt, Stephen King is a literary icon and the king of horror.

The American author has sold more than 350 million copies of his books, with many of them being turned into classic movies.

However, some of those movies are so big that you may not even realise that King was the one who wrote them in the first place.

Here are 15 books that you may not have realised were written by Stephen King.


There are few cinematic images so memorable as Sissy Spacek's Carrie standing on stage in her prom dress and crown, covered in pigs' blood.

The 1976 movie, all about a bullied teenager who discovers she has telekinetic powers and uses them to get revenge on her school and her mother, came out just two years after King book of the same name.

The book uses newspaper clippings, magazine articles, letters and excerpts from books to tell how Carrie destroyed the fictional town of Chamberlain, Maine while exacting revenge on her classmates and her own mother.

Carrie was King's first published book, and it went on to spin off into four films and a stage play, while a mini-series is also in the works.

The Shining

Jack Nicholson in The Shining
Jack Nicholson peering through axed in door in lobby card for the film 'The Shining', 1980. Warner Bros/Getty Images

Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall is considered one of the greatest horror films ever made and is a pop culture staple thanks to moments like "Here's Johnny!"

However, the story came from King's 1977 novel of the same name, and he wasn't happy with the adaptation at all, although in recent years has praised it for contributing to the horror genre.

He told Playboy in 1983: "I'd admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result.

"Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat. I think there are two basic problems with the movie. First, Kubrick is a very cold man—pragmatic and rational—and he had great difficulty conceiving, even academically, of a supernatural world... a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel.

"So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters, and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: Because he couldn't believe, he couldn't make the film believable to others."

King said the movie's lead Jack Nicholson was "a fine actor" but was "all wrong for the part."

The Shawshank Redemption

Considered one of the greatest films ever made and nominated for seven Oscars, 1994's The Shawshank Redemption starred Tim Robbins as banker Andy Dufresne, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence.

The movie was based on a novella written by King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, from the 1982 collection Different Seasons, which was told from the character Red's perspective (played by Morgan Freeman in the movie).

In the book, the fate of a number of the characters is different and Boggs has a much smaller role, while Red is described as an Irishman.

The Green Mile

Originally released as six volumes, King released The Green Mile—the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe's encounter with John Coffey, an inmate who displays healing and empathic abilities—in 1996, and the book won the Bram Stoker Award for best novel the same year.

Three years later, the movie adaptation starring Tom Hanks was released, and it went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards.

The main difference between the book and the film is that while in the movie, Edgecombe is recounting his life to his friend Elaine verbally, in the book, he gives her his memoirs to read.

'Salem's Lot

Stephen King signing books
Writer, novelist, author Stephen King, signing copies of Cujo, Salem's Lot, and other books at a book signing party in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, circa 1976. Buddy Mays/Corbis via Getty Images

'Salem's Lot was Stephen King's second published novel, and the author has called it his favourite.

The 1975 novel follows Ben Mears as he returns to his childhood home of Jerusalem's Lot—or 'Salem's Lot for short—where he discovers the residents are becoming vampires.

The book was turned into a two-part mini-series in 1979 starring David Soul and another TV adaptation starring Rob Lowe in 2004, both of which were Emmy nominated.

It is also being made into a film, with It director Gary Dauberman at the helm.

Pet Sematary

That horrifying scene of the knife under the bed, pointing towards an Achilles heel? You can thank Stephen King for that.

King released Pet Sematary in 1983, the story of a family who moves to a new town where an ancient burial ground can bring deceased pets—and perhaps humans—back from the dead, but with a cost.

The book was turned into a movie in 1989, while a remake was released in 2019. While the first film stayed true to the book, the remake threw in new twists, including a new ending.


Who knew a car could be so terrifying? A 1958 Plymouth Fury apparently possessed by malevolent supernatural forces took centre stage in King's 1983 novel Christine.

The book was adapted for the big screen the same year, and it has since become a cult classic.


A Saint Bernard that turns murderous and rabid when bitten by a bat is the villain in King's 1981 book Cujo.

Two years later, Cujo was turned into a movie, and while it received mixed reviews at the time, it has since gained a cult following.


It is burned into our minds thanks to the image of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, whether that's Tim Curry peering up from the sewers in the 1990 mini-series, or a heavily made up Bill Skarsgård devouring children in the recent movies.

But It was originally a novel published by King in 1986, telling the story of seven children terrorised by an evil entity that often disguises itself as a dancing clown.

The 1,100 page novel may have produced some of the most famous King adaptations, but it also famously has a scene that, rightly, has never made it to the screen - a disturbing scene in which the Losers' Club all lose their virginity to Beverly, who is 11 years old, in the sewers.


Kathy Bates, James Caan in Misery
Kathy Bates watches over James Caan in a scene from the film 'Misery', 1990. Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

In 1987, King published Misery, the tale of a psychotic fan, Annie Wilkes, who holds her favourite author hostage following a car accident.

It was turned into a movie in 1990, and is so far the only King adaptation to win an Oscar, as Kathy Bates won for best actress.

That gruesome hobbling scene will never quite leave our nightmares.

Gerald's Game

In 2017, Gerald's Game dropped on Netflix—a horror starring Carla Gugino as a woman who heads to a cabin with her husband and engages in a kinky scene where she's handcuffed to the bed. However, her husband has a heart attack and dies, leaving her cuffed to the bed and unable to get help.

The film is based on a King novel of the same name published back in 1992, and the film stays pretty true to the book's events.

The Mist

King's novella The Mist was first published as part of the horror anthology Dark Forces in 1980, before being included in his own 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.

The novella tells the story of a town in Maine that is covered in a dense fog that conceals otherworldly creatures, and follows David Drayton as he tries to protect him and his son from both the creatures and the town's other residents.

Frank Darabont directed a film adaptation in 2007 with a much darker ending, which King loved, calling it a "jolt".

The Dark Tower

King has written eight books and one short story in his The Dark Tower fantasy series, which tells the story of a "gunslinger" and his quest toward a tower.

A 2017 film adaptation starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, which serves as a sequel to the events of The Dark Tower, is intended to be the first installment in a franchise, with the sequel expected to be based on The Drawing of the Three.

Stand By Me

One of the ultimate coming of age films, Stand By Me was released in 1986 and tells the story of four boys in 1959 who discover the body of a dead boy on a hike.

The film was based on King's novella The Body, which was included in the 1982 collection Different Seasons.

King called the Rob Reiner-directed movie the favourite of all the adaptations of his works.

Apt Pupil

Also in Different Seasons was the novella Apt Pupil, the story of ah igh school student who discovers a fugitive Nazi war criminal in his neighbourhood.

In 1998, the novella was adapted into a movie starring Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro, but the book is a lot more violent, and the ending was changed to be less brutal on screen.

Director Bryan Singer chose to tone down the level of violence as he didn't want it to seem "exploitative or repetitive".