Graveyard Shift
1.1k voters

Scenes From Stephen King Books Too Awful For The Big Screen

Updated June 2, 2021 4.8k votes 1.1k voters 91.3k views10 items

List RulesVote up the nastiest scenes from Stephen King's novels that were not included in the film versions.

In the conversation about horror novels and their film adaptations, it can be argued books are the more disturbing of the two, because no matter how realistic the special effects in said movies are, they can never replace the effectiveness of the imagination. This is certainly true of Stephen King movies. They often contain scenes faithfully adapted from their source books, but they lack the emotional heft of the written word. And yet, there are some scenes from King's novels that are simply better left on the page, either because Hollywood standards keep them on the cutting room floor or because they're so gruesome.

Here are several of just such scenes, but beware of SPOILERS.

  • Included only in the uncut edition of The Stand, published in 1990, the sexual assault King conjured is truly bleak. It involves Trashcan Man, who plays a pivotal role in the climax of the novel, and the Kid, a character originally only glimpsed in flashbacks. The scene begins with what seems like a moment of tenderness between the two men; they're in bed together after a night of drinking. But things turn horrific pretty quickly:

    While Trash ultimately escapes the situation with his life, he is left enormously scarred emotionally by the experience.

    • Category: Book
  • While George Romero's film of The Dark Half is fairly tame, Stephen King's novel is not, especially concerning the death of a cop called Eddings:

    • Category: Film
  • You won't find this scene in the film adaptation of Misery, directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan and Kathy Bates in her Oscar-winning role as Annie Wilkes. There are some pretty horrible images featured in the movie - including the infamous "hobbling" about midway through the narrative - but nothing is as gut-churning as Annie's dispatching of a state trooper with her riding lawnmower:

    • Category: Book
  • For his 1980 film The Shining, Stanley Kubrick changed quite a bit from the source King novel, including some key elements of the book's climax. While his Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) famously brandishes an ax to terrorize his family, King's protagonist lets loose with a roque mallet (no, not a croquet mallet, though they're similar).

    Jack's most violent attack - and possibly the most violent moment in the whole novel - concerns the remodeling job the tormented ex-drunk does on his own face:


    • Category: Film