Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Novels and Their Big Screen Adaptations

by  |  January 19th, 2011  |  Blog

I was sitting here writing a recommendation for the movie Carrie, relishing the experience of remembering just how much I not only enjoyed watching Carrie, but also reading Stephen King’s novel.

Carrie is a great example of the power and impact that novels still have on people and how their big screen adaptions can retain that power as well… What do I mean by this you might be asking, well first off before I go in to this let me qualify what I am about to say with the fact that I have been a fan of just about every movie that was adapted from a Stephen King movie that has ever been made.

Anyway, Carrie is a great example for me about the power that books tend to still have – even when made into a movie – because, I can remember many a night sitting inside the empty class room at the boarding school I was attending at the time just completely engrossed in the story. Now unlike the movie, the book actually take’s place after the final events in Carrie, when an investigation is initiated in to what happened that horrific night.

Being as I had seen the movie first and that the movie took place when everything that was occurring that led up to that fateful night was happening, also being able to to read about the events that happened afterward (i,e.  The investigation in to what happened) I really felt like I had been privy to the complete story! Because of that fact Carrie is still to this day one of my favorite books and novels ever made


For more information on Carrie check it out here!

I haven’t even gotten in to the rest of this article, (If that gives you an idea of what the power of Big Screen Adaptions of Novels can do for a person!)

Anyway I got to thinking about all of this, and I got to thinking that there were several truly fantastic novels that were also made in to big screen adaptions that I thought I would share a few of with you…

Stephen King chillin out.

Obviously there is Stephen King’s works, which what I mentioned above about Carrie is one of them. Mr. King has had literally dozens of his novels made for the big screen! A couple of examples of these are movies such as Lewis Teague’s Cujo and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Did you know though that a young Drew Barrymore had been in a Stephen King film?  That’s right folks, as a matter of fact before Drew became one of Charlie’s Angels, even before she was Bjergen Kjergen in Wayne’s World 2. Little Drew Barrymore was playing it up as little Charlie McGee in Firestarter with David Keith, Heather Locklear and Martin Sheen!

For those of you who haven’t heard about Firestarter.  Even though it is a supernatural thriller, I have to admit that it is a very endearing movie to watch! This movie tells the story of Charlie McGee who due to a drug trial that her parent’s had participated in when they were in college was given special powers… Ever since then Charlie and her family were living in secret until the family was discovered by The Company (A government organization being run by Captain Hollister, who was played magnificently by Martin Sheen!) The mother gets killed off and now Charlie and her father (Played by David Keith) are on the run for their lives, and trying not to get caught by the Company (so that the company can use the McGee family for research!)

Now the premise between the book and the movie are the same, and the movie is great but the book in this case is significantly better! The reason for this is not because they did the movie wrong, or even that as a stand alone movie Firestarter would have been better.  Quite the contrary as a matter of fact, the only thing that makes the book better then the movie is that they would have had to have made the movie a lot longer then it was to truly capture the brilliance that Stephen King put in to the novel.

David Keith and Drew Barrymore as Andy and Charlie McGee

As a big screen adaption, Firestarter captured the same emotions that I felt when I read the book (Seeing and reading what the McGee family went through while on the run and beyond, chokes me up each time!) The movie also captured the tone of desperation from the book utterly dare I say it… Awesomely!

Those are just a couple examples that I can give you about the power of Stephen King’s work.  If your interested in finding out more about his novels that had been made in to big screen adaptions then you can check it out here!

Author Tom Clancy

Another great writer who has written several novels with a fair number of them being turned in to movies is Tom Clancy! Now we all know about those great flicks like ‘Patriot Games’, ‘Clear and Present Danger’ and even ‘The Sum of All Fears.’  All of those which star Jack Ryan as the titular lead character.  But did you know that before Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Jack Ryan in ‘The Sum of All Fears,’ or even before Harrison’s Ford’s portrayal of Jack Ryan, that Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) had taken Ryan from the novels to the big screen in ‘The Hunt for Red October’ with Sean Connery, Scott Glenn and James Earl Jones?

That’s right folks.  For a little refresher course on The Hunt for Red October… The movie tells the story of Captain Marko Ramius (Connery), a Captain in the Soviet Navy! He is put in charge of one of the Soviet’s latest submarines ‘Red October’.  Now with Captain Ramius ready to defect to the United States. He keeps his crew in the dark about what he is really doing and runs his vessel in silent mode while heading towards US waters!

Sean Connery and Sam Neill as Captains Marko Ramius and Vasili Borodin

When the U.S. catches wind of this they send in the only American to have had much contact with him, ‘Jack Ryan’ (Baldwin) to get in touch with Ramius and to find out what his true intentions are!

Of course like most books unfortunately, this book also is better then the movie only in that the movie’s length could not fit all of the intrigue and mystery and litterally utter brilliance that Tom Clancy put in to his bo0k!  With that said the movie still does a great job in how it was filmmed cinematically, and the great job that the entire cast and crew did setting up an air of mystery of what is really going on through out the movie, and both the political and military intrigue that surrounds it!

There are many other great Tom Clancy books that were made in to movies, but this one has to be my favorite of the ones that he did and in my opinion it truly is an awesome B movie! If you would like more information on his other books that were turned in to movies, I highly recommend checking them out here!

My last and final Author for now that I think has had some truly spectacular books that were made in to the big screen! Movies such as ‘Interview with the Vampire’ with Brad Pitt and Exit to Eden with Dan Aykroyd, is Anne Rice!

Author Anne RIce

The book that was made for the big screen that I think is truly magnificent is ‘Queen of the Damned’ with Aaliyah & Stuart Townsend.

Now you maybe asking yourself Queen of the Damned! Really? He must be nuts! Why isn’t he mentioning Interview with the Vampire? For me to answer this first off let me preface this by saying that both Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned along with a series of other books are called ‘The Vampire Chronicles.’

With that said now I can tell you… The reason why I am picking the second in the movie series is that Queen of the Damned actually captures wonderfully elements of both books ‘The Vampire Lestat’ and ‘Queen of the Damned.’  What I mean by this, is the movie magnificently portrays how modern vampires are, with their goth mentality of wearing lots of leather and listening to extreme death metal, and how separating it is for their older more suave and debonair elders and how they are coping with the changing of the time!  The other thing that I also liked is that Queen of the Damned also gave a kind of  brief glimpse of what life was like for Lestat before he became a vampire, as well as when he wasn’t currently living the events of Interview with the Vampire!

Vincent Perez and Stuart Townsend as Marius and Lestat

(As a little side note of interest I thought that I would mention that this happened to be the enormously talented actress Aaliyah’s last film as she ended up dying during production of Queen of the Damned.)


If you would like some more information on Anne Rice’s body of work that has been made in to movies, feel free to check here.

All in all their are other author’s work that I also highly recommend checking out such as Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and JK Rowlings, Jules Verne… But well you know, I could go on about this topic forever but at this point I think it is pretty safe to say that I will be writing more on this topic later! Until then, enjoy.

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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