1. The Shining
Finally, we have The Shining, perhaps one of the best known Stephen King adaptations. It achieved notoriety while taking very little of that novel to heart, all boiling down to the director's own vision.
Stanley Kubrick was a visionary, a contentious director who would make films in his own way, no one else's. While King did serve as an executive producer on the 1980 film, the director was firm, not wanting to make a direct adaptation of the same narrative. The story of Jack Torrance and his family heading to an isolated mountain hotel was kept, but the building of tension that permeated the production was changed.
As opposed to the breakdown in family and decaying humanity seen in the book, Jack Torrance's descent into insanity is instead achieved through both the film's chilling atmosphere and Jack Nicholson's unhinged performance. Critics were divided on The Shining at the time, but in the decades that followed, it received recognition as one of the creepiest releases ever made.
The Shining veered far from King's original vision and the result was one of Stanley Kubrick's defining masterpieces. Its power is still felt today, even if the original author has mixed feelings on how it turned out.
Got any other major adaptations that moved away from the books? Let us know in the comments below.