Stephen King by the numbers

The Dark Tower is just the latest Stephen King story making the leap from page to screen. Here are some of the numbers behind the many King adaptations that have appeared over the decades.

The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba as Roland Deschain (the Gunslinger), and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black, is the latest Stephen King story to jump from the page to the big screen. In King's extensive catalogue, The Dark Tower series comprises eight novels.

And it's not the only film based on a Stephen King book to hit screens this year. It will also be released next month and the anticipation around seeing Pennywise the Clown in the film has garnered a sizable buzz on social media.

The Dark Tower and It are just two of the over 30 cinematic projects King has been involved with. Ranging from horror to drama, he has been associated with some of the most acclaimed, controversial and downright scary movie moments of the past 40 years.

Here are some of the numbers behind a few of them.


Carrie was Stephen King's first novel, published in 1974, and it was the first of all of his books to become a movie in 1976. Starring Sissy Spacek, the film is widely regarded as one of the best horror films ever made.


It's a small number, but this is the number of blows Kathy Bates' Annie Wilkes character administers to novelist Paul Sheldon's (James Caan) ankles with a sledgehammer in Misery. Based on the 1987 King novel, this gruesome scene from the 1990 film is seared into the brains of cinema fans.

217 and 237

Stephen King's breakthrough bestseller was The Shining. Published in 1977, King's inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in the book came from staying at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. However, when Stanley Kubrick made the film version of the book in 1980, the exterior shots in the film were of the Timberline Lodge in Portland.

The pivotal hotel room in the novel was changed from 217 to 237 in the film because the hotel wanted to make sure people would still want to rent it, given the terrifying content of the film. However, according to the lodge, room 217 is requested more than any of its rooms.

237 (again)

237 is also the number of Red's prison cell number in The Shawshank Redemption. The film was based on a story by Stephen King titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from his 1982 collection Different Seasons. The number also comes up again in Stand by Me: When the boys count their money in the film, it totals $2.37.


And speaking of Stand by Me, which is based on the Stephen King novella The Body, five is the number of blueberry pies it took before Lardass Hogan began to vomit, triggering one of the messiest chain reactions in movie history. The scene is narrated by Wil Wheaton's character Gordi. The scene was included in King's original novella and Rob Reiner, director of the 1986 film, thankfully kept it in the movie's final version.



To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?