He remains the Master of Horror, as well as the most financially successful American author in history. But for many horror fans, Stephen King is just as famous for the film adaptations of his countless novels, novellas and short stories.
But as brilliant a writer as Stephen King is, his many small roles and cameo appearances have taken on a life of their own. In pure “Where’s Waldo?”, audiences have fun spotting King as he pops up, not just in adaptations of his own work, but sometimes as himself or in just a fun role.
So we thought it would be fun to focus on those and count down the 10 best Stephen King cameos!
10. Pet Semetary (Minister)
Out of all the cameos he’s ever done, this one in Pet Semetary was probably the easiest for him because it was filmed very near to his home in Maine. It’s not as tongue-in-cheek or over the top as some of the other entries on this list, but it’s one where King is giving a legitimately “acting” performance. He’s believable in a way that his presence doesn’t distract.
9. The Simpsons S12E03 “Insane Clown Poppy” (Himself)
The Simpsons has a very long history of celebrities providing their own voices and making fun of themselves, and Stephen King joined that last in 2000. It’s a brief but hilarious scene as he tells Marge that he’s done writing horror, just to describe the disturbing version of Ben Franklin’s biography he’s writing.
8. Creepshow 2 (Truck Driver)
While not quite as memorable as his take in the first Creepshow (which we’ll get to), King is almost unrecognizable here in “The Hitchhiker” segment of its sequel. He’s delightfully sarcastic and snarky and feels more subtle and natural as a truck driver than in most of his other roles.
7. Sleepwalkers (Cemetary Carekater)
This one is a lot of fun because King gets to play in a scene with Tobe Hooper. The two of them seem to be having a lot of fun as King is on the defense, denying everything. It’s an often overlooked film of King’s that was based on an unpublished story of his, but he did write the script (with Mick Garris directing).
6. The Langoliers (Tom Holby)
Now it’s time to get into the more memorable (albeit cheesy), over the top performances by King that are just so much fun. The Langoliers is a miniseries that has no idea what the meaning of “subtle” is, and King’s scene is no different. As Craig Toomy hallucinates his business meeting, Stephen King plays the literal mustache sporting villainous boss who only cares about money.
5. Maximum Overdrive (Man at Bank ATM)
The only movie ever directed by King (with the help of massive amounts of cocaine) is infamous enough in its own regard. But it wouldn’t be complete without King showing up for the movie’s opening as an ATM customer who gets called a rather insulting name by the machine, and his reaction is hilariously priceless!
4. Sons of Anarchy S03E03 “Caregiver” (Bachman)
Without a doubt this this most unique performance that King’s ever given. It’s not from any adaptation of his work, nor is it him playing himself in a satirical manner. Rather he’s fully committed to playing a character on a rather gritty TV series and he does a damn good job.
Firstly, he looks pretty badass as a biker and as a cleaner who specializes in removing dead bodies, he’s quirky and aloof in an incredibly dark humor kind of way. Plus his character’s name “Bachman” is based on Richard Bachman, a pseudonym that King used decades ago.
3. It: Chapter Two (Shopkeeper)
By far the most satirical of all his cameos, King shows up in the conclusion to It as a shopkeeper who sells Bill his old bike back, while sporting Bill’s novel on the counter. Bill asks him to sign, to which King replies, “Nah, didn’t like the ending”.
It was sort of the perfect meta reference within the movie itself that not only were fans not too pleased with ending of the miniseries or the novel, but that people would inevitably say the same thing about the very movie they were in.
2. The Shining TV Miniseries (Gage Creed)
Playing a character named Gage Creed for reasons, King really seems to be having a blast as the band leader at the Overlook’s 1920’s New Year’s Eve party. The miniseries itself has it flaws for sure, but one of the best highlights in seeing King having so much fun on screen!
It starts out as lighthearted and humorous, but very quickly goes full body horror disturbing. We don’t spend too much time with Jordy Verrill, but in less than 30 minutes, we get a whole movie’s worth of material!
Which Stephen King cameo is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!