“The Boogeyman” (1973)
Another Night Shift short story, “The Boogeyman” tells the classic demon/poltergeist tale of a family pursued by a horrifying supernatural entity that may or may not be murdering children. The tense psychological ambiguity of King’s writing and the grim, terrifying certainty that no child is safe sets this tale apart from innumerable “scary thing in the closet” stories, as the protagonist fights to keep his kids away from the clutches of the Boogeyman. What makes this story stand out from other similar tales is that King’s Boogeyman is corporeal and dangerous, with the kill count to prove it.
Why it could work: Despite being part of King’s most popular short story collection, this story has only ever been adapted into short films. (In fact, a 1982 adaptation was the first of King’s famous “dollar baby” short films.) But there’s a lot of potential for this story to be absolutely terrifying as a feature film in the right writer’s hands. Like Pet Sematary, there are themes of grieving and parenthood, and like many other King stories, the protagonist’s psychological breakdown muddies the waters. Above all, there’s lots of potential to expand the world of King’s short story into something truly complicated and memorable.