Month of Horror Prevues: MISERY
“Oh forgive me Paul for prattling away and making everything all oogy.”
Not only is MISERY one of my favorite horror/thrillers, it’s one of my favorite movies period. Based on the 1987 book by Stephen King, the story focuses on a popular writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who has just completed the manuscript for the final installment in his hugely popular “MISERY” romantic novel series. Paul leaves his favorite Colorado hotel with his completed work and hops in his Ford Mustang to start the long drive back to New York. What should be a joyous occassion is suddenly ruined by a blizzard hitting the area. Paul’s car begins skidding on the icy road causing him to lose control and crash. Fortunately he’s saved by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who is oddly strong enough to carry him all the way back to her farmhouse nearby. Paul later awakens to find himself nearly paralyzed by the injuries he sustained and is confined to a bed in Annie’s cozy little home. He soon discovers that this good samaritan that saved his life is also his “Number 1 fan!”. Paul is pleased to learn of Annie’s devotion to his work, but as he slowly recuperates he begins to realize that all is not well. It turns out Annie, the quiet ex-nurse who lives alone, is actually a bi-polar psychopath that is obsessed with the MISERY series and Paul. When Annie finds out that Paul’s latest MISERY book (“Misery’s Child”) is in fact his last, she goes mental and forces him to keep her beloved character Misery alive…or else! This kicks off a highly emotional, paranoia and suspense filled rollercoaster as we, along with Paul are stuck in this horrific, confined space where anything can happen. It’s essentially a game of crazed cat and mouse between the two housemates as Paul writes “Misery’s Return” for Annie and does his best to not tip her over the edge. Wow is this movie great! It’s perfectly written, directed, acted, paced and just across the board awesome. Both James Caan and Kathy Bates are such powerhouses in this movie. They sure made a wonderful onscreen duo. The supporting cast are another nice aspect, Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen as the small town sherriff and his wife who investigate Paul’s dissapearance. Kathy Bates would go on to win an Oscar for her work in this movie and it was completely deserved. She was brilliant as Annie!