Saturday, April 18, 2009

Misery (1990)

I Love Misery. I also Love Company, but That’s Another Story…

Sometimes the lines between “thriller” and “horror” are a bit blurred, and the gore-factor often tips the scales.

Misery shows Horror Freaks that a horror movie without gore can become a classic.

(DOnt you just love the cover)--->

Stephen King novels are scary, that much is clear. How well do Stephen King novels translate to the Silver Screen? That part is debatable. In many cases the necessity to “pare down” the length and details, as well as the move from action “in your imagination” to action “on the screen” loses something in the translation. Happily Misery made the translation well.

Our story begins with Paul Sheldon (James Caan), a writer of trashy novels who has an auto accident as he travels to the isolated mountain cabin that serves as his “literary sanctuary”. The accident is bad…real bad…and it appears that his broken body will perish in the snow – until an angel appears. Annie Wilkes is Paul’s “Number One fan”, and happens upon the accident scene just in time to rescue Paul from his icy fate and bring him to her comfy country home to nurse him back to health. Wow, Paul is one lucky guy…or is he. You see, Annie is a little whacked in the head, and decides that the best way to show her adoration for her favorite author is to keep him prisoner in her home with no means of escape.

Misery - Annie playing nursemaid
Misery is a true psychological horror film. There is no real gore to speak of. The scare factor is all in your head, and in the realization that Paul is powerless to defend himself against the crazy Annie.

The real strength of this film is found in the amazing performance of Kathy Bates. The academy award earned by Bates for her performance in Misery is well deserved, as she effectively conveys suspense, terror, madness, tenderness and psychosis with a single glance.

Misery - Annie (Kathy Bates) is not happy
Many of my friends insist to me that this is not a horror....I beg to differ.

Gore there is not, that much is true. But…if suspense, dread, fear and terror can be conveyed and communicated without a single gory scene then that’s the genius of horror cinema! It’s one thing to inspire fear by chasing young lovelies through the woods wielding a machete. It’s another thing to create the same type of heart-stopping angst through a simple phrase by a star-struck psychotic who has her victim in a position of utter helplessness.

Misery - Annie preparing to hobble Paul
Rob Reiner, the director of Misery, has had an interesting career – gaining notoriety as the actor playing “meathead” on the television series All in the Family starring Carroll O’Connor. His directing credits include This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me and When Harry met Sally.

I believe, however, that Misery will be the achievement that he will be most proud of as he enters ripe old age. Between the intensity of Kathy Bates, the quiet panic of actor James Caan, and the brilliant ability of Rob Reiner to create a tone of dread and despair, Misery is a classic of horror that must be seen to be appreciated.
9.2/10----> one of the best Stephen King adaptions and one of my favourite


  1. I had an argument with someone about the Stephen King works. So many people who haven't read him think he's cheap thrills and gore, but this is so untrue. It reminds of those who haven't read the whole 'Bible' but still think they know it--they even base their life on it without reading it.

  2. Yea his books arent even about gore or anytging, they are smart. Carrie was scary because everyone knows a "Carrie" and the fact that this weak, defenless girl could kill a whole neighbourhood is scary. I remember a story in our local newspaper, about a seventeen yr old girl who shot her classmates and family. I was like "Whoa, Carrie alert" is the same situation, just without telekinesis.
    Cujo and Misery both relly on the power of isolation and confinment and both deal with realistic situations. I bet their is an "Aniie Wilks" out there.
    Even The Shining was realistic in the whole concept of cabin fever.

    I read the whole bible....(nerd)....did you??

  3. Yep! I've read it a few times :) I think it's imperative to have at least READ the book people base EVERYTHING on! SO many people don't--I've read the Torah and Talmud too--to be informed. I think there are lots of people who don't think of the 'Bible' as a real book even-they think of it as a manual, but it IS written in book form utilizing metaphors, personal stories and such. It's written in the same style of "apocalyptic literature" from the same time--and I think it's important to note the other works of the time and the human influence on what is seen as the direct word of God.
    -and I worked at a juvenile detention center in college and met a girl who reminded me of Carrie and had stabbed 2 kids on the PLAYGROUND!! PLAYGROUND--SHe was 9!!!! For seriously!