In Appreciation Of: Misery (1990)

- -
Stephen King Week BTC In celebration of the Master Of Horror’s 70th birthday, Before the Cyborgs presents Stephen King Week a look at some of the best known cinematic adaptations of Stephen King’s novels.

 I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN. THERE’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. YOU’RE GOING TO BE JUST FINE. I WILL TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOU. I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN.

[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]tephen King’s horror stories frequently feature elements of fantasy ( IT, Carrie, The Shining etc.) but he’s showcased his ability to create narratives realistic in their setting that can create just as much fright as his supernatural tales. Misery fits into this category well as both a plausible chain of events and a legitimately unsettling and scary story. King writes human emotions well and even in his horror-fantasy creations, the human element is always present and developed. With Misery human emotions are most definitely a central character and Rob Reiner’s film captures it wonderfully.   Novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan)  crashes his car on the way back from a winter lodge and is then rescued and nursed back to health by the mysterious Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). A self-confessed “biggest fan” of Paul, Annie who is a nurse by profession seems at first to be a kind and compassionate caretaker. It soon becomes clear however that she has sinister motives and an even more sinister past; coupled with her clear paranoia and split personality Paul Sheldon’s ‘hospital’ stay becomes an actual living nightmare. Trapped in her home while the authorities continue their investigation into his disappearance, Annie’s increasingly erratic and violent behavior culminates in an inevitable showdown where only one person can emerge… For her portrayal of Annie Wilkes, Kathy Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress, a truly deserving and just recognition. Her calm re-assuredness together with sudden mood swings made audiences unsure of where the story or Annie’s demeanor would go next. Being both chilling and downright creepy, Bates’ portrayal is a fine example of masterclass acting. The screenplay by another acclaimed author, William Goldman (The Princess Bride), brings King’s  wittiness and subtleties to life, and is of course accentuated by the great cast. From the infamous “Hobbling” scene, to Annie’s “cockadoodie” rant, and Paul’s attempts to escape while wheelchair-bound “Misery” is a psychological thriller at its best. misery still 2 Film horror doesn’t always have to be about slashers or the supernatural, often its best outputs are the ones rooted in reality. Stephen King has mastered both varieties and with “Misery” brought forward another classic human horror masterpiece for both readers and viewing audiences alike.
Michael Vecchio
Michael Vecchiohttp://beforethecyborgs.com
Michael Vecchio is a contributing writer for Before The Cyborgs. A graduate of the University of Alberta, he is a keen follower of events in the world of film, as well as politics and history. You can also hear him podcast about film and politics

FIND US ON

READ MORE

In Appreciation Of: F.W. Murnau – A Pioneer Of Horror Cinema

An early pioneer of the genre, F.W Murnau established the early foundation for Horror behind his seminal classic Nosferatu.

Review: Beauty And The Beast (2017) Pales in Comparison to the Animated Classic

Beauty And The Beast is a remake that has its moments but pales in comparison to its animated counterpart as it fails to hit the same emotional resonance.
video

Watch The First Trailer For Darren Aronofsky’s mother! Starring Jennifer Lawerence

Watch the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 7th feature film starring Jennifer Lawerence and Javier Bardem

In Appreciation Of: The Shining

One of the marquee Stephen King adaptations, The Shining is a horror classic combining the powers of King and Stanley Kubrick

Luciano Pavarotti – The People’s Tenor

Profiling the legacy of Luciano Pavarotti, The man who brought opera back into the public consciousness.

Related Articles

Visionaries: Three Men and the Modern Disney Songbook

Profiling Alan Menken and the Sherman brothers collectively responsible for creating some of the most iconic music in the Disney catalogue.

A Place Where Perfect Doesn’t Matter: Ah-Mer-Ah-Su’s Star

In addition to being an artifact of empowerment, this record is a sitting-on-the-stairs sort of honesty, a safe-keeping savvy of all the ways in which art can be a sort of communal celebration and preservation.

Indie Spotlight: Who’s Watching Oliver?

Who's Watching Oliver? fails to capture the indie horror charm of other contemporaries.