HMM Day 15 – Misery

Welcome to day fifteen for my Horror Movie Marathon! We have reached the middle of the marathon and we have been going strong with a pretty solid collection. Usually it is by this time that a lone person doing their own marathon tends to lag. Doing so many posts regarding our favorite films for an entire month can be a pain in the rump. It takes a great deal to write a thousand words or more about a single film off the cuff. So it makes sense that many would merely forget about the entire thing. But not me! I love horror and I love writing about my love for these films! When I was growing up in Bakersfield, my favorite thing in all the world was seeing horror movies on Saturday afternoons. Horror was everything to me and people just didn’t understand! The words that come forth aren’t simple writings. It’s a way of life. This isn’t something that only lasts a week! Have you all got amnesia? No way am I cheating this marathon! This has to be fair! I’m gonna finish this cockadoodie marathon!

Wow, I kind of blacked out there in a tirade of typing. Anyways, here’s a little question for everyone. Are any of you a fan of a celebrity? Is there that one author, artist, athlete, musician or actor that you consider yourself to be a huge fan of? Maybe you have seen every one of their movies or have a shit load of memorabilia dedicated to this person. You have a writers entire collection of books or every album a musician has put out. Maybe there is one athlete that you think is the greatest of all time and you wear their jersey every game day. There’s nothing wrong with these things, being a fan of a person or team is quite normal. But when does fandom become obsession?

Misery

Misery is a 1990 film adaption of Stephen Kings award winning novel. It was directed by Rob Reiner and stars the Godfathers James Caan and the amazing Kathy Bates. It received mainly positive reviews and even won an Academy Award for Best Actress! That being the only Oscar award given to a King adaptation. It’s also the last time a horror film was given an award, which is really upsetting.

Synopsis

Paul Sheldon is a well known mystery writer that is finishing his last of a long series of books. After crashing his car he is saved by a woman named Annie Wilkes that claims to be Paul’s number one fan. As Paul heals and recovers from his accident he starts to notice strange things about dear sweet Annie. Turns out his number one fan is also his number one closet case.

My Misery

Gosh I love this movie. It has to be the best Stephen King film adaptation ever made and from what I can tell, it will never be matched. But what makes this movie so awesome is how it’s actually a pretty basic plot. The theme of a crazed fan going psycho on their celebrity is pretty common. But what makes Misery so much better and successful is its setting and it’s protagonist. Most villains in movies tend to be easy to read. They’re in many ways, presented logically. We all know what drives Dracula which lets us remain aware of where he is and how he will strike. I understand Freddy Krueger and what he’ll do. It doesn’t make them “not scary” it just diminishes their impact to deliver tension and fear. It makes them predictable.

Annie Wilkes is a fog of psychotic uncertainty! She is the best villain in all the Stephen King universe! Yea, that’s right! Better than Pennywise! I don’t care what anyone says, Pennywise has nothing on Annie! If there was a bar for all monsters and villains, then they all stay clear of Annie Wilkes. She is in no way predictable. One minute she could be the nicest friend to you. Caring, compassionate and aware of your feelings and opinions. Then the next minute, she flips because you dropped some water on her carpet and stabs you in the arm. A villain that goes from zero to one thousand on the intensity meter is one that makes me panic. You can never read what is going on in her eyes and it leaves you about ready to piss your pants in anticipation. Add this crazed lady in your life, in a setting where you can’t move from a bed to escape. Never knowing if she will come through the door with a hatchet or your dinner! It truly gives you a real sense of claustrophobic terror.

This is why Misery is such a good film. It delivers amazing scenes with perfect tension and dread. They don’t use jump scares to deliver the terror. Everything is drawn out like a long fuse to a ticking time bomb and its in this tension that the actual horrific climax comes on like a raging bull. The tone of the film is dark, menacing and uncertain. At certain points you feel like Paul is making progress and might get away but then he’s brought back into a world of pain and suffering. You feel for this man and want to escape from this house of doom just as much as he does! This entire time you’re as helpless as this poor broken man laying in the bed.

I’ve actually praised this movie and the ankle braking scene before in my Scenes To Be Seen series. This scene alone will give you a good taste of what I’m talking about. However, if you haven’t seen the movie then don’t watch because it is one of the grandest moments of the entire movie.

The movie is a rollercoaster with your emotions which makes the end such a rewarding pay off. It’s amazing how a single person with no powers or scary features can strike so much fear. It’s a film that you will hold your breathe through the entire time and even in the end, when Paul fights for his freedom and life, we’re never truly sure if we can breathe. Such an awesome movie, I love Kathy Bates as Annie and I love James Caan as Paul Sheldon. This is why Misery is chosen for day fifteen of Horror Movie Marathon!

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