I’ve never been sure if “Misery‘s” Paul Sheldon was the unluckiest man on the planet or if Annie Wilkes was the luckiest woman on the planet.

Paul (James Caan) just happened to have a nasty car accident on the same road Annie (Kathy Bates) drives. Paul is Annie’s favorite author. She’s his No. 1 fan, actually. And she’s crazy.

So imagine how they both most feel. Her dream come true is his nightmare.

Annie finds Paul in his wreckage and takes him home with her to nurse him back to health. She doesn’t report the accident and no one knows where Paul is. He eventually wakes up and it doesn’t take long for him to realize she’s not the ideal nurse. As soon as she realizes that he killed off her favorite character in his new book, things get nasty.

She burns Paul’s new manuscript, holds out on his pain medication and eventually does something some dastardly that secured Bates the Academy Award.

“Misery,” based on the novel by Stephen King, is a scary movie. You can feel Paul’s isolation and despair. You can feel Annie’s emptiness and psychosis. It amplifies many fears we all have. Like being helpless and uncertainty. It’s a great story, but the movie loses a few points for changing the big nail-biting scene when Annie makes sure Paul will no longer get out of bed. The book played that one much better. Ouch.

“Misery” 1990

Memorable Quote: “At the feedstore do I say, “Oh, now Wally, give me a bag of that F-in’ pig feed, and a pound of that bitchly cow corn”? At the bank do I say, “Oh, Mrs. Malenger, here is one big bastard of a check, now give me some of your Christ-ing money!”

Best Scene: The one I mentioned above. If you haven’t seen “Misery,” stop reading. Annie takes a sledge hammer to Paul’s ankles. My feet hurt just thinking about it. See clip below

Did You Know? Kathy Bates reportedly was disappointed that a scene was cut in which she kills a young police officer by rolling over him repeatedly with a lawnmower. Director Rob Reiner was afraid that the audience would laugh at it.

See the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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