On this day in horror history, director Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery with Kathy Bates and James Cann opened in 1990. King himself has stated that the film is one of his top ten favorite film adaptations.
William Goldman penned the screenplay for Misery based on King’s 1987 novel of the same name. In the novel, Annie chops off one of Paul’s feet with an axe. Goldman loved the scene. Reiner insisted she only break his ankles. Goldman admitted later it was the right way to go. He said amputation would make the audience hate Annie instead of sympathizing with her madness.
Misery is the only film based on a Stephen King novel to win an Oscar. Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Academy Awards.
Misery begins after novelist Paul Sheldon experiences a severe car crash. He’s rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, who claims to be his biggest fan. Annie brings him to her remote cabin to recover. There her obsession takes a dark turn. She discovers Sheldon is killing off her favorite character from his novels. As Sheldon devises plans for escape, Annie grows increasingly controlling, even violent, as she forces the author to shape his writing to suit her twisted fantasies.
Lauren Bacall (Murder on the Orient Express) co-stars in Misery along with Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Graham Jarvis, and J. T. Walsh.
The film sports a 90% over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
Do you dig Stephen King’s Misery?