“I’m your number one fan!”
To this day that line still gives me chills. I guess that is one of the enduring charms of Misery, it is a thriller that manages to make you uneasy despite its lack of gore. The premise is grounded in just enough reality to be identifiable.
Frankly the film feels even more relevant now in an age where social media has pushed fandom even further by granting us easier access to those who we idolize.
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Rob Reiner’s 1990 thriller tells the story of novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who gets into an accident while driving in a winter storm one night. Luckily for Paul, he is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who, as it turns out, is a huge fan of his books. At first Paul is appreciative of Annie’s hospitality, but her dark side begins to show when Annie starts reading Paul’s latest novel in his popular Misery Chastain series.
Upset that Paul plans to kill off her beloved character, Annie holds the injured author hostage and forces him to rewrite the book to her liking. As Paul tries to figure out how to survive the hell he finds himself in, Annie must speed up her plans when a local sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the famed writer.
Rob Reiner’s first foray into the thriller genre still manages to entertain 27 years later, despite losing some of its overall punch. While certain scenes, take Paul’s initial exploration of Anne’s house for example, seem ludicrous by today’s standards, it is Annie who remains consistently fascinating. Kathy Bates’ disturbing performance as Annie is note perfect. She skillfully conveys the thin line within between fandom and mental illness that resides within the character.
The new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, released today courtesy of Scream Factory, a subsidiary of Shout! Factory, has plenty of extras that will satisfy fans. The new additions in this version include a new 4K restoration, and interviews with both makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero and director Rob Reiner. The Reiner interview is fascinating as it sheds light on Castle Rock’s interest in the character driven Stephen King novels; his quest to learn the aesthetics of the thriller genre; and the different acting styles of Bates and Caan just to name of few.
If you are a fan of Misery, or a Stephen King adaptation completist, then this edition should be added to your collection.
4K Restoration from The Original Film Elements
Interview with Director Rob Reiner
Interview with Special Makeup Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
Audio Commentary with Rob Reiner
Audio Commentary with Screenwriter William Goldman
“Misery Loves Company” Featurette
“Marc Shaiman’s Musical Misery Tour” Featurette
“Diagnosing Annie Wilkes” Featurette
“Advice for The Stalked” Featurette
“Profile of A Stalker” Featurette
“Celebrity Stalkers” Featurette
“Anti-Stalking Laws” Featurette