Kathy Bates in Misery, the terror we owe to Stephen King

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Some voices suggest reading their books first before watching movies. Others consider that it is not important to follow that order because the differences are not very noticeable. In fact, outside the United States, the rapprochement with Stephen King is usually through the cinema through the adaptation of his novels. And the first contact with the author through the screen is with horror titles.

Today the debate about which of his stories is more terrifying is broader. For a time, the discussion focused mainly on three of his works: Carrie, The Shining (The glow) e It (That). Thanks to the film adaptations that were made of these texts, The conversations revolved around the delusional graduation party where Carrie uses her powers to kill attendees, Jack Torrance’s madness to want to murder his family, and Pennywise’s disturbing appearance in the shower.

But where do we leave Misery? Well, rather to Annie Wilkes, a character who was played in an extraordinary way by Kathy Bates in the film version. This deceptive cute and angelic being also created trauma. From the outset, he taught us to fear the order of objects in a house (especially porcelain penguins), so getting to touch any item was a cause for fear. Poor the person who moved a figure a little because the devil appeared.

And that devil was Annie, a woman who also taught us to love our ankles, as well as being terrified of oversized hammers. Thanks to her, several boys did not sleep due to the nightmare of being tied to a bed, with pieces of wood next to their feet and Kathy Bates smiling at them before breaking their limbs with a hammer.

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So many other young men began to be fussy and doubtful with women who said they were in love with them because of the possibility that they were like Annie, that is, obsessed with a person. “Take care that you are not going to turn out like Kathy Bates”, he used to express himself as a joke in clear reference to the character played by the actress in the film.

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan (Santino in The Godfather), the film owes much of its significance to Kathy Bates, who plays a nurse who is actually a serial killer with an unhealthy fanaticism for the writer Paul Sheldon, whom she kidnaps and tortures to keep him under her yoke, not to share him with anyone.

Far from supernatural forces, monsters and blood, Stephen King allowed terror to be explored in Misery with something as fearsome as the human being himself, which in this case is that of an apparent angel that hides inside a true entity of evil.

IF Pennywise uses balloons to scare and Jack Torrance an ax to unhinge the public, Annie Wilkes requires an industrial mallet to steal the viewer’s dream after using it to break ankles. And that does cause horror.

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