Misery

Time for another tribute episode. Back in August, we lost James Caan. As Craig stated, at that time we became "contractually obligated" to review Stephen King's Misery, starring both veteran Caan and a fresh-to-the-scene Kathy Bates. Sooo many wonderful things to say about this movie that we let it run a little longer than usual. Hope you enjoy!

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Misery (1990)

Episode 311, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: And welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: and I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, Craig, we come again once as we do often on our podcast for a tribute episode, where we find an actor who has recently passed or a filmmaker, somebody in the film industry and run out and see if they’ve done a horror movie and, uh, see if we can pay tribute to them on our tiny little podcast.

Which they’ll never hear. It just hit me, right? Yeah. Like we do tribute episodes. We should start doing tribute episodes to people who haven’t died yet. We probably 

Craig: should. Should that be good? I know these episodes. I, I, I like doing them, but they’re, they’re bittersweet because it’s, you know, it’s sad when you lose somebody, especially somebody who you admire for one reason or another.

Um, but at the same time, it’s also nice to have the opportunity to. To talk about them and, and, and show our respect and admiration. So, yeah, actually it’s, it’s been a while, but, um, we recently lost James Caan. Who’s the really prolific actor, probably best known for The Godfather. He had done some stuff before that, but that was kind of his big breakout role.

And, uh, I believe he was nominated for a Golden Globe or something, but he had done, uh, some things before that, uh, O other people, our, our, our dad’s generation probably knew him well from the movie Brian’s Song, where he played real life football player, Brian Piccolo, who tragically died of cancer at a very young age.

I’m not big into sports movies, but I’ve seen that one and it’s really good. And he was acclaimed for that role, also our generation and, and the generations who have come after us, probably know con as Buddy’s real dad on Elf. His, uh, resume is extensive. Done tons and tons of movies, um, from the seventies on, from the sixties 

Todd: on man.

Yeah. It’s kind of nuts. Yeah. When you look at his resume, it’s just insane. And he’s just, he, again, he was always that guy he’s oh, there he is. You know, it’s not like he was everywhere, but, uh, when he popped up, yeah, 

Craig: he’s distinctive. He’s, he’s handsome. He’s rugged. He’s very much kind of a man’s man. Mm-hmm uh, got a, got a distinctive look, a distinctive voice.

Uh, kind of a tough guy. I don’t know. I. I always liked him in everything that he was in recently in his, in his personal life. He was an athlete as a young man and he wanted to play football in college, but he couldn’t make the team. Um, and so instead he turned to theater and found that he really, uh, enjoyed acting and, and was quite good at it.

And, and was, uh, You know, well received by directors and audiences alike. And so that’s kind of what he stuck with. Started out in, uh, theater, worked on Broadway for a little bit before getting into some small TV roles, then film roles. He preferred to stay away from TV. He, he preferred to work in film, but he did work in TV from time to time throughout his career, you know, up until, um, the latter part of his career, where he sometimes, uh, worked opposite his son.

Who’s also an actor, Scott Caan, as far as more of his personal life. something that I learned about him before he passed away, uh, was that he was married. Four married and divorced four times. Yeah. And because of that, he had a lot of alimony and spousal support to pay. And so in the latter part of his life, he really kind of had to accept any work that was offered to him because he had to work because he had all these financial responsibilities.

So in the latter part of his career, if you look on his resume, he did some not great stuff. Mm. Um, he, he did a modernized version of Wuthering Heights for MTV, which I saw, which was terrible. He, he had a big cameo in an awful Christmas movie that we reviewed. I think it was called Santa’s Slay. Yes. He was just in, he was in the opening scene with a, a bunch of other people who were just doing cameos I’m sure for the check, but regardless, you know, uh, of, of some of those less than stellar.

Roles that he had to take for financial reasons. He still has a huge of work. That is very much commendable. And my favorite of his movies is the movie that we’re talking about today. And, uh, that is 1990’s Misery.

Todd: Misery the kind of movie that we normally don’t do because it is so popular. I mean it won Kathy Bates…well, it was Kathy Bates’ breakout role.

It won her an academy award for best actress. It swept up. I remember when this movie came out, it was huge. It, people talked about it. It was well loved. It’s a very, very. Mainstream horror movie, right? Uhhuh . Uh, and so, you know, we, we don’t usually talk about these, but again, when we get these tribute episodes, it often gives us a chance to do so.

So, you know, Craig and I, before we even started recording this, we’re talking and we’re just like, you know, there’s no way we can do an hour on this alone. No, but I mean, we’ll try, we’ll compress it. The point is we can’t just say everything there is to say about this movie and everything behind it in an hour.

So, uh, you can go to the IMDB page and go through the very, very long trivia section there you can get in deep with articles and, and interviews and things. Uh, about it later, it was a phenomenon really, when it came out, like everybody saw this movie, everybody, 

Craig: everybody loved. That’s what I remember about it.

You know, the, the people in my life who were not horror fans at all. And, and I don’t know, you know, this movie may be better classified as a thriller, but I definitely think that it’s horror. I mean, it it’s, it. Genuinely frightening in, in many places. And, and I absolutely love it. You know, I, I remember my mom and my aunts, you know, adults who were not interested in horror at all.

Everybody was watching this movie and, uh, I saw it probably at the time that it came out. Um, and as I told you, before we started recording, I, I couldn’t count the number of times. I’ve seen this movie. This is a movie that you can watch over and over again. It’s that good? The performances are just absolutely.

Stellar. And it’s crazy because it’s a, it’s, it’s a small movie in scope. There are really only two central characters. The vast majority of it takes place in one small bedroom, but it’s just absolutely captivating. And it’s captivating from beginning to end. It’s a really, really tight hour and 45 minutes.

Yeah. And it just moves like it is constantly moving. The whole thing, Kathy Bates, her performance is just phenomenal. I mean, she deserved every accolade. She got, she deserved a best actress win for this. Of course it’s a Stephen King property. So I was interested in it from the get go. Um, and in researching for today, I found out that that king intended this to be one of his Bachman books.

He wrote under a pseudonym, uh, for a while, Richard Bachman. Um, these were books that, uh, were a little bit grittier than his typical fair. And this was intended to be a Bachman book, but he was found out while he was writing this book. He was exposed. And so he retired the pseudonym. He said that, uh, Richard Bachman died of cancer of the pseudonym or something like that.

So he , he retired. I, I think he brought back the pseudonym for a couple books later on, but he published this under his own name. It was a big hit. I didn’t read it. Before I saw the movie, I only read it years and years after I had seen the movie as the movie is an excellent movie. The book is an excellent book.

Oh God. It’s one of my favorites of King’s books. It’s one of King’s favorites of King’s books. He says that the character of Annie Wilkes is his absolute favorite character that he’s ever written just because she was so nuanced. And she was constantly surprising him in both the book and the movie. I think that part of the reason that she’s so fascinating as a character is because she’s not just a monster she’s.

A sick person. She is a, a crazy person and both in the book and in the movie, there are times when you can find sympathy for her. And then there are other times when she’s absolutely nightmarish in her cruelty and, uh, her capacity for cruelty and, and to cause harm. Uh, it’s just so good. I mean, I that’s, that’s why we’re gonna have such a hard time keeping this at an hour because I could go on and on and on about this all day.

Todd: well, , well, the book holds a very special place in my heart because this is, I think I was in middle school. Maybe when I, when I picked this up from the library. And I brought it home and it was a summer. So I had a lot of free time. And one morning I just started reading it and I did not stop reading it until the book was done.

I read the whole thing morning tonight. It was the first and maybe only time I’ve ever read a book cover to cover. Literally, I think I got up to go to the bathroom, you know, a few times maybe have dinner and then I came back at it. It is so enthralling from beginning to end. So captivating. It’s just a really tense story with just seriously intense scenes.

Yeah. To the point where, you know, when I saw the movie, of course I was excited when the movie came out. But when a. You know, grabs you so much like that. And then of course, when they make a movie, you have to simplify some things, you have to leave some things out and all that, you know, it, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

Like I felt the same way about Jurassic park. Like, yeah. I love Jurassic park. It’s a great movie, but you know, everybody was just Gaga over it. And because I had read the book first Mike’s response was, yeah, it’s great. But it was a little more muted yeah, yeah. You know, just because, oh God, I was like there’s so like everybody who loves this movie just can’t understand that there’s an even better story behind this, that read the book, read the book, you know?

Yeah. That’s, that’s what I wanna do for everybody with misery. Like misery’s a fantastic film, but my God, the book is just 10 times 

Craig: more intense. And, and I think, you know, I think king had a really good, uh, experience writing it. It was, it’s a very personal novel for him. He didn’t reveal at the time what his inspiration behind the book was.

He kept that to himself for a long time. And I think it was not until the two thousands, um, that he finally revealed in an interview and, and said that he finally felt ready to reveal in an interview that this book, this story is an alleg, an allegory for his struggle with addiction. Mm. Annie Wilkes, the character is like the monkey on his back, his addiction, um, that kept.

Captive, um, and, and kept him from the people that he loved, kept him from the work that he loved. Uh, and that was something that he struggled with for a very long time, but he eventually was able, uh, to overcome his addictions as much as anybody can. I think, um, when you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.

It’s just about, you know, being able to control it, but he has, he has said outright that, uh, that is what the book was inspired by. And there’s actually a subplot in the book to, to call it a subplot is almost misleading. You know, it’s, it’s a big component of the book that Paul, uh, Shel. The author main character of the novel is a former addict who has only recently overcome his addictions.

And when he’s in this accident, which we’ll talk about here really soon, uh, and is being treated for his injuries, uh, he’s given narcotic pain medications, which he becomes addicted to again and, and struggles with that throughout the course of the book that’s removed from the film entirely, which is kind of unfortunate.

Cause I think that it was a big, important part of the book. Yeah. However, the movie plays fine without it too. It does. Um, and I think that that’s also something that’s, you know, so nuanced that it might be difficult. Portray well in film, not impossible. Yeah. But again, like you said, with any film adaptation, you gotta tr I don’t wanna say trim the fat, but you gotta trim somewhere and, and well, yeah, this got cut down a little bit.

Todd: You have to make choices and, and I mean, you know, a lot of different choices and this movie’s in good hands. I mean, William Goldman wrote the screenplay. Yeah. Uh, William Goldman is just a, an icon. I don’t know. The John Williams of, you know, screenwriting, you know, John Williams is just scoring William Goldman has just written so many big, successful, well respected films, uh, and has turned out to be fantastic screenwriter, but, and Rob Reiner, the direct.

Um, this wasn’t their first collaboration, but, uh, Rob Rener, you know him from spinal tap stand by me, which is based on a Stephen King, uh, uh, story, the body. Uh, so he was, he did a Stephen King, another Stephen King novel, you know, a few, few years before this then went on to do the princess bride Uhhuh , which is just, oh my God.

It’s one of my all time favorite movies and the book, which is written by William Goldman is even better than the movie and was written. I believe after the movie, we don’t need to talk about the princess bride, but anyway, Rob Bryan or princess bride, Harry met Sally misery after this was a few good men.

I mean, he was just one hit after another, and this is just one and a long string of hits that he had starting from the mid eighties up to the nineties. Really impressive cast and crew. Yeah. 

Craig: and Rob Reiner is, you know, a, a great director. He’s also a, he’s a funny actor and, and he has a lot of acting credits to his name too.

But this book was so personal to king, that he was reluctant to sell the rights to the film. He just kind of didn’t believe that Hollywood would be faithful to the novel. Um, he, he still had a bad taste in his mouth from Kubrick’s the shining, which he was not a fan of, but he had been really impressed with Rob Reiner’s adaptation of his short story, the body, um, which, which became stand by me, which I is another one of my all time, favorite movies.

Um, and king had been so impressed with that, that he sold the rights, but. With the provision that Reiner either direct or produce it. And Rob Reiner had had a really positive, uh, experience with stand by me too. And he loved this book because he identified with the main character, the main character Paul Sheldon played by James Conn in the movie is a, a famous novelist.

Um, but he’s famous for these really Puy like romance type novels, a, a whole series of them. I’m I’m thinking like, uh, VC Andrews, or, uh, Who’s the other one, steel, Danielle Steele, Danielle 

Todd: Steele, my mom read everything Danielle Steele ever wrote and 

Craig: right. That type of thing and whatever, you know, people enjoy those books.

They do really well. And, and, um, in, in the context of the movie and the book he has done very well, but Paul, um, wants to break away from that, despite the fact that he’s had a lot of success with it. He doesn’t feel like it’s what he really wants to do. He doesn’t feel like it’s a real reflection of him or his talent.

So he wants to break away from it and, and prove that he can do something else. And Reiner related to that, he was known really for lighthearted comedies or romantic comedies. Um, and he was asked, you know, why would you break away from that formula that you’re so successful in and do tackle something this dark?

And he said, because he wanted to prove that he could do it. He, he related to the character in that way that he wanted to break away and show that he was more than just one thing. Um, and I think that’s a cool connection. Also the script, God, I, I swear that every ALIST actor of the eighties and nineties was offered the lead role in this movie.

That’s Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, um, Bruce Willis. Harrison Ford, everybody, every, every A-list. Yeah. Every A-list male star was offered this role. Um, and all of them, except Warren Beatty turned it down outright. And the speculation is that they saw the role as emasculating because the main male character, um, kind of ends up.

Falling victim to this woman, to some extent, at least is figuratively and lib literally hobbled by this woman. And, and they didn’t want to do that. Eventually James Conn was, uh, Warren Beatty was the only one. He was in talks to do it for a long time. Eventually he just held out for so long that they felt like they had to move on.

It was offered to James Khan. And, um, after the movie was filmed, both Rob Reiner and the guy who wrote the screenplay said that they couldn’t imagine anybody else having done. The role justice, uh, the way that Khan did. And I, I agree, maybe only because to me, the movie is so iconic and the performances are so iconic.

I can’t really imagine, uh, anybody else in the role, Bruce Willis was another, uh, actor who was offered the role and turned it down. He did end up playing the role on Broadway in 2015, uh, opposite Lori Metcalf, who is a brilliant actress. I, I would give an exorbitant amount of money to be able to see a film of that production.

But as far as I know, it’s not available to his 

Todd: credit. James Conn took the role for that precise reason. He said he thought it would be interesting to play a reaction. You know, a character is primarily reactionary, you know, for once when normally he was playing these sort of tough guy roles, um, tough, assertive people.

I mean one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right? Yeah. 

Craig: So, yeah, I think that people knew that this movie was going to do well, Kathy bat’s role, Annie Wilkes, a lot of people were in consideration for that too. Roseanne BARR was in consideration, Rosie O’Donnell bet. Midler turned it down, which she later said that she regretted and felt really stupid about Angelica.

Houston was interested. Uh, Mary Tyler Moore really, really wanted it. can you imagine, man? 

Todd: No. 

Craig: yeah, there were other people that you wouldn’t expect, but. Reiner thought that it would be better to cast an unknown because he didn’t want people to come in with preconceived notions about the character and the, uh, the screenwriter.

I, I’m not sure how he was familiar with Kathy Bates, but I’m pretty sure it was William Goldman, the screenwriter who recommended her. Um, and she came in and she just absolutely slated it. She, uh, and con clashed on set because her experience up to this point had been almost exclusively theater. Now he had some theater background too, but they had different approaches to acting.

Um, she wanted to rehearse extensively and he wanted to rehearse as little as possible. He wanted it to be in the moment, you know, natural. Um, whereas she wanted to rehearse and, uh, they clashed over it and she was very frustrated and she actually went to Rob Reiner and to voice her frustration. And he told her, look, we’ll try to come to some sort of compromise, but take that frustration and use it, use it in your performance, use it in your character.

And I, I think that she did, and again, like I said, her, her performance just blows me away. James Conn’s performance is a little bit more subtle, but I think that he does an amazing job because it is when you’ve got, when you’re playing against somebody who is playing totally crazy. Totally irrational, totally unpredictable.

How do you respond to that? Uh, yeah, and I, I think that you have to be very cautious and very calculated. Um, and he does that very well. He’s very calm in, well, he, he puts out an aura of calmness in situations where I would be freaking out. Um, yeah, he he’s able to control himself very well. And I think the two of them together just, you know, it was it’s lightening in a bottle.

Todd: He comes across as a very measured guy, like a smart man, right? Like a, a person who, well, you know, and honestly, I, I, I, this may be wrong, but I feel like if you’re, if you’re a novelist, you know, if you’re a writer, you’re a student. People, you know, you’re a student of life and of character and, and you’re probably maybe more observant, more actively observant of the people around you and kind of what makes them tick probably a pretty excellent psychologist inside, you know, to be able to write characters and that are successful and believable.

And so it almost feels like, you know, he, as much as he’s not in control of his situation, because he can’t be because he’s just been in a car accident and, uh, he’s stuck in bed and he physically can’t really move or do much. He seems to understand full, wholeheartedly over time who she is, or at least what he does and doesn’t understand about her and how to measure him, his reaction, you know, mm-hmm, in order to keep himself safe.

And it’s just amazing how a guy sitting in bed. With, with very little in the way of gesture and physicality, just with looks and expressions and stuff on his face really gets this across. Like you can see what’s going through his head, you know, when he’s reacting to her and when, when she’s saying it and it’s, it’s, it’s very, very clear and it’s very believable and it.

Also feels very smart. So this is not a movie where like a lot of horror movies, you feel like these characters are doing really stupid things. Mm-hmm, , they’re in a bad situation. They’re making it worse by making poor choices. This is like a guy who seems to be making all the right choices. And that’s what makes it even more terrifying, right?

Is that still when you make all the right choices, it doesn’t automatically get you out of danger. And so, you know, uh, that’s, that’s, what’s so great about the movie, I think, and, and the story in general is just this guy is not an idiot. He he’s only in over his head because he is completely, uh, at the mercy of this crazy woman in many, many ways.

And can he outsmart her, you know, to the extent that you can outsmart a crazy obsessive person. Mm-hmm, , there’s a big X factor. There there’s a level of, of, of unpredictability when you’re dealing with that. That even though logically you think you do this, it should garner this response. You’re dealing with a person who’s not operating necessarily in the world of logic most of the time.

Right. And so, you know, it stabs in the dark, it’s a, oh, this got this reaction. Well, that, that teaches me something, you know, right. You just learn and learn and learn and, and try different things. 

Craig: Yeah. And you’re, you’re dealing with somebody who is completely unpredictable. You know, I, I, I read somewhere, some, uh, psychologist was asked about, was asked to analyze the character.

And they said that really, she is just a representative of a whole hodgepodge of mental illnesses, including bipolar, probably some schizophrenic tendencies, um, depressive states, all, you know, all kinds of different things, but she is, uh, just completely unpredictable. And in one moment she can be just genuinely gentle and, and, and kind, and, and.

The next minute, just out of her mind, angry and, and Kathy Bates plays that so well and like Khan, um, you can see things in her face. You can see changes, you know, they’re so subtle, but you can also see it happening. Um, mm-hmm, behind her eyes and just the, just the slightest alterations in her facial expressions.

Um, it’s just masterful her, uh, performance. And a lot of that also comes with the style that it’s shot in. Rob Reiner looked to Hitchcock, um, as his inspiration for shooting this movie for shooting a thriller. And I can see it so much in the style of shooting. There are lots of extreme closeups on things, lots of, lots of extreme facial closeups.

He even does a really cool thing, how he shoots Annie when she’s calm and in control of herself, she’s shot straight. when she starts to kind of veer into crazy territory, the camera angle changes so that it’s looking up at her. So it’s a little bit a skew and off and makes you a little bit uncomfortable and also makes her more intimidating because it’s almost as though you’re looking up at her as he would be, or as a child would have to look up at an adult, which puts you in a really vulnerable position and just makes it that much more uncomfortable.

It’s just so well done all around the plot is pretty simple. And there are some things that I want to point out because there are so many quotable. Uh, moments, but the plot really is fairly simple. It opens with main character. Paul Sheldon played by James Khan, finishing a novel on a typewriter in a remote ski lodge.

Um, when he’s finished, he has a glass of expensive champagne and a cigarette, which we later find out is his ritual. And then he leaves and he has been staying in this mountain resort. Um, it’s in, in or near the town of Sidewinder, which is where the overlook hotel. I is located in, um, the shining, but he’s in the, in the mountains and it’s snowy when he leaves.

But then as he’s driving down the mountain, the snow gets really, really heavy and he ends up crashing and his car rolls multiple times, um, down the mountain pretty far, I would say at least a hundred yards off the road. So that’s the situation that he’s in. After that, we get a flashback where we see him talking to his agent, played by legendary screen actress, Lauren BCA.

Wow. And this, and this is where he explains why he wants to get out of the misery business. Misery is the name of his series of books centered around this character misery chestain, um, it’s set in the deep. I, I think like the ante be himself. Um, and he explains why he wants to get out of it. Ms. Be Chasta, put braces on your daughter’s teeth and is putting her through college, brought your two houses and floor seats to the kn.

And what thanks does she get you go and kill her. I never meant for it to become my life. And if I hadn’t gotten rid of it now I’d have ended up writing up forever. Now I’m leaving for Colorado to try to finish the notebook. If I can make this work, I might just have something I want on my tombstone. And the agent says, and what do you, how do you think her, you kill her off?

Um, this is the newest edition that’s being published now, but is not on the shelves yet. And he says, and so he’s been in the mountains working on this kind of passion project, but the next thing we see is somebody prying him out of the car. If you hadn’t seen the movie and you knew nothing about it, you would assume this was a man because they PR he’s prided outta the car.

He’s given CPR. And then this person throws him over their shoulder and carries. Presumably at least up the hill to a car. Um, but it turns out when he wakes up it’s this woman played by Kathy Bates named Annie Wilkes. And the first thing he hears is I’m your number one fan. There’s nothing to worry about.

You’re gonna be just fine. I’ll take good care of you. I’m your, our number one fan. And even that alone, that, I’m your number one fan. That, that line is iconic at this point. 

Todd: And by the way, Lauren BCA, huh? It was, yeah. It’s so amazing. She even has that Mid-Atlantic accent that was so popular, you know, back in the forties, even now in 1990, just, just this unbelievable.

Like I just couldn’t believe she was in this movie. I mean, she’s got a very small role, but I was just shocked that Lauren McCall was still. Alive and looking good by 19 nine. I don’t know. You know, she’s still, is she still alive 

Craig: today? Maybe I have no idea. I have no idea, but I mean, she, yeah. I mean she’s statuesque and, and it’s crazy that she’s just gorgeous and then it really commanding presence.

Yeah. 

Todd: Well, anyway, he’s in bed and, uh, she, he has, his legs have been completely shattered and they look disgusting Uhhuh 

Craig: that was done with the, the effects they, they were done with gelatin. Um, I mean, they’re, they’re just, uh, completely swollen and black and blue and bloody and, and disgusting. And there was a whole, I think the whole lower part of his leg was kind of a big sleeve mm.

That he wore like up to his knee, but it, it looks, it looks awful. But it looks great. very real, but it looks, yeah, it looks very real and absolutely miserable. Like you can’t imagine the pain. Um, and he plays that well too. He is an excruciating, excruciating 

Todd: pain. It’s really pretty good. And, and Greg ERO was on the design team for the special FA well, he was on the special effects team or makeup effects team, I should say.

And Greg ERO again, we’ve talked about him several times in here. He’s a, he’s a horror movie, special effects guy. Um, mainly responsible for the walking dead stuff now, but, uh, yeah. Anyway, so yeah, she has reset his legs and she’s a nurse, right? So, yeah, she is not just a nurse, but she’s a very capable woman.

Like she’s like living on a farm. She has a pet pig. We are later introduced to that. She calls misery after her absolute favorite character. We learned that, you know, she’s just a devotee to his novels and she speaks about his novels in glowing terms. Like, yeah, she’s upset. She saved my life and, and then here comes an interesting.

We learned that she knows who he is and that she’s his number one fan. And she notices that he has another manuscript and she asks permission from him to read his unpublished manuscript. And I thought that was interesting. You know, this is a, he could’ve said no. And maybe things would’ve gone in a different direction, you know, uh, Because she probably wouldn’t have, you know, she didn’t seem like the kind of person who would, uh, she does some pretty evil things, but she doesn’t seem like the kind of person who, even though he said no, would try to sneak it anyway.

You know, I 

Craig: don’t think she would try to sneak it, but I think she would’ve gotten her hands on it. I mean, probably in some way, super for me, she gets, yeah, she gets what she wants. You know, she seems very nice and gentle. Everything’s a little fishy from the beginning. She tells him that the roads are out and the phone is down, but she says, she’ll take care of him and get him out of there as soon as the roads are cleared.

But she also admits he’s like, how did you find me? And she says, well, I guess you could say I was following you. And he’s like, what? And she’s like, well, I, I know all about you because I’m such a fan. So I know that you write up there. So, um, I, I kind of been just, you know, driving up there at night and watching the light in your window and, and, you know, thinking about what you were writing about or whatever.

So like that’s creepy. Yeah. 

Todd: She does constantly surprise you through this movie with the things that you learn about. That’s part of, what’s kind of a enjoyment. 

Craig: Yeah. I agree. A hundred percent, but it’s, it’s, it’s done in such a way that it’s not slow because the movie’s fast. Um, in fact, like I said, Alan was sitting right behind me and um, he said, man, it doesn’t take very long for her crazy to start showing does it.

And I said, no. And I looked at the time and it was like exactly at the half hour mark, because he, he does say that she can read the manuscript. And very soon after that she’s feeding him lunch and you can tell that something’s troubling her just a little bit. And she starts to kind of offer a criticism, says, no, no.

Who am I to criticize? And he’s like, no, you know, I really want to know. And she criticizes the swearing in the manuscript. It has no nobility. These are slum kids. I was a slum kid. Everybody talks like that. They do not. What do you think? I say, when I go to the feed store in town, or now Wally give a bag of that effing pig feed and 10 pounds that bitch cow in tell Mrs.

Ballinger. Oh, here’s one big bastard. Some of your Christ. What made me do oh, Paul, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Oh, sometimes I get so worked up. Can you ever forgive me? It’s silly, but it’s manic. Um, like she really freaks out mm-hmm again, the camera angle changes to show her strangeness, cleans him up and walks away and says, I love you, Paul.

Uh, your, your mind, your creativity. That’s all I meant. And I feel like it’s at this point that you can see in his face that he’s like. Shit. I might be in a little bit of trouble here. Yeah. And he definitely is. And it only gets crazier from there. 

Todd: Well, and at the same time, we’ve got this parallel thing going on where, um, the agent, uh, has reported that Paul was, uh, missing, uh, to the local sheriff slash police, chief slash deputy slash 

Craig: whatever.

Yeah. The only law enforcement in this Podunk town, 

Todd: the only law enforcement, the only really authority at all in this Podunk town, which he kind of makes light of in, in a funny way. I think actually when he he’s on the phone with her, and this is just like this sweet old man with his wife I love them.

Who’s his assistant. Yeah. They were just, just sweet. I don’t remember them in the book. I’m sure they were in the book. I don’t remember them in 

Craig: the book. Um, Buster, he’s the sheriff guy he’s played by Richard Farnsworth, who is an old man. Who you would recognize he’s been in stuff. He started his career as a stuntman, uh, like in westerns and stuff.

Um, but eventually, you know, started getting some character work and his wife, Virginia is played by Francis stern Hagen, who again is entirely recognizable. She’s been in a million things. She was also in the adaptation of Steven King’s the mist. Um, and, and her name’s Virginia. He is in the book. Uh, she’s not, she’s invented for the movie.

His role in the book is smaller and they wanted to bump it up. They wanted to make him a little bit, um, more industrious and, and smart in the movie. And so you’re right. There’s, there’s just constantly this side story of them kind of looking into things, doing some investigation. At some point he starts reading Paul Sheldon’s novels to see if he can get any clues there.

But these, these old folks, this old couple they’re ING adorable. Yeah. and, and hilarious together. 

Todd: It is an interesting thing, right. I guess maybe Goldman felt like, you know, you needed to balance, you know, provide a little balance here. Like LT, we start taking things too seriously. Yeah. Lest the terror become too bad.

Like now we’re gonna switch you over to this cute little old couple who have some byplay and you know, but still advance the story along well, in a way, I guess it’s not like they ever figure things out in the Nick of time. . They are providing this like, well, what’s happening. Like this famous novelist has disappeared.

Who’s doing anything about it. Oh, it’s this guy. Who’s got nothing else to do, but also ha you know, doesn’t have a modern computer system, you know, It’s quaint and it’s cute. And it also makes you realize, like maybe they’re never gonna find him. Yeah. Because it’s not like the FBI is pulling out all the stops to find this dude, you know, it’s, it’s up to this sweet, old couple sort of doing their best, but also it’s not their biggest priority.

Um, it’s almost becomes for him just like a minor obsession in a way. Right? Like just a curiosity. Maybe I can, maybe I can find him. Maybe things just aren’t quite right. He almost finds the car, but he doesn’t cuz it’s, you know, buried under snow later, they do find the car after the snow melts, you know, and a lot of stuff has happened.

He’s reading the novels, trying to get clues, which is a cute idea, but rather silly. Yeah. But then he does write down a quote from one of the novels, which later on, um, he, he, uh, makes a connect. Yeah, makes a connection. And that helps him, uh, kind of go, go out to, to her place. But, uh, and so there’s that investigative element 

Craig: right.

Which I think is a nice break from the tension because everything that’s going on in, um, Annie’s house is, is pretty tense, uh, most of the time. So this provides a little bit of break from the tension, but you’re right. It does also establish that if, if not for this older guy, gentleman who’s investigating, they might not find him because when they do finally locate, well, they, they locate the car by helicopter, Rob Reiner, cameos, as the helicopter pilot, I think state troopers kind of take over the investigation and you see them at a, like doing a press conference at the site and they say, It’s it’s presumed now that he’s dead.

Um, we will, we may find him, you know, when all of the snow thaws that is, unless the animals have already gotten to him. So the big, so the big authorities have, have given up, you know, they he’s presumed dead case closed. It it’s only because still really kind of. 

Todd: I thought this bit was a little hilarious.

I maybe unintentionally so, but I like, I couldn’t imagine a, an actual police person actually saying, saying that kind of thing to the press. I don’t know 

Craig: but the big trouble for Paul comes when Annie goes into town and comes back and is super excited to show him that she has picked up the, the newest, uh, installment of the misery saga.

And it’s called misery’s child. Um, now when he asks, well, if you went into town, that must mean the roads are clear and she kind of brushes it off and says, well, the main road to town is clear, but all, you know, most of the other roads to surrounding areas are still not clear. And, and the phone’s in town work, but mine here still is out.

She said, but don’t worry. I called your agent. And I told your agent to call your daughter. I mean, she’s being really shady. She’s really kind of brushing it off. Mm-hmm . And it’s obvious. Yeah, it’s obvious. It is. I think to us and to him, mm-hmm, that, she’s thrilled about this book. I’m on page 300 now, Paul, and it’s better than perfect.

It’s divine. What’s the ceiling that daygo painted. This is teen Chapelle. Yeah. That and misery’s child. Those are the only two divine things ever in this. and she introduces him to misery the pig and she’s acting a little nutty, but not necessarily in a threatening way yet. But then she talks about how she had a really hard time when her husband left and she thought that she might go crazy.

And that’s when she first discovered misery misery really saved her life. And she says to him that she’s almost finished with the book. We, you know, she’s only got a couple of chapters left. And for me, for the audience, such a sense of dread is building because we already know that he kills misery in this book.

Mm-hmm and we know that she is just pages away. from finding that out. And then in the middle of the night. He wakes up and she’s standing at the foot of his bed. And again, you know, the, the performance, uh, is, is just, she’s a nut. She says, you,

you dirty bird. How could you, she can’t be dead. Misery chestain cannot be dead 

Todd: any in 

Craig: 1871, women often died in childbirth, but her spirit is the important thing. And misery spirit is still alive. I don’t want I arm. I yell. No I didn’t. Who did no one. She, she died. She just slipped away, lept away.

And, and she absolutely freaks out and shakes the bed. When I say shakes the bed, she takes the footboard and like pulls it up off the ground and slams it repeatedly and is screaming at him. And the camera is an extreme close up on her face. And she smashes a plant off of a plant stand, picks up the plant stand acts like she’s gonna hit him with it, but instead smashes it against the wall and then says to him, I don’t think I’d better be around you for a while.

And then she looks at him and says, don’t even think about anybody coming for you. I didn’t call anybody. Nobody knows you’re here. And you better hope that nothing happens to me cuz if I die, you die and then she leaves 

Todd: direct threat. Finally, we get a direct threat Uhhuh and she drives away. And I remember this next scene, like from the book the most, you know, as being incredibly intense and it’s, I don’t think it’s the first time in the book that he tries to get out or at least explore the house.

But it’s, it’s definitely the first time in the movie that he realizes, oh shit, I need to take some agency here and do something cuz this woman is loony. So when she drives away, he takes that opportunity to pull himself out of bed. And I mean, he’s very convincing, you know, the poor guys still, um, his legs are useless and still trying to mend themselves, but you know, utterly gross and in splints and he falls out bed and he grabs a, a hair pin that he had found or just picked up just a little bit 

Craig: earlier.

The first time he can’t get out. Um, yeah, because he doesn’t know the door is locked. Um, so he ends up on, oh, you’re right. You’re right. Sorry. He makes his way to the door, but, but that’s as far as he can get. Um, and, and then it cuts, I guess, to the next morning. And she finds him on the floor and she’s calm again.

Um, and she gets him back into bed. She’s not as gentle as she had been before. I think she calls him a big crybaby or something like that, but she’s calm. And she says to him, sometimes my thinking’s a little muddy. I accept that. That’s why I couldn’t remember all of the things they were asking me about on the witness.

Stand in Denver. Um, what , excuse me. You wanna back that up a little bit? Oh boy. But she doesn’t expand upon that. Now what she says is I asked God about you and God told me that I have to help you. Get back on the right track. And the first step in doing that is she makes him burn his manuscript and he tries to manipulate her.

You want me to burn my book? I know this may be difficult for you, but it’s for the best

it’s, it’s really not difficult at all. My agent made dozens of copies. There’s gonna be an auction in New York. Every publishing house in New York is reading it now. So if you want me to burn my book fine, you’re not really reading the world of anything, then light the match, Paul. Yeah. And she goes off on this whole thing about how, um, when you wrote your first book, you didn’t make any copies cuz you didn’t think people would take it seriously.

And so ever since then, uh, you’ve been superstitious and you never make any copies. You only have the one copy. She pulls a charcoal, barbecue grill into the room. this is such a tense scene. She puts his manuscript on the grill, douses it in lighter fluid, but he refuses to light the match to strike the match.

And so she very calmly just starts walking around his bed, talking to him casually, splashing the lighter fluid onto him onto the covers that he is covered with. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a clear, I mean, she remains calm, but it’s an obvious threat. Like if you don’t burn this, I’m gonna burn you. Yeah. And so he does, he, he sets it on fire and.

It gets outta control and her reactions are hilarious. Oh goodness. Oh, goodness gracious me. Mm 

Todd: it’s almost like a little Tom and Jerry act at that point where she’s trying to put it out of the curtains. And as the fires, embers are flying around, she’s being kind of silly, like a kid, you know, goodness gracious.

Could, yeah. 

Craig: I thought that it was a miracle that none of those sparks landed on the bed, like, right. That’s, that’s almost unbelievable. 

Todd: It is actually, but, but the, the, you know, it’s just, she just bounces, but from one extreme to the next sometimes, and it’s convincing though, you know, it could, it is. Even though it is a little campy and it’s supposed to be a little campy.

It it’s very convincing. Like, I know, look, I mean, I’m not gonna say I know anybody just like this. Right. But I know these personality flaws, if you will, or personality traits and people, my, one of my grandmothers who is not with us anymore, but it would get very disturbing sometimes when suddenly, like she would actually just flip out of nowhere, something that somebody said or something like set her off and she would flip so extremely.

And so like insanely that it was scary. I mean, even though she’s not actually threatening, my grandmother never threatens anybody. You know what I mean? But Jew, she would just get highly emotional, all of a sudden outta nowhere. And this happened a couple times and it’s a spooky thing to watch. And you would never believe that this would happen.

In real life, if you hadn’t witnessed it yourself, you know, mm-hmm . And so, yeah, I completely believe this character, even when she’s bouncing from one extreme to the next, because, uh, peop some people are like this. They really are, but she’s dangerous. You know? Oh gosh. Um, 

Craig: yeah, she’s incredibly dangerous. I mean, at this point he does, we, we see that he starts hiding his pills.

He’s he’s not, uh, taking these pills, he’s hiding them in his mattress, but she sets up a writing desk for him. They’re in the room and tells him that she wants him to write a new misery book called misery’s return. And in this scene, she’s almost giddy that she wants to help him. Like, she genuinely thinks that she’s helping him.

Um, and, and she’s going out of her way. She’s bought him a typewriter. Um, and she got, she got a really good deal on it because it drops the ends and she bought him the most expensive paper. Uh, she could find, and it’s such a good performance because in these moments, her kindness. Seems genuine. And I think that it is mm-hmm , but I think that’s how unbalanced she is.

Um, in, in these moments, she genuinely is trying to please him. This is when he notices that a Bobby pin is on the ground. And so to get her out of the house, he complains about the paper that she bought him and says, well, it’ll smudge. And she says, well, it’s the most expensive they had. There’s no way that it’ll smudge.

And so he shows her that it does. And again, it’s just a great change in her effect where she goes from being giddy, to being angry at him for complaining. And she throws a tantrum asking him, what else can she get him? You know, uh, maybe a. The taper record or I don’t know all, and she screams at him and tells him that he needs to start being a little bit more grateful and she slams the ream of paper down on his shattered legs.

she’s incredibly dangerous. Um, and this is the scene that you were talking about where he does cuz he gets the Bobby pin. Yeah. And uh, in the book he talks about how he had written about people picking locks with Bobby pins and he had done research on it so that it would be authentic in his book, but he had never actually done it.

And so , he, he didn’t know if he could, but he, it both in the book and the movie he does and he gets out and, and this scene is in it’s still, every time I see it, it has me on the edge of my seat and my heart racing. I know how it turns. But it’s just so tense. It’s crazy. 

Todd: Yeah. It’s, it’s it’s nuts. I mean, he rolls his way out.

He he’s, he’s kind of exploring the house, but he knows he has limited time. He doesn’t know how long it’s gonna take her to get back. He goes to the phone and then not only is the phone not plugged in, but the guts are out of it. like he picks up the phone, tries to make a call and then is like, wait a second and picks the whole thing up off the table, looks at it.

And he’s like crazy bitch or something like that. and anyway, uh, as he’s pushing his way around and I remember this is a big thing in the book, right? He knocks a penguin off a table. She has this like little table full of tiny little tchotchkes. And, uh, one of them is a penguin and he knocks it off and he catches it before it hits the ground and breaks.

But when he puts it back down, It’s facing the wrong way. Mm-hmm , it’s not facing the way. So like we know, and later on, she reveals that she knows he got out because of this. Anyway, it’s a, it’s a crazy 10 scene because eventually, you know, he come, she’s coming back up the road and he’s not back in the room yet.

And he’s gotta get back in there. He’s gotta close the door. He’s gotta re-lock the door at the Bobby pin just in time. Does he get back behind his typewriter when she burst in? But she’s like, oh my God, you’re sweating. mm-hmm and you know what? This is a detail that a lot of movies just entirely miss, right?

Yeah. How many times have you seen this in a film where some character has to do something really, really fast before someone gets in the room and then as soon as they pop in the room that character’s right back where they need to be mm-hmm and they’re just like super calm and looking up. And I thought, oh yeah, of course he would be panting and sweating and still he’s smart enough to immediately reply my heart, my pills, you know, I need my pills.

I’m in pain. Like while she was gone, suddenly things got more painful for him. Well, 

Craig: no, it makes perfect sense. Right before she left. Right before he left, she slammed the, that re of paper down on his leg. Exactly. He probably would be an excruciating pain. Yeah. He’s a smart guy and it, you know, and so he seemingly gets away with it at the time, 

Todd: but this is a big thing, like you said earlier, that was a big part of the book that was missing from the movie is she basically has him addicted to these pills.

And then I, as I remembered, it seems kind of intentional. And so she actually, I believe in the book, sh she will withhold pills from him sometimes. Right. Uh, in order to kind of punish him. And so sometimes when he sneaks out. He’s also trying to get pills. Yeah. You know, that’s kind of like, uh, the secondary goal is to get some pills and hide them so that he can actually like, you know, 

Craig: well, and he did in, in this scene, he did, he stole some pills, but in the movie, his purpose for stealing the pills is because he’s been collecting them.

And he’s gonna try to drug her. I, I think he invites her to dinner or something and she makes dinner and likes, it’s like a romantic dinner. And he tries to drug her. He get, he actually gets the, the powder from the pills. He gets it into her. wine glass, but then ironically, she spills it. Do you think she 

Todd: did that on purpose?

Do you think she suspected something? I don’t 

Craig: know. I honestly don’t think so, but it’s definitely possible. It’s, 

Todd: you know, the way she plays it in the movie, I felt like they were leaving that open to interpretation Uhhuh 

Craig: I think so, too. So anyway, at this point, you know, he doesn’t have much choice, so he tries to write, but Annie’s not satisfied with his work because she claims that he’s cheating.

Um, and there’s an amazing monologue. This is the monologue that I always think of. Where she talks about how, when she was a kid, she really liked, um, she calls them chapter plays, um, or the serials that they would play, you know, before matinee at, uh, the movie theater, these action adventure things. But she would get really, really mad when they would cheat because, you know, they would always end on a cliff hanger, but then when you would come back the next week, the cliff hanger would’ve been changed.

So like a character who was in peril, uh, the next week, they would show that at the last second they had gotten out of peril or whatever, and it really pissed her off because she thought that that was cheating and it’s a great. Monologue. She just delivers it. It’s so manic and she gets so worked up mm-hmm

But at the end of it, she tells him misery was buried in the ground at the end, Paul, so you’ll have to start there. Um, so he tries again and she’s, she’s absolutely thrilled. That’s when they have the dinner, I think. And then, then he starts writing feverishly and, and he’s, he’s pounding it out. Like he’s really getting it done.

Buster is still doing research. He finds articles in archives, like, you know, library research that show that, uh, Annie had been a nurse at a hospital where elderly people and infants had died mysteriously and she had been charged and he finds the quote from the book that had stuck out to him. She had used that as part of her defense.

It was something about. There is a justice higher than that of man, I will be judged by him or something like that. And she had quoted that directly, which kind of turns him on to her. Well, it’s a nice 

Todd: little coincidence. 

Craig: yeah, right. It is very coincidental then, you know, she has like this depressive episode, there’s a storm and she has this weird depressive episode where she talks to him and she’s clearly in a bad way.

She says that she knows that their time together is coming to an end that the book is almost done and his legs are getting better and she knows he’ll wanna leave. He says, why would I wanna leave? I like it here. And she says, well, that’s really nice of you to say that. I don’t know if I entirely believe it, which I just think is such a great line.

and then she pulls a gun out of her, her robe, and just looks at him and says she has this. And she’s like, I have this gun sometimes I think about using it and then she goes, I better go. I may put bullets in it, like. I’m starting to wonder as the audience, how is he going to get out of this? It’s not, she’s not gonna let him go.

You know, there, there’s no way she’s gonna let him go. Mm-hmm 

Todd: is isn’t this, when she kind of more or less sort of tells him that she loves him, like more than just his 

Craig: books. Yeah. And, and I, she says something like, I know you can’t love me or, or something like that. Yeah. He gets out again and he gets a knife.

She in, in the middle of the night, um, sedates him with an injection and then he wakes up and he is tied to the bed. Hmm. And this is maybe the most notorious scene. This is what people were talking about and what people still talk about to this day. She tells him that she knows he’s been getting out. She she’s known for a while.

She knew because of the penguin. Why did she choose now to reveal it? Presumably, because she noticed that the knife was missing, I guess, but she tells him that she can’t have him getting out and moving around. And she says, and I know you probably saw my scrapbook, which he did, which had, you know, all of this stuff about her being accused of these murders and stuff.

And then she says, I can’t have you getting out anymore. And she said the way that they stopped, um, thieves in the diamond mines back in the day was they needed them to still work, but they couldn’t have them, you know, running away with their stuff. Um, so they would hobble them and, uh, she puts a big piece of wood between his ankles and uses a sledge hammer to break both of his ankles in the book.

She cuts off his left foot. Yeah. And the screenwriter wanted to write this. Screenplay because of that scene. And he wrote it the way that it was done in the book, Rob Reiner thought it was too much. He thought it was too gory, too violent. And so they went with the hobbling instead and the screenwriter was disappointed until he saw the film.

And then he said you were right. Yeah. It’s, it’s 

Todd: just as effective. Reiners seemed to think that that would sort of destroy what little sympathy you might have with her. Mm. I don’t know. I mean, that’s also pretty bad. Like I would have a similar reaction, I suppose, that if she chopped off his foot, I can’t imagine him being all that different, but it, it, it is in a way almost worse 

Craig: to be honest.

Oh, well, you it’s excruciating to watch and 

Todd: you actually get to see his foot, the first foot, you know, completely bend. I mean, it almost looks like she’s practically chopped it off and you know, here’s the irony here. I mean, this is how, you know, this woman is nuts. She MedEd his legs before yeah. Right. But she’s perfectly willing to break them again, you know?

Absolutely. If it serves her knees and so, you know, it’s, it’s a horrible, horrible scene. Yeah, you’re right. Everybody talks about it. James 

Craig: con attended a screening with Rob Reiner and they sat next to each other. And when the hobbling happened, James Conn turned to Rob Reiner and said, you are a sick

It is, it is brutal. And at this point, uh, he, he just shows open disdain towards her, which is, is kind of funny. Mm. But, but Buster is on to her. He goes to the general store and he asks about her. And, um, the general store guy gives, uh, him information that she has bought a typewriter in paper. And, uh, so he knows something’s.

so he heads up there and when Annie hears him coming, she bursts into Paul’s room, injects him again, and then dumps him down the seller stairs. And there’s a scene where, uh, she lets Buster in and she’s being nice to him. And she says that she’s Paul Sheldon’s biggest fan. And she demonstrates that by telling everything she knows about him, but she tells him, and it makes me wonder if this has been her plan for a while.

She tells Buster that God told her to be Paul’s replacement. That, um, because she’s his biggest fan. She should go on telling misery’s stories as though she were Paul Sheldon. And I wonder if at this point that is her plan. Mm-hmm , she’s gonna get him to write this book and then she’s gonna take the credit for it.

I think it was in the early stages of the novel, um, king was going to have. She was gonna have him write the book and then she was gonna kill him and bind the the book in his skin and feed the rest and feed the rest of his body to the pig. 

Todd: oh my God. 

Craig: no way. Yeah, but no, you almost want Buster not to find him.

Um, and it seems like that’s gonna happen. But at the very last second, Paul is able to knock over that barbecue grill down in the basement. And Buster hears comes back in the house, opens the cellar door, sees him, says Mr. Sheldon, and then his chest blows out. She has shot him from behind with a shotgun and he stumbles down the stairs.

And it’s sad cuz he is a really likable character. Yeah. Um, but it seemed kind of inevitable and it raises the stakes even more. I mean, you knew they were high, but this woman is clearly homicidal. And at this point she says, Well, that’s, it there’ll be more people coming. You know, our, our time is over and she’s going to kill them both in that moment, but he charms her and convinces her to let him finish the book.

Um, he says, I’m almost done. I can finish it tonight. And then we can go together. And that leads up to the climax, which is so satisfying. 

Todd: Yeah. I think he’s at his typewriter. He finishes the last bit. She’s sitting there reading it. He tells her he is done 

Craig: well, but he, he, he says, I’m almost done. She doesn’t read, she doesn’t get to read the last few pages, but he says, go ahead, go ahead and go get the stuff, the champagne and the cigarette.

Cause it it’s his ritual. And so she goes, while she’s gone, well, she comes back and she’s like, did I do good? And again, it’s, you know, she’s being kind and trying to please him, it’s almost sympathetic. And he says, you did great, except for one thing, um, this time we’re gonna need two champagne glasses and, and, huh, you know that her little heart is just all a flutter and she goes to get it while she’s gone.

He douses the new manuscript in, um, lighter fluid, which he had gotten from the seller, cuz the barbecue girl was down there. And when she comes back, he tauts her and it’s just delicious. Like he taunts her. Remember how for all those years nobody knew who misery’s real father was or if they’d ever be reunited it’s all right here.

Does she finally marry? I or will it be win thorn? It’s all right here. Paul you can’t. Why not? I learn it from you and he lights it on fire. 

Todd: She tries really, really hard to put it out, which puts her right up by the desk. And he picks up that typewriter, which he had been working out with actually earlier Uhhuh he’d been lifting it, you know, when she wasn’t in the room to just build up his arm strength and he wax her on the head with a typewriter, which I would’ve thought would’ve killed her.

Craig: Oh, it surely would’ve. Yeah, 

Todd: it’s a. Typewriter. Uh, and then, you know, he falls down, they have this, just, they just have this fight and I remembered the book. Also just being extremely violent at this, this point where it’s just a fight for your life thing. And, you know, we know that she is a very capable and strong person Uhhuh.

She carried this guy all the way to the house and has been taken care of him. Um, and so, you know, it’s believable as well that she’s a, a formidable foe and 

Craig: he’s still compromised, you know, he can’t walk. 

Todd: Yeah. So they’re crawling and they’re like, they, they crawl, he crawls across, he gouges her eyes. Um, then she, you know, falls back and the gun kind of goes scattering, but she gets the gun and, and shoots him in the shoulder.

He gets down and tackles her and then he picks up the ashes from the book and is like, shoves them down. Her of her mouth. 

Craig: You hate it. 

Todd: yeah. Stupid bitch is so great. 

Craig: He trips her and she hits her head on the typewriter. W the, it, I can’t even criticize it, but it’s, it is clearly a dummy that the, that hits the typewriter.

But yeah, it’s brutal, nonetheless, you know, she she’s seemingly dead that he starts to crawl away, but she’s not dead. You know, she she’s back, she jumps on his back, but he grabs like an iron door stop. That’s a, a pig and he hits her in the head with it and then just punches her right in the face with it, which would’ve just destroyed her face.

Todd: Yeah. It’s this is how, you know, it’s a horror movie is because we have the, the final at the end. Uh, you think he’s, she’s dead, but she’s not jump scare thing. And, and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of ironic, of course, right. That she gets, cuz her pig was named misery and I think. Pace supposed to be like, you know, this ends up becoming her downfall.

I guess that was a door. Yeah. Doorstop. It seems oddly placed very conveniently placed for where they are 

Craig: the case. Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of near the front door. Um, it’s right outside his room, which is near the front door. Sure. Um, but it does kill her, but, and then she just collapses on top of him. And again, she’s a, a big woman so I can only imagine it was a struggle for him.

And who knows how he got out of there. I guess eventually somebody would’ve realized the sheriff was gone and maybe made some connections, but 

Todd: Sheriff’s wife 

Craig: maybe came by into maybe who knows, but then we get an end cap. It’s 18 months later, he’s at lunch with his agent. He has published a new book, you know, presumably.

The book that he had written before and she had made him burn. The agent says, it’s, it’s great. And everybody loves it. And he’s like, well, that’s great that everybody loves it. But I wrote it for myself. Um, the agent says, well, you know, would you ever consider writing about what happened up in that cabin?

And he’s like, uh, you’re asking me if I would ever consider writing about the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to me. Absolutely not. And he says that even though he knows she’s dead, he still sometimes feels like she’s there. And you see this waitress coming around, pushing it. Dessert card. And it’s her, it’s Kathy Bates and he’s just looking at her.

But then as she approaches, it’s not her, it’s just another waitress who says, are you Paul Sheldon? And he says, yeah. And she says, I’m your number one fan. And then it just shows him smiling up at her and it goes, uh, to black. And that’s the end. Something that I didn’t remember about the book was that in the book he wrote misery’s return.

But then when he burned it at the end, it was a trick. He made her think he was burning it, but he really didn’t. And after he killed her and got away, he published it and they changed it for the movie. And I read something, I don’t know who it was that speculated this, but somebody speculated that maybe Steven King consciously or subconsciously.

you do have to kind of keep giving your readers what they expect from you. Mm. And, and maybe, you know, that’s why his initial creation, the author and the novel maybe came to that realization. But I like in the book that he wrote the whole thing and he taunted her with it and then he burned it. Uh, yeah, I think that’s more fitting.

Todd: Yeah. It’s, it’s a, it’s a slightly odd ending, but it’s not, I mean, it it’s as good a way to end it as any, I suppose. He could always have another crazy fan, right? yeah. You know, famous people have to deal with this all the time. 

Craig: So, uh, right. And Stephen King has said that too, that, um, he, he has crazy fans and, and this character is kind of an amalgamation of all of those people that he’s encountered over the years.

And I think that, you know, that’s unfortunately part of the price of fame. Mm-hmm , there are sick people out there who become obsessed and genuinely potentially dangerous. There was a series based on Stephen King’s work, uh, on Hulu called castle rock. And the second season served as a prequel. Told, uh, Annie Wilkes’s story before the events of this movie, it critically, it was not received well at all.

The first season was well received and then the second season wasn’t, and then it didn’t get picked up for a third season. I loved it. I loved the Annie Wilkes origin story that they told in season two. And if you are a fan of this movie, I highly recommend it. But, but you know, I can’t as predicted we’ve gone well over our usual time, but I don’t care because this, I feel like this movie merits it.

Uh, it’s an excellent, excellent movie. I think that it appeals to a wide. Much wider than the typical stuff that we do. And you know, if you are a, a fan of thrillers of suspense, of interesting character studies, J just good acting. Yeah. If, if you, uh, are impressed by good acting, you know, both Kathy Bates and James con give just amazing, amazing performances in this film.

And I, I can go back to it every single time I watch it. I love it. And every single time I watch it, I am just blown away by how good it is every time. 

Todd: You know, doing a horror podcast. This is, this is not the first time we’ve done a movie. That’s kind of like this, right. Somebody being held against their will, um, by a crazy person who has to fight for their way out, you know, mm-hmm and this movie itself could have been kind of a low budget.

Can’t be forgettable film, but in the hands of all these people, um, it really elevates actually the material’s already quite good. The Roger corpsman directed misery, would’ve been very different. from the Rob Reiner directed William Goldman written and, uh, Kathy Bates and James con acted misery that we get.

So it’s, it’s really one. One of those points, you know, where, where everything just comes together beautifully and works really well because everybody is very capable and at kind of at the, you know, top 

Craig: of their craft, I’ve seen it compared to whatever happened to baby Jane. Um, and there really are a lot of similarities that movie, I, I love that movie, but it’s really campy.

Um, so I think that this movie could have been too, I’ve even seen this, uh, compared to saw where like you’ve got somebody in captivity being tormented by a captor mm-hmm so there, there are, there are lots of other movies like this, but, uh, I think this one is just special. Uh, I think everything came together.

The, you know, like Reiner, um, said I seeing James Conn in it. I really, I can’t imagine anybody else in the role. It just, it. It just feels right. Everything just kind of, it seems like everything came together perfectly and it just, it just worked. It’s 

Todd: a great film. It’s a great film. Go out and check it out.

If you haven’t already and read the book, man, read the fricking book. If you’re a reader, this is a fantastic book. 

Craig: Yeah. And you know, again, James con, as an actor, I have, uh, a ton of respect for him. I think that, uh, incredibly, incredibly talented was able to shine in a variety of different types of roles.

Um, and, uh, I think he’s, he’s worthy of a lot of admiration and praise and it’s unfortunate that he’s gone, but. As I always say his work speaks for itself. 

Todd: Absolutely. Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. If you enjoyed it, you may want to consider becoming a patron of this podcast.

Please go to patreon.com/chainsaw podcast. Or go to our website at 2guys.red40net.com and follow the link there to our Patreon page. We offer for just a, a very small amount per month, you can help support us and keep us going with this as well as yet to get a few goodies, extra, such as our mini SOS that we put out.

Uh, several times a month, we have a, an interview of us, a 90 minutes of personal questions that our good friend Heather is given as well as, uh, we post the raw unedited versions of our phone calls every week. Uh, in case you’re interested in that, please consider going over and supporting our podcast.

Also, uh, you can find us on Twitter. You can find us on Facebook, please let us know what you thought of this episode, as well as any other movies you’d like us to do in the future. We will get back to doing requests. Very, very, very good until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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