Spooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight spooky books I’ve read or am currently reading.
I swear this isn’t a weekly Stephen King post. It just… looks that way.
My Grandma is a huge Kathy Bates fan. Even though I wasn’t supposed to watch TV (my parents were devout UPC for the first half of my childhood), whenever I would go to Grandma’s we would watch a movie and it usually was something with Kathy Bates. Misery was one of two movies that really stuck with me (the other was Dolores Claiborne, another King masterpiece).
I ended up reading MISERY for the first time in 2016 and while it’s not my absolute favorite King novel, it definitely ranks in the top 5. I think what’s so terrifying about MISERY is that Annie Wilkes isn’t some supernatural creature… she’s just a woman. There’s nothing mysterious or overtly powerful about her. She’s not a demon, she’s not possessed- she’s just pure human evil.
However terrifying the movie was… the book is worse. I understand why they changed the movie so much but man, what a hell of a movie that would have been if they hadn’t.
Right off the bat, Annie is terrifying. Her moods flit between 1950s Sitcom Mom (“Oh, Paul!”) and severely unstable murderess. And the most terrifying thing is that Paul never knows what will set her off, what she will regard as him being “spoiled” and what she will regard as him “being against her”. She’s convinced herself that she’s doing this for his own good, that she’s doing God’s work by forcing him to burn the manuscript for a book he was actually proud of and making him write another book for the Misery series (making him bring back the title character of a series he had ended because he hated the character and wanted to move past it).
I think the most terrifying part of Misery is that in the back of our minds, we all know one person we could see kidnapping their favorite celebrity and putting them through the ringer under the guise of being their number one fan.
For me, the best part of the book was just Paul’s sheer will to survive and live… even if that’s just long enough to kill Annie.
If you want something spooky without a supernatural element, this is definitely the book for you.