Literature: Gerald's Game
First edition cover
A horror novel by Stephen King
. The setup is rather High Concept
— during a bondage game proposed by husband Gerald, things go south. Gerald himself ends up dead, and protagonist Jessie Burlingame finds herself in a whole heap of trouble when she's still handcuffed to the bed.Definitely not to be confused with Geri's Game
But you said these tropes sounded like fun:
- Affectionate Nickname: Jessie's father calls her "Punkin".
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Prince's intuition is described by King in a way that doesn't feel that farfetched.
- Amoral Attorney: Gerald is slowly revealed to be one.
- Attempted Rape: Causes Jessie to kick Gerald in the groin, giving him a fatal heart attack.
- Better Than Sex: When Jessie finally gets rid of the handcuffs, she feels ecstatic, and thinks that if sex was even half this good, people would be doing it on every street corner.
- Body Horror
- Bondage Is Bad: Surprisingly averted; it's the motivation that can be bad, yes, but not the act itself. Of course, you probably won't want to run off and play with some handcuffs right after reading this.
- Chained to a Bed
- Creepily Long Arms: One of the more noticable traits of The Space Cowboy.
- Creepy Souvenir: The Space Cowboy's attire is littered with the bones of past victims.
- Daddy's Girl: Jessie was like this... until her father sexually molested her.
- Dangerous Key Fumble: Befalls Jessie when she tries to escape in her car.
- The Darkness Gazes Back: Jessie never is sure whether or not there is someone in the shadows, watching her at night.
- Determinator: In between increasingly unsettling and haunting flashbacks that go way back to her childhood, the book is sectioned with Jessie's various attempts at releasing herself from the handcuffs.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Due to her angle on the bed, Jessie is mostly able to only hear Prince eating Gerald's corpse. Mostly.
- Hearing Voices
- Humanoid Abomination: How Jessie sees The Space Cowboy, in her dazed and near mad state.
- I Love the Dead: The creepy stranger Jessie sees is Raymond Andrew Joubert, a necrophiliac serial killer and cannibal, who regularly broke into crypts and mortuaries for years and violated male corpses.
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: How Goody Burlingame, the more submissive voice Jessie's head, tries to rationalise Gerald's attempt at rape.
- Kinky Cuffs: After a while, Gerald only finds Jessie sexually attractive if she's tied to the bed. Unfortunately, he likes to use real handcuffs. However, he could only get the type made for males; this is what makes Jessie's escape possible.
- Life or Limb Decision: Not exactly, but close enough. Jessie eventually breaks a glass and effectively scalps her hand, so blood would serve as a lubricant and allow her to pull her hand through the cuff.
- Living Shadow: How Jessie percieves The Space Cowboy
- Looks Like Orlok: The creepy stranger, mostly.
- Meaningful Background Event: References to a dark barking in the woods are spread throughout the first two chapters or so.
- Parental Incest: And not just confined to backstory either. No, King tackles this ugliness head on.
- Psychological Horror: In spades.
- Room Full of Crazy: Insane and mortally wounded woman chained to a bed, a naked, half-eaten corpse lying on the floor, a carnivorous, emotionally volatile dog, and an ominous stranger covered with human bones standing in the corner of the room? You just hit the jackpot.
- Signature Style: Stream-of-consciousness writing? Italicized, parenthetical snatches of phrases representing the main character's little brainfarts? Multiple contexts for the same phrase, all of them disturbing? Must be a Stephen King book.
- Vomiting Cop: Sheriff Norris Ridgewick throws up, when he finds what is in the truck of Raymond Andrew Joubert, a necrophiliac cannibal (for example, a sandwich with a human tongue). A character says that "the State Police would have torn him a new asshole if he'd puked on the evidence. On the other hand, I'd have wanted him removed from his job for psychological reasons if he hadn't thrown up."