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Nightmare Fuel / Misery

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Moment subpages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.
Pretty much all of the horror of Misery comes from Annie Wilkes, one of the most horrifying women ever put to print and screen. How do we fear thee? Let us count the ways...

  • That one scene. You know exactly which one we're talking about. That scene is the one most people will remember. It's the one where Annie breaks Paul's ankles by sticking a block of wood between his feet and slamming a sledgehammer against each foot.
    • This is actually toned down a good deal from the novel, in which Annie chops off Paul's foot with an axe, to punish him for an escape attempt, and later his thumb, after an argument over problems with the typewriter she supplied him.
      • Later, she brings him a cake. With a "special" candle. It's his thumb. Which she threatens to make him eat.
  • In the book, Annie takes a rat she trapped in her cellar and brings it in front of Paul. She proceeds to squeeze the rat until blood gushes from its mouth. Then, she licks the blood from her fingertips. Gross.
    • All whilst discussing her extremely nihilistic viewpoint of the world, with humans essentially being trapped rats with broken backs. It really gives an insight into how insane Annie really is.
  • Also in the book, Annie attacks a young state trooper and runs over his head with a lawnmower. Ick.
    • Apparently, Kathy Bates was looking forward to doing this scene in the movie, but it was deemed too unintentionally funny to film.
    • After killing said trooper and disposing of his remains, Annie carries Paul to the basement as part of her plan to throw the police off her trail for at least a few days. The basement, where she refuses to leave him with so much as a single candle for light. Then she leaves to establish her alibi, and Paul is alone in that cold, damp, pitch-black space with nothing but rats and spiders (and the barbecue grill in which he was forced to burn Fast Cars) to keep him company. He imagines the dead and shredded officer visiting him in the night. Brr.
  • This moment:
    The key rattled in the lock. Annie was looking in at him, her eyes burned black holes in her face. Her right cheek was swelling up, and it looked like she was going to have a hell of a shiner in the morning. There was red stuff around her mouth and on her chin. For a moment Paul thought it was more blood from her torn lip and then he saw the seeds in it. It was raspberry jam or raspberry filling, not blood. She looked at him. Paul looked back. Neither said anything for a time. Outside, the first drops of rain splatted against the window.
    "If you can get into that chair all by yourself, Paul," she said at last, "then I think you can fill in your own fucking n's." She then closed the door and locked it again. Paul sat looking at it for a long time, almost as if there were something to see. He was too flabbergasted to do anything else.
    • To put things in the proper context, Annie hates it when people swear, and she's already been shown to be murderously nuts. So when Annie busts out an F-Bomb of her own, that's a bad, BAD sign.
  • A simple phrase from the book perfectly describes the terror that Annie inspires.
    Being here with her was like being with the Angel of Death.
  • In the movie, the scene with a depressed Annie talking to Paul about her fear of being abandoned by him starts out as a Tear Jerker, but soon evolves into this when she shows him a pistol and tells him that she might put bullets into it...
  • Paul makes a very mild complaint about the typing paper Annie has bought for the writing of Misery's Return. She doesn't take it well, smashing her fist down on his shattered knee before storming out of the house to get some new paper, leaving Paul in unimaginable agony. He has no choice but to pick the lock on his bedroom door and wheel himself through the house to try and find the codeine-based Novril capsules which will quell the pain (and on which he is hooked). He finds it, gobbles up four capsules and, with his pain subsiding, does a little exploring of the house. Then he hears her car turning into the driveway.
  • The very first time we see Annie show her true colors in the film. Paul wakes up from his slumber in the middle of the night to see his caretaker, or rather captor, standing by his bed in a menacing fashion, having read Paul's latest Misery book and discovered that her beloved leading character was killed off. She does not take the news well. Paul tries to reassure her that in spite of her death, her spirit lives on. Big mistake, as her response is pictured above:
    • She yells this all while violently shaking Paul's bed with her hands and upper strength.
  • While Annie is visiting her "Laughing Place," Paul ventures outside his room again for supplies. He picks up Annie's "Memory Lane" scrapbook and leafs through it. He finds out why she was "up there on the stand in Denver," and more importantly, that she's an extremely crafty serial killer who's been murdering people since she was a child. He (not to mention the reader) now knows that Annie is much more dangerous and terrifying than he ever suspected.
    • Not to mention, the last clipping in the scrapbook is from People Magazine, the "Transitions" column, to be exact. It's a brief mention of Paul's disappearance, with a jocular, unconcerned remark from his literary agent. It makes Paul feel like he's already dead, and now he knows that no one is searching for him. The clipping before that is from the local newspaper and says a mutilated body, hacked to death with an axe, was found not far from where Annie lives. Annie has gone from passively causing people's deaths to murdering helpless people to violently slaughtering people, and Paul is left to wonder exactly what Annie might have in store for him if he fails to please her or makes her angry. Later, when Annie cuts off his foot, he knows she's using the same axe she used to murder the unfortunate man whose body was found.
    • It's a blink-or-you'll-miss-it moment, but the movie shows that Annie has apparently added little notes to the clippings detailing her murders. On one of the pages describing the deaths of babies under her care at the maternity ward, her handwritten note has "another baby" and love hearts scribbled on it. It's left unclear if she's taking some kind of disgusting thrill in her depraved murders, or if she is simply so deranged she is expressing some sort of misguided affection towards her victim(s).
  • The scene in the movie where Annie convinces Paul that he needs to burn his new manuscript. While slowly tossing lighter fluid on his bed. All with a sweet smile on her face.
    • Kind of an worry for writers, or any other creative artist. Imagine working on something for months of your life, putting all you have into it... and now it's gone, and you will never be able to recreate it. Just to twist the knife, Paul thought the novel was really good, far better than his Misery novels.
  • Paul's solution to undoing Misery's death: she was sent into a severe coma from an allergic reaction to a bee sting and was Buried Alive, causing memories of the same thing happening to an 18 year old girl nearby who made a heroic effort to dig her way out only to suffocate just inches from succeeding, one hand with all the flesh stripped off the fingertips protruding from the ground. It's little wonder Annie is so unnerved when she expects another fun romantic adventure and gets, well, a Stephen King story.
  • Paul's final stand with Annie. While it's also an Awesome moment and Paul's big The Dog Bites Back moment, it still stands for Annie's total Villainous Breakdown and any affable tics of her previous unhinged episodes being completely gone. At the start of the fight she gets a startling upper hand by charging at Paul, smashing his head through a window while snarling death threats at him ("I'M GONNA KILL YOU, YOU LYING COCKSUCKER!!!). Even Paul's retaliation is unnervingly brutal, almost gouging her eyes out while she screams in agony. By the end of the fight when she gains the upper hand, she just lets out a frustrated primal roar at Paul before charging at him, having completely degenerated to a feral monster.
  • The Soundtrack Dissonance and Mood Whiplash given off in the Christmas trailer for the film, especially when the trailer ends with Annie bringing down the sledgehammer for the first strike in the ‘hobbling’ scene to solemn Christmas music.
  • The book's various cover designs from over the years have always been intimidating, but probably the scariest are the first, which shows a distressed Paul with Annie's shadow ominously looming over him, and this one, which shows Paul in utter agony while a deranged, ghastly Annie looks on.