Ed. note- As much as I love Nicole Fiss, I would never get on her bad side. She’s one tough lady, and I’m smart enough never to leave her scorned (I shudder even to imagine the consequences). And speaking of women scorned, Nicole brings to DE the second in her Hell Hath No Fury series, Kathy Bates. Enjoy her take on Stephen King’s infamous villainess.-P.F.
“I’m your number one fan.” That soft voiced sentiment will take you back to a small house in the mountains of Sidewinder, Colorado. Annie Wilkes’ innocent, caring and sweet demeanor could not have had the slow descent into psychotic madness without Kathy Bates.
Let’s start with the birthplace of Annie Wilkes: the fantastically warped imagination of Stephen King. I have been reading King fiction since junior high and Misery, along with The Dark Half, have always been my favorites. I remember sitting in the movie theater hearing that famous quote while James Caan’s vision gradually cleared on Bates face, and thinking “she looks way to innocent to pull off the insanity of Annie Wilkes”. Boy, was I wrong.
I was somewhat disappointed with the few changes they made from novel to film; the hobbling scene would have been more disturbing had they stuck to the book. But I later found out it was director Rob Reiner’s decision to switch the axe with a sledgehammer. He thought that actual amputation of Paul Sheldon’s feet would be “too severe”. But nevertheless, the best part of that scene was her exclaiming “God I love you!” after she finished.
From Annie’s best friend Misery the pig, to her ceramic penguin that always faces due south, and the constant stream of Novril she feeds to poor Paul Sheldon, Bates mastered that fine line between love and lunacy.
As with most things I write here at Death Ensemble, I like to end with a quote. And while there were many memorable lines from Kathy Bates, I have to stick with my favorite from this film which came from James Caan. “YOU WANT IT? EAT IT! EAT IT TIL YOU CHOKE! YOU SICK TWISTED FUCK!” Yeah, that was definitely the best.