By George Rose
September 23, 2009
Most of his victims are unknown, though the opening scene is full of C-list celebrities. After the mass murder that is Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan and Rebecca Gayheart, Santa (played by Bill Goldberg) aimlessly kills all those in his path until his Christmas is over for good. And with a gloriously lame tagline like "He's making a list... pray you're not on it," why wouldn't you want to see this movie? Seriously, if even an ounce of you has interest in seeing the recently released Sorority Row, change your minds and go see this movie. It's intentionally funny, not "Hi, I'm Rumer Willis in a horror movie, take me seriously" kind of funny. Or give Santa's Slay as a stocking stuffer this upcoming holiday season. It's a real treat for all!
The sad thing about horror is that most of it isn't scary at all. It's all just up-in-your-face nonsense, orchestrated by music that makes you jump more than anything on screen. Blood here, minor plot point there. I just compared horror to porn and, really, is the idea that ludicrous? Most R-rated horror is about the naked victims anyway. Now that I think of it, horror is just porn with more blood. Well... okay, never mind, I'm going into a whole discussion that could get rather graphic and off topic very easily. But going back to horror, even though most of it is bloody nudity, there are some horror movies that can truly scare the pants off of you, or at least disturb you long enough to impact you after the credits have finished rolling. Misery is one of those movies.
Misery is based on a story by Stephen King, who is very hit or miss when it comes to movie adaptations of his books. It and Pet Semetary were two movies I watched and disliked this past summer, both based on his work. The Green Mile was great and joining it on the list of successful adaptations is Misery. The story is about a writer named Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who is rescued after a horrible car accident. He wakes up to discover he is being taken care of by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his "number one fan." It seems innocent at first until we realize that his publishers are on the lookout for him and Annie is by no means in the position to care for another human being. The woman is, for lack of better words, certifiably bonkers. Her loving care turns to overbearing dominance, which turns to freakish obsession, which turns to full-on crazy. The woman is the kind of crazy fan that makes celebrities as weary as they are. Just watching this movie almost makes me want to give up being a writer, though I don't assume I'm popular enough to worry about such loyal fans. Or am I?
Is your favorite writer killing off your favorite fictitious heroine a justifiable reason for holding the author hostage and torturing him? Probably not, but Kathy Bates makes it looks extremely possible for someone to go through the act. She is believable and breathtaking as a mentally unstable fan, completely deserving of the Oscar she received for her role. Misery may not be the scariest movie I've ever seen but it is a very good movie and better than any horror or thriller out in theaters right now. And it co-stars Carrie Fisher as the girls' sorority headmistress full of witty one-liners! Wait, sorry, that's Sorority Row. Oh, Carrie Fisher. Why can't you do more movies like Misery and less teen horror garbage? If only there were something worthwhile to see in theaters so I didn't have to go out and rent movies or scan my Verizon Fios for something to watch.