For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For others, the holiday season, with its colorful lights, indoor trees, and ear-wormy music, is a horror all its own.
But even if the idea of holiday cheer (and evil Santas) makes you want to shove candy canes in your ears, there’s still plenty of winter horror for you to enjoy.
Here are my five favorite frosty films perfect for a long winter’s night.
At the beginning of Misery, author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is at a crossroads. While he owes his success to his series of popular romance novels (featuring the brilliantly named character Misery Chastain), he’s ready to move on. After completing a new manuscript in the snowy Colorado hills, he packs up his car and starts the journey back to NYC.
As he makes his way through the snowy landscape, the icy roads turn treacherous. His car swerves off the road, careening wildly, before landing in a ditch. Ouch.
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Just when it looks like all is lost, a stranger appears and saves Sheldon from certain death.
That stranger is innocent, wide-eyed Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Luckily, she’s a registered nurse. Even more luckily, she was able to take him to her home and set his broken legs. But all that luck runs out when it’s revealed Wilkes is Misery Chastain’s biggest fan, and she’s none too excited to learn her favorite series is coming to an end.
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Misery is the perfect wintertime watch as the setting plays an integral part in the unfolding drama. The inclement weather and poor road conditions serve as the perfect excuse for Wilkes to keep her favorite author close even as Sheldon (and the audience) grows uneasy with the good nurse’s caretaking methods.
Director Rob Reiner weaves a tight, claustrophobic thriller that never lets the audience rest.
(Quick shout out to all you fans of the Canadian TV version of Anne of Green Gables. Watch for actor Richard Farnsworth who played the kindly Matthew as the sheriff)