As far as portraits of obsessive fandom go, it’s hard to beat Misery—either Stephen King’s 1987 novel, or the 1990 film adaptation that won Kathy Bates an Oscar for her portrayal of an unhinged fan. But what do you do if the pop culture item you’re in love with is Misery itself?
Head to your local Barnes & Noble and start screaming, apparently. That’s the takeaway from this video—as amazing now as when it started making the rounds online a few years ago—that sees what would happen if real-life people were forced to contend with Annie Wilkes in the flesh. Apparently dating back to 2011, when a group called Generic Theater posted it as promotion for an upcoming stage production based on the book (not to be confused with the Bruce Willis-starring one from a couple of years ago, penned by William Goldman), the video’s been amusing fans of the film—and confusing people who don’t know who the hell Paul Sheldon is—for years. (We’d actually forgotten about it ourselves, until a recent tweet from Buzzfeed’s Jarett Wieselman brought it back to our attention, because the internet is a never-ending font of viral delight.)
The most amazing thing about the video—other than the vocal chord-straining commitment of the woman playing Wilkes, including the little fugue state she drops into at the end—is how polite the bookstore staff are to her increasingly fake-sweary demands. We don’t know if we could have stood up to a two-minute rant from an apparently insane woman, and then chirpily said “I can order it for you!” in an attempt to defuse the situation. That guy deserves a medal (or at least a paperback copy of Misery Unchained).