Annie Wilkes is the antagonist of the classic Stephen King novel, Misery, and later film adaption. I will be focusing on the devilish traits that have earned her a place as the 17th most iconic villians in film history.
Gnarles Barkley- Crazy
Annie Wilkes' past is one of chaos and horror. She spent time as a nurse in a hospital, and became the subject of investigation when a number of her patients, most of them being babies, passed away. She embodied the stereotype of the Angel of Death and showed her true psychopathic tendancies for the first time here, with her serial killings. It is this troubled and evil past that shapes Annie to the unstable state she is in when she comes across Paul.
Come on now, who do you? Who do you?
This is one of the only songs included in the playlist with an upbeat tempo, and that is because the life of Annie before she is introduced in the novel is one in which she was intensely dedicated to. Although a horrible crime, her serial killings were something she was sure of and executed in a way that allowed her to get off of trial free of charge. The lyrics of the song exemplify the craziness Annie shows, which she spotlights in her time in the hospital, in her kidnapping of Paul, and her eventual demise. The vocals seem to be screaming, calling out for help, but still embracing the characterstic being sung about.
Plan B - She Said
Annie's feelings and thoughts can be considered neurotic and unstable, with her mood swings and outbursts certainly contributing to her diagnosis of manic depression. Her preoccupation with Paul's character, Mercy, and her need to control the way the story turns out, is surely a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clearly, Annie Wilkes is plagued with mental illness, and, unfortunately, Paul falls victim to it. As the novel progresses, the stories she tells do not add up, and Annie makes herself vulnerable.
So I said "What you sayin' girl, it can't be right.
The lyrics of Plan B's She Said can be seen as a conversation between Annie and Paul. The "She" being mentioned has an unfounded love for a man, and when the feelings are not reciprocated, it has negative effects on him. The same can be said for Paul Sheldon's unreciprocated love towards Annie Wilkes, which has almost fatal effects. The snapping which starts the song, and follows throughout, reminds me a lot of neurotic behavior. The introduction of trumpets and saxophones into the song add to it's feeling of a cat-and-mouse game, which a vibe that Annie and Paul give off. The fast moving beat, which picks up as the song progresses, is similar to the progression of Annie's menta break.
Beyoncé - Crazy in Love
Annie Wilkes' role in this novel is epitomzed by her obsession with author Paul Sheldon, and the lengths she goes through to maintain this "relationship" she has created in her head. Her original kidnapping of Paul, blatant lies, and extreme measures to prevent him from actually being nursed back to health are all seeded in her irrational belief that she is his "number one fan." This fan-author relationship further blossoms into a one-sided love affair-- perhaps better known as an infatuation, and an unhealthy one at that.
|You got me looking, so crazy my baby
I'm not myself lately I'm foolish, I don't do this
I've been playing myself, baby I don't care
Baby your love's got the best of me
Beyoncé's Crazy in Love exemplifies the craziness Annie Wilkes displays towards Paul. The dark and slow sounding beat matches the slow unfolding of Annie's true psychopathy. The lyrics of the song call upon the irrational actions and thoughts love can drive us to, which is certainly a situation Annie is familiar with. The methodical piano playing that starts off the song plays towards Annie's incline into the peak of her breakdown. When the drums are introduced towards the middle, and "...crazy in love.." is spoken, the song reaches its highpoint, just like when Annie breaks down. Annie is lost in her feelings for Paul, and even more lost in her feelings for his writing, and finds herself acting crazy over these feelings.
Radiohead - Creep
It is not much of a leap to classify Annie Wilkes as a creep, with her obsessive tendencies and her obscene transgressions. There are not many supporting characters in this novel, but the handful that cross paths with Annie are able to identify her pure uncanniness. Her decision to live as a hermit, and have little to no interaction with the town, except when it comes to wiping the book store out of Paul Sheldon novels, definitely warrants the turning of some heads.
|And I wish I was special, you're so fuckin' special
But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
Radiohead's Creep is a song about exactly what its name implies-- a creep. Annie's actions are certainly enough to warrant her the title of a "creep." The song sounds almost sadistic, as if the singer is embrassing their creepiness and using it. At certain points throughout the novel, Annie calls herself out on some of her evil actions. She recognizes her deviated behavior and continues to act the same way, as if embracing it. The tempo of the song slowly builds, beginning with a drum, and eventually into deeper singing and electric guitar. This tempo envokes the same trend of a building psychosis. Except this time, the song has a more perverse sound and lyrics that really scream to the character's insanity.
Led Zeppelin - Ramble On
Annie's history as an "Angel of Death" is not something mentioned until Paul stumbles upon it himself. It is learned that Annie was a nurse in a hospital's nursery, and under her care over twenty infants mysteriously died. There are several other mysterious deaths for which Annie could be attributed, all of which are filed together in a scrapbook created by Annie herself, which in and of itself is a sign of her physcosis. But her dark days are not behind her, and she still behaves and thinks like the serial killer she is, and, deep down, longs for it to continue with Paul.
|For now I smell the rain, and with it pain
And it's headed my way
Sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I've got one thing I got to do
"Sometimes I grow so tired/ But I know I've got one thing I got to do" from Led Zeppelin's Ramble On plays to Annie's unearthly drive towards sin. Surely, Annie must become exhausted living in hiding, and commiting these crimes, but she has a need to continue. And she does not have an answer as to why, it just happens. The drum tapping heard at the beginning of the song is another signal towards neurotic behavior. When it comes to the chorus, Zeppelin sings louder, as if yelling out to the audience, to explain himself. Even the instrumentation in the middle of the song plays to Annie's hesitation in some of her actions, signaling to her deliberation before she acts. The deep and raspy voice of Led Zeppelin calling "Ramble On" is exactly what Annie is doing, rambling on into the evil depths of this world.
Bastille - Overjoyed
In Misery, Annie preys on the misfortune of Paul Sheldon, and is not shy about sharing how happy it makes her feel. Her joy also drives her to behave irrationally and corruptively, and without hesitation. She puts her own happiness above everyone else's, and is even driven to breaking Sheldon's legs to an irreperable degree just to make sure the novel is written the way she wants. Her experience of schadenfreude is blatant, and makes it clear why she is the sixth most iconic villiainess in literature.
|You lean towards despair
Any given oppurtunity you're there
But what is there to gain?
When you're always falling off the fence that way
Words are all we have to hold on to
The acapella rendition of Overjoyed performed by Bastille offers an eerie take on the feelings of being overjoyed. The lyrics call upon a darker side of the feeling of joy, and expose the more true reprecussions of this emotion. Singing it in acapella gives the song another layer, a layer that shows that when push comes to shove, it is only our words that we have to show for ourselves, and nothing else. (which is ironic considering Paul Sheldon is a writer). The choice of using no instruments is important because it shows a lack of reliance on anything but yourself. By the end of the novel, Annie is trying to cut Paul off completely, and he is left with just his words.
Ed Sheeran - I See Fire
Annie Wilkes' psychosis reaches it's epitome when she decides that she and Paul must both kill themselves, a tragically beautiful end. Annie feels a sense of completion when Mercy is finished being written, but Paul seizes this moment of weakness. His only copy of the final installment to the Mercy series, written at the request of Annie, is burned before her eyes. She weaps, and dives toward the floor, and a fight ensues between the two. Paul's desire to live outweighs Annie's desire to finish him, and Annie succumbs to her death with a deadly fall.
|Watch the flames burn auburn on the mountain side
And if we should die tonight
Then we should all die together
Raise a glass of wine for the last time
Ed Sheeran's I See Fire is the perfect song to end Annie Wilkes' playlist, because it talks about something ending in "fire and smoke," and everything that has been worked for being destroyed. In a sense, all of Annie's work to manipulate Paul is defeated when he burns the novel and overpowers her. The slow tune, and guitar strumming sets the tone for the end of Annie. The soultry and wavering voice sounds like a plea for help, as if they are trying to be saved before their end meets them. The fire, which sweeps through and destroys everything in its path, is Annie's psychosis reaching its peak, and is the reason for her eventual downfall.
|" Now the time has come. I put two bullets in my gun. One for me, and one for you. Oh darling, it will be so beautiful. " - Annie Wilkes|