Rob Reiner Cut A Misery Scene Because He Thought It Would Be Too Funny On Film

Author Stephen King is a master of nightmares, and that means that sometimes moments from his novels just don't quite make the jump to the screen. Some things are simply too horrendous to be committed to celluloid, while others just don't translate with the right level of emotion. Back in 1990 when Rob Reiner made his film version of King's novel "Misery," one scene was just never going to get past the MPAA, and another wasn't going to make it past hardened horror fans. 

While director Rob Reiner decided to change the infamous hobbling sequence to make it less gory (but somehow made it grosser), there was one sequence in King's novel that he deemed too silly to film. In "Misery," Annie Wilkes, played by Kathy Bates, keeps author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) captive while she forces him to write a sequel to her favorite book series. The one chance Paul might get at freedom comes in the form of a state trooper, played by J.T. Walsh, and unfortunately Annie gets to him before he can rescue poor Paul. Wilkes dispatches the would-be rescuer, but in the book, she does it by stabbing him and running him over with a Lawn-Boy, but Reiner just couldn't see working on the big screen.

A wonderfully weird weapon

Screenwriter William Goldman, who adapted King's book for the screen, tried to remove some of the graphic violence from the story and make it more of a psychological thriller. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2015, Caan and Bates discussed the changes between the book and the film, and Bates revealed the reason why Reiner and Goldman removed a brutal kill via lawnmower:

"I wanted to run over him with the Lawn-Boy, but Rob said he thought that would be too funny, and he didn't do that. He wanted it to be serious, psychological ... I liked the way it started, at the beginning, because I think the first word you heard that was kind of off was oogy. She's going out the door and she said, 'Oh, I don't want to make you feel all oogy,' and the door closes, and he's like, 'Oh, f—. What is that?'"

While I can't testify to what exactly "oogy" is, I can say that Reiner wasn't entirely right about a lawnmower kill being too silly to film. While Peter Jackson certainly made the mower a hilarious method of murder in his splatsploitation masterpiece "Dead Alive," the lawn trimming tool was used to horrifying perfection in Scott Derrickson's "Sinister." Maybe Reiner couldn't come up with a way to make it work, but that doesn't mean a lawnmower murder has to be funny. Bates would have killed it.