Misery movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Misery filmed?

1990

About Misery

Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, Misery is a terrifying and anxiety-inducing look at insane fan culture. Our protagonist, Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a successful writer who is on the road writing his newest book when he crashes his car in a snowstorm.

When he comes around, he’s greeted by a friendly looking woman called Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who informs him that he’s broken his legs and she’s a nurse who’s going to take care of him. Annie, however, is not what she seems.

As it turns out, she’s a psychopathic super fan who keeps Paul locked up until he finishes his new book, just for her. She keeps him dosed up, fed and totally reliant on her as she lives in the middle of nowhere.

Increasingly desperate for escape, Paul must figure out how he can trick Annie and give her the slip, despite his long list of injuries. Add in the fact that most people think he’s now dead and no one knows where he is, and Paul is in a world of trouble that’s only getting worse by the minute.

As the film goes on, you see just how far Annie Wilkes is willing to go to complete her mission to get this book, and ultimately, make Paul fall in love with her, as she is with him. It’s delusional, but terrifying to see how certain she is in her justification of her actions.

With Oscar-worthy acting by both Kathy Bates and James Caan, this classic horror/thriller will make you simultaneously enthralled and uncomfortable – the perfect feeling to accompany any Stephen King source material!

This film is raved about and beloved the world over, with numerous TV shows and films paying homage to the characters. There have even been spoofs of it in Family Guy, and drag queen Baga Chips even impersonated Annie Wilkes to a tee in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Truly iconic with an international impact.

City Locations

Carson City, Nevada

Location Types

American, Cabins, NatureScapes

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Mountain Huts, Rustic

Misery Locations

As the majority of the scenes in Misery take place in Annie Wilkes’ house, a lot of filming was done on set. However, for the snowy external scenes, the Misery production crew ventured out across Nevada and Northern California to really bring the sleepy town vibe to life.

Throughout the film, we also see shots of New York, where Sheldon normally lives and works as his agent starts to realize something isn’t quite right. Some of these scenes are genuinely filmed in the Big Apple, but some are actually Los Angeles filling in.

This makes sense as the studio where most of the scenes were filmed is based in Hollywood, making it easier for the entire cast and crew.

There are definitely spoilers ahead. It's a classic, with many fabulous intense Misery scenes.

Paul regains consciousness scene in Misery

Sunset Las Palmas Studios

In perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in modern cinema, we meet Annie Wilkes for the first time. When Paul regains consciousness and laid up in bed, Annie is there waiting. The words circle around Paul’s mind as Annie repeatedly says:

“I’m your number one fan.”

This is where we first get a sense of where the film is going and well, that something just isn’t quite right here.

The interior shots of Annie’s house, which is in fact most of the movie, were all shot at Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles, California. This is a hugely famous and historic studio that was opened in 1919 and was home to shows like I Love Lucy and Beverly Hillbillies.

It’s now called the Sunset Las Palmas Studios and it’s still in use today as a movie studio. It’s located just off Santa Monica Boulevard, so you can get the number 4 bus which stops right around the corner. Although you can’t really visit the studios, you can grab a coffee and see which stars you can spot coming off a shoot.

Something’s wrong with Paul scene in Misery

Seagram Building on Park Avenue

It gets to a point where people start to notice that Paul is missing, first and foremost, his agent Marcia Sindall, played by the Hollywood legend that is Lauren Bacall.

Working backward from the inn that he last checked out of, she rings Sheriff Buster at Silver Creek (Richard Farnsworth) to see if he’d seen or heard anything. Marcia was definitely onto something, and Buster was quickly piecing together that Annie Wilkes was a lot more than she first appeared.

We see Marcia on the phone in her New York office saying, “I think one of my clients, Paul Sheldon, might be in some kind of trouble.”

This building is used again towards the end of the film as, what we assume, is Marcia’s office. In actual fact, it’s the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York City.

From the looks of it, the Seagram Building actually is still working offices in the heart of Midtown East, surrounded by shops and eateries, so you can wander by and check out this particular Misery filming location fairly easily.

With it being Manhattan, there’s a metro station two blocks away on Lexington and 53rd, so that’s your best transport option.

Discovering the crash site scene in Misery

Donner Pass, Placer County

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for our main character, Paul. While following up on some leads, Paul’s overturned car is found on the snowy road heading out of town. As there’s no body there and nothing around the site for miles, at first glance, it looks like the driver must have frozen to death in the wilderness.

Upon discovering its acclaimed writer, Paul Sheldon’s car, the news crews start to circle, with a helicopter reporter (Archie Hahn) declaring:

“The presumption must now be that Paul Sheldon is dead”

It looks like no one will be looking for him now, much to Annie’s delight!

We of course see this road again in the opening scenes where the crash takes place and everything starts to go wrong. This stretch of road is called Donner Pass, Placer County, California.

This pass goes through the Sierra Nevada and is relatively close to the famous Pacific Continental Trail or PCT. As it’s a mountain pass, the best way to experience it is by driving it, but as you saw in the film, conditions can get sketchy so check out the weather before you travel.

Sheriff Buster’s death scene in Misery

Clear Creek, Carson City

Unfortunately, Sheriff Buster is just too damn good at his job. After doing some research into Annie’s dark and murderous past, he’s putting two and two together. The logical next step? Going to Annie’s house and checking to see if Paul is there.

Upon hearing the car rolling up, Annie quickly quiets Paul and plans to get rid of the Sheriff – permanently!

Annie opens the door before the Sheriff even has a chance to knock, saying, “I think you can tell by my reaction that I’m not all that used to visitors out here.”

I’m afraid it all goes downhill for our beloved Sheriff from there on out.

Although the facade of the house itself was built by the Misery production team and therefore is no longer in existence, it was in the town of Clear Creek, Carson City, in Nevada. So, if you want to check out the spot surrounding the notorious Annie Wilkes’ house, you absolutely can.

There are quite a few places you can stay and trails to check out in the area if you want to stay for a few days. That being said, you’ll have to drive as public transport is pretty much non-existent.

Annie returns from town scene in Misery

Genoa Bar and Saloon

Once Paul starts to figure out that he has to escape and has to trick Annie into leaving the house, he hatches a plan. He convinces her that she needs to pick up more paper from town so that he can continue writing her beloved novel.

While she’s out, he tries to escape, or at the very least, get himself a weapon to defend himself when she returns with pills and painkillers at a later date. He almost makes it work when she arrives home and asks:

“What have you been doing?”

She knows something is up and she’s going to take her plan to the next level. While Paul is planning his escape, we also see Annie in town. In real life, Silver Creek is the oldest settlement in Nevada, called Genoa.

Although places like the general store and the police station were built especially for the film, you can still visit the Genoa Bar and Saloon which has been featured in numerous films and can be spotted by eagle-eyed viewers.

As Genoa is pretty far from anywhere, you’re going to need to drive in order to visit this historic and charming town. Wander round, explore and imagine that you’re in the film itself - just not as one of Annie’s victims!

Restaurant end scene in Misery

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

After the trauma of being kidnapped, almost being murdered and actually killing Annie, Paul returns to New York to finish the book. The end scene of the movie is 18 months after the ordeal where Paul and Marcia meet in an upscale restaurant where she shows him the first copy of the new book.

They’re interrupted by a waitress, who says something innocent to her, but something triggering to him:

Waitress: I just wanted to tell you I'm your number one fan.

Paul Sheldon: That's... very sweet of you..

I’m sure Paul will be giving all of his fans a very wide berth from here on out – and who can blame him!

This delightful restaurant isn’t actually in New York, it’s actually the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, in LA. It's a historic and super fancy hotel where you can stay and relax, safe in the knowledge that Annie Wilkes is in fact fictional – for a luxury price tag.

If you don’t have that kind of cash to flash, you can walk by this beautiful building and even get a peek inside if you’re sneaky. There are plenty of bus routes that stop on 5th and 6th street, either side of the hotel.

Conclusion

You don’t get to be as iconic as Misery is without being an incredible film, with powerful performances, and a nail-biting script. The fact that devoted fans of the original Stephen King book also loved the film is a testament to the adaptation. After all, no one does creepy horror quite like Stephen King!

Kathy Bates’ performance as Annie Wilkes was so outstanding that she won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for best actress that year. It’s such an unnerving performance, you’ll be thinking about it for weeks on end!

The lasting impact of Misery on popular culture is incredible, considering it’s been over thirty years since it was first released. Annie Wilkes is a movie psycho that everyone knows and with superfan culture still going on, there are references to this character being made all the time. That’s how good this character and this film are.

So, whether you’ve read the book, watched the film, or both, you’ll know never to trust a random nurse in the woods that’s saved you from a car crash. It’s a niche life lesson, but you never know…