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The Stephen King Thriller Reference You Missed In Hulu's Run

Some people are just caregivers by nature — and if they don't have an object for their attention, they'll make one, willing or not. Frantic, doting mother Diane Sherman, played by Sarah Paulson in Hulu's 2020 thriller Run, will stop at nothing to make sure her daughter Chloe has all the care she needs in the face of a smorgasbord of illnesses, from paralysis to diabetes to asthma. Diane shares this intense drive to attend to the person she loves most with another iconic woman from thriller history: Annie Wilkes in the 1990 film adaptation of Stephen King's novel Misery, whose 30th anniversary passed just days after Run was released. A subtle Easter egg in Run makes the connection between the stories stronger still.

Rob Reiner directs Kathy Bates in Misery as an unhinged former nurse, a stunning performance for which the actress won the only Oscar ever awarded to a film based on one of King's works (via MSN). The character, Annie Wilkes, is obsessed with the work of romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who suffers a car accident during a blizzard and awakens to find himself in the care of none other than his number one fan, who lives in the remote region of Colorado where his car went off the road. 

If this sounds like an interesting premise, take care reading on: Spoilers for both Misery and Run may follow.

A 'Run' Easter egg pays subtle homage to the iconic caregiver-captor

Annie's nursing background and personal investment would ideally make her the perfect person to nurse Paul back to health. Instead, she holds him captive, forcing him to write her new manuscripts. After an escape attempt, she drugs him and breaks his ankles to keep him under her watchful eye. Because she cares.

Does the act of drugging and crippling someone in the name of devotion sound familiar? Chloe's paralysis in Run is actually an effect of the canine muscle relaxant Diane has been feeding her for years. The misguided mother keeps her daughter sick because, to an apparent sufferer of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy like Diane, it means keeping her safe.

Where does Diane get this medication? From a pharmacist whose full name we learn, if we piece together multiple moments, is Kathy Bates.

In an interview with SlashFilm, Run director Aneesh Chaganty confirmed the homage to the Misery actress. Both Bates are healthcare professionals in caregiver-gone-wrong tales, and Misery itself is one of the "classic" thrillers that Chaganty cited as generic inspiration, according to Forbes. There's another nod to King's influence when Chloe dials 411 in a panicked attempt to unearth the identity of her medication: The automated message prompts her to provide a city and state and gives the example, "Derry, Maine," the infamous fictional location of It and multiple other stories.

These tributes were well-received: King loved the film. You can stream it on Hulu now to explore those Easter eggs and determine whether you agree.