If Misery loves company, it had plenty to be happy about at its Hollywood premiere last week. The film's stars, James Caan and Kathy Bates, were there. So were Kirstie Alley, Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin—all gleefully miserable.

"Very scary," appraised Alley. "I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to these things, so I did more than bite my knuckles—I peed in my pants." '

Fortunately, others handled the film's thrills less demonstratively. "I was biting my lip," said Carol Kane. Ed Begley Jr., admitting to no self-mutilation, pronounced it "brilliant beyond words."

The movie, based on Stephen King's novel about a romance novelist held hostage by a maniacal fan, marks director Rob Reiner's first entry into thrillers: he greeted first-nighters at the Westwood Village Theater with a joking "Welcome to the birth of what might be the Jewish Hitchcock." After the film, the crowd soothed jangled nerves with pasta, tacos and ice cream sundaes at the Beverly Hilton.

"I'm not anything like the monster in the movie," said Bates, who was a hit on Broadway in 'night, Mother. "It's a thrill having this happen." But co-star Caan was looking for a bigger thrill at the box office. "I'm going to go home now and pray," he announced.