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Needful Things

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fraser C. Heston
Produced by Jack Cummins
Written by Novel:
Stephen King
W.D. Richter
Starring Max von Sydow
Ed Harris
Bonnie Bedelia
J. T. Walsh
and Amanda Plummer
as 'Nettie'
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography Tony Westman
Editing by Rob Kobrin
Studio Castle Rock Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) 1993
Running time 120 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget Unknown
Gross revenue $15,185,672 (USA)

Needful Things is the 1993 film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name directed by Fraser C. Heston, the son of actor Charlton Heston. The film starred Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, and Bonnie Bedelia.


Plot summary

A mysterious proprietor named Leland Gaunt, claiming to be from Akron, Ohio,[1] opens a new antiques store called 'Needful Things' in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine. The store sells various items of great personal worth to the residents (some of which, like a pendant that eases pain or a toy which predicts the outcome of horse races, are clearly supernatural), and Gaunt demands payment both in cash and in small "favors," usually pranks played by his customers on their neighbors. Gaunt seems to have an innate knowledge of the townspeople and their history, and the pranks exploit their previous rivalries and prejudices, causing them to attack each other.

When the normally peaceful townsfolk begin to commit acts of violence and murder, Sheriff Alan Pangborn investigates Gaunt and becomes convinced his machinations are the source of the unrest. Meanwhile, Gaunt is revealed to be the Devil, traveling from place to place manipulating people into destroying themselves. Acting primarily through a corrupted boat salesman and gambler named Danforth Keeton, Gaunt succeeds in sparking a riot in the town square.

Pangborn manages to stop the violence before the town destroys itself and the townspeople admit their pranks, exposing Gaunt's web of manipulation. Keeton, despondent at the death of his wife earlier in the film, blows up Needful Things with Gaunt inside. Defeated, Gaunt emerges completely unharmed - as he cannot be - from the burning wreckage of his store, predicts he will encounter Pangborn's grandson in 2053, exclaims "Bob will be his name", and departs, presumably to continue his vicious, evil work.



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