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Needful Things [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, Amanda Plummer, J.T. Walsh
  • Directors: Fraser Clarke Heston
  • Writers: Stephen King, W.D. Richter
  • Producers: Gordon Mark, Jack Cummins, Peter Yates
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home E
  • VHS Release Date: February 23, 1994
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WM2C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,044 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Satan opens an antique shop in a small town and lures the residents into evil actions in this supernatural chiller. Based on a novel by the prolific Stephen King, the film bears many of the author's trademarks, such as the New England setting and the focus on regular people tempted by the forces of supernatural evil. Here, the enticements toward bad behavior comes from the "Needful Things" shop, owned by new resident Leland Gaunt (Max von Sydow). Gaunt's shop offers an odd collection of goods, each of which happens to be the object of desire of a local resident. Instead of money, however, Gaunt demands that townspeople perform a series of simple pranks. He has a plan, and these actions escalate until the town is at violent war with itself. The residents are brought to life by a talented cast, led by von Sydow's suave devil and including Ed Harris as the local sheriff, J.T. Walsh as a corrupt politician, and Amanda Plummer as a seemingly innocent baker. ...Needful Things

Customer Reviews

It is a well made movie with very good actors.
Amazon Customer
That's the version I'd really like to own, even though I just got it on DVD, I am willing to buy it one last time, with all extra scenes restored.
Tony's reviews
I admit I haven't read the book Needful Things, but this movie just seems like its missing something.
Larry L. Chalfant, Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Littlefield on September 27, 2004
Format: DVD
I have seen two versions of "Needful Things" the regular theatrical cut which runs at about 113 minutes and the extended edition that used to play on TNT (which is actually better) that has a running time of about 175 minutes, the full program with commercials was about 4 hours long.

Where this version fails is that the character development is rushed and they focus more on the "deeds" than what the book does. The novel itself is very excellent and the first part allows the characters to be developed. Part two of the novel is left to the "deeds" and part three focuses on the chaos that results and the aftermath.

However, in the movie, the "deeds" and the chaos and not on the characters nor the aftermath. I think that "Needful Things" could be put on film, as long as it's a three part miniseries and not just one movie.

However, this film does have some good things about it, the main good thing is Max von Syndow's performance (although when I read the book I imagined someone like Christopher Lee). Another good thing is how accurate to the book that the "deeds" were carried out.

Some may say that this is the worst Stephen King adaptation, but I can think of a couple that are worse: Dreamcatcher, Graveyard Shift, Thinner, and Tommyknockers. This one, is only fifth worse.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. Daneker on September 20, 2007
Format: DVD
There's at least a 3hr version of this film, most likely longer, it aired on television and cable, at 4rhs with commercials and with the R rated material edited.

This version is okay, but it's cut down to the bare bones of the plot(s) for time and space. The longer version has never been seen on video, but we can hope!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Grant Gooding on July 6, 2001
Format: DVD
The original Needful Things was an hour longer than it appears on this DVD. Also, there is no widescreen version that is produced. This is probably the best adaptation of a Stephen King book ever brought to film, but it has not yet been deemed profitable enough to put any effort into the produciton of the DVD. The movie itself is superb (for its genre), 3 and 1/2 stars easy. However, this is one of the most shoddily made DVDs that I have ever seen. It is simply not worth buying.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie, based on the novel by Stephen King, has such a great premise. Its underlying tones focus on the greed and self-love we all have in ourselves, and how the devil can prey on our every weekness, with something as simple as a baseball card. It fails however, in chopping up the novel, and deleting many scenes that could have made this a very important movie. If you can, watch the 3 hour directors cut that aired on TBS, which has more charcters (including Cora Rusk) and in which the sellings of leland gaunt are spanned throughout the whole movie, instead of just in the first half. Great performances all around (JT walsh a bit over the top), while Amanda Plummer shines and chills as the victim Nettie Cobb, who participates in one of the best cat-fights I have ever seen!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By LUCIEN LESSARD on March 3, 2000
Format: DVD
In the first month of 2000. I saw the Director`s Cut of the film adding one hour of additonal footage, it had one character, we saw her in the 120 mins version needful things, but only briefly as Brain Rusk Mother played by Lisa Blount as Cora Rusk. Inculding a different opening, a car chased scene with Ed Harris and Max Von Sydow. For sure they cut a few gory scenes but is worth it waiting for a Widescreen Director`s Cut on DVD, also i wish, they add Audio Commentary, that will be great for a Stephen King Fan. Who Knows, they show it on television. I seen it on TBS SuperStation. That Version earn 4½ Stars Or maybe Five Stars, if i seen it again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on October 25, 2002
Format: DVD
Like a great many of the DVDs MGM seems to be putting out, this is a fairly empty little disc. As far as special features you get a trailer and... that's it. Not even (at least, in the package I got) the standard insert with the names of the chapter breaks. Pathetic.
The movie itself is... just okay. Max Von Sydow turns in a good performance as Leland Gaunt, the chilling shopkeeper who is more than he appears, Ed Harris is pretty much always good and makes for a good cop caught up in circumstances beyond his control. For about the first two-third of the movie, in fact, the story follows the book in a quite satisfying fashion.
For about the first two-thirds.
Hollywood seems so intent on changing the endings of Stephen King's books when they make them into movies, and I have yet to see an improvement. I am in the minority of people who hates Stanley Kubrick's version of "The Shining" because of how he takes a story about redemption and makes it bleak and hopeless. I have almost the opposite complaint here -- the filmmakers took an ending that was satisfyingly dark and made it uncharacteristically upbeat and chipper. It just didn't work.
The movie is mildly entertaining, worth a rental if you're a King fan, certainly worth catching on cable -- but as for the DVD, I can't recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Von Rochester on June 28, 2012
Format: DVD
I saw this movie when it was first released in '93 and again recently and I liked it both times. Like all Stephen King films based on his books, "Needful Things" takes place in a small town and has a cartooney air.

What would happen if the devil literally came to town? In this case it's a small New England coastal village (shot in British Columbia). Ed Harris plays the main protagonist while Bonnie Bedelia plays his girlfriend, and Max Von Sydow plays the mysterious shopkeeper who comes to down and causes havoc by selling the villagers their most deepest desires for the price of a "deed."

So, what would happen if the devil came to town? Would he make it a paradise? A fun hedonistic haven? Not bloody likely.

Since the movie utilizes Christian themes I'll consider it from that perspective for the sake of reviewing. According to the Bible, the blessing of the Lord produces the qualities of the Garden of Eden, that is, paradise, which is why it says that the kindgom of heaven is a matter of righteousness, peace, joy and power. By contrast, the devil's kingdom produces un-righteousness, strife, war, anxiety, depression, misery, bondage and helplessness.

The fictitional town of Castle Rock was a veritable haven before Leland Gaunt (Sydow) came to town. Sure, there were the typical petty dislikes and rivalries, etc. but, generally speaking, it was a nice place to live, a small coastal paradise, which is what motivated the Ed Harris character to live there. Of course, Gaunt is intent on changing all this.

I just find it interesting the way the new shopkeeper slowly turns the town into a literal living hell. He utilizes the people's petty dislikes, paranoias and jealousies against them.

"Needful Things" may not be great and it's definitely not scary, but it's effective in a theological sense as a creepy Satanic take-over through simple manipulation of human nature.
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Topic From this Discussion
extended version/director's cut
I don't know and I'm still waiting. But hey, it took them forever and a day to finally release the extended Dune on dvd. More patience on our parts? Hope springs eternal.
Mar 12, 2012 by K. DeV |  See all 2 posts
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