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Needful Things [VHS]


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Product details

  • Actors: Ed Harris, Max von Sydow, J. T. Walsh, Bonnie Bedelia, Amanda Plummer
  • Directors: Fraser Heston
  • Producers: Jack Cummins
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Universal
  • VHS Release Date: 8 Jun 1998
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R6O7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,259 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Newly arrived and seemingly kindly antique shop owner Gaunt (Max von Sydow) has the strange talent of finding the perfect present for each of Castle Rock's quiet townsfolk. However, Gaunt does not want any money in return - instead he asks a small favour from each of them. These favours start off as pranks, but gradually increase in their nastiness. Sheriff Panghorn (Ed Harris) resists the sinister Gaunt, even while he is working his evil persuasive charm on Panghorn's girlfriend.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. mackie on 12 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
this is a great little film with some really good performances (max von sydow in particular)and is well worth watching. be warned however, if you have read the book and think it is great, the film is not as good. they never are.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. R. North on 24 April 2006
Format: DVD
This is a good Stephen King film although not one of his best.

The film is about a store which opens in the town of Castle Rock and the strange owner who sells the residents things that they think they need. In return he persuades them to perform pranks on their fellow residents which have deadly consequences. The story then battles good over evil with the sheriff trying to save the day.

This film is definately worth a look but it's probably better to rent than buy first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Benminx on 5 Aug 2010
Format: DVD
This is an odd mish-mash of ideas that fail to gel into a workable horror, or a thriller. When the mysterious Leland Gaunt arrives in town and opens a store, terrible things start to happen, and it doesn't take long for Ed Harris' sheriff to realise that he's at the heart of it all.
Gaunt is played well by Max Von Sydow, and Ed Harris is good too, but everyone else appears to believe they're in some kind of absurdist comedy and overacts to a ridiculous degree. The kind of petty fueding and comedy outrage protrayed here totally undermines any undercurrent of sinister goings on, with the whole town soon acting like petty whiny children with grudges and tantrums to match, and while it's a clever plot device, it would take a far better script and director to pull it off and make it feel scary - here it's so badly botched that it's highly irritating that so many good actors have been put to such bad use.
The few scary moments are wasted amongst the misjudged pantomime comedy and over-acting, which clash badly with good performances like Harris'.
The film does provide entertainment, but it's a failure as a horror movie, or even a suspense thriller. There are standout moments of tension which could have made it very disturbing, such as one sequence with a local tearaway teenager, but they are again badly mis-handled so that all tension or horror is wasted.
It's peculiar that this is such a misfire, unsure whether it wants to be a comedy or a satire or a horror, but that's symptomatic of so many horrors filmed in the early nineties: too keen for profit not to make the film, but too afraid of violence or criticism to put any 'horror' in the horror films.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gav.76 on 28 Dec 2009
Format: DVD
I think this has recieved some very unjust reviews on here. When the novel "Needful Things" was first published I ran out to waterstones, and had read it within a few days. I thought it was sheer brilliance by Mr King, yet again! The characters were so detailed and the plot enthralled me. If I had to create a list of my top 5 S.K novels right now I'm positive "Needful Things" would be in there. Now to the movie...I think it's better than whats made out on here so far. Of course, the movies are NEVER going to live up to the material's origin (except,IMHO Carrie, Cujo, Delores Claiborne and The Green Mile came pretty close!)

Being such a large novel with so many characters, it would be impossible to cram all that into a 2 hour movie (maybe there will be a TV adaption made someday, as they did with Carrie, the Shining and The Stand to incorporate every detail), but as a movie I think they did a pretty good job with what they could. The 'battle' between Wilma and Nettie is pure excellent and I think captured the scene pretty well compared to the book (using Ave Maria as the music was a brilliant choice,as it feels more an act of sadness than horror to me).

Of course they missed out a lot, especially the relationship between Polly and Alan. Maybe it's gonna be one of them 'hate it or love it' kinda movies, but I gotta say I wasn't dissapointed. It's better than some SK adaptions out there anyways.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By The Beast on 16 Jun 2007
Format: DVD
The devil in disguise comes to a quiet, peaceful town and opens a store called Needful Things. The store has an item for everyone in town. All the devil asks for in return is a few dirty pranks. Little do they know, that they've sold their souls, and the pranks escalate to murder

Wow! this film was really good. Not all Stephen King films are scary but this one is pretty creepy. I would recommend this to anyone that likes horrors and thrillers.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Edge on 5 Jun 2007
Format: DVD
This is one of my favorite films, not least because of the intelligence with which it is brought to the screen, and also I love Max von Sydow as, well, his character. Throughout the film he has a radiant menace which climaxes at the grim finale to reveal his malevolent nature. I really feel he enjoys playing this part; although he is the only actor to have played both God and the Devil. As a story, its predictable, simply because some of the things that occur simply have to happen, like the good sheriff standing up at the end to restore sanity, but this is forgotten when one sees the panache with which it is achieved.

I maintain this is an excellent King adaptation, one of the best indeed, well worth buying. The only problem is the blasted lack of a British DVD version; we want a Region 2 copy Dam it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Hopgood on 30 Aug 2003
Format: VHS Tape
On reading the book which is one of King's very best it is clear to see that the film has considerable potential which isn't quite met. However it is a great effort with a great performance from Max Von Sydow (Leland Gaunt). It tells the story of a new shopkeeper who comes into town and opens a shop that has something for everyone. However Gaunt is not as nice as he seems and has an alterear motive and begins an evil mission against the town. A fantastic film which is thoroughly entertainig but not as scary as the book.
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