The Stephen King film adaptation “Needful Things – In a Small Town” has fallen into oblivion. Wrongly, because the horror story from 1993 can boast of acting.
With the over 700-page novel “Needful Things – In a small town” Stephen King has his legendary 1991 Castle-Rock cycle ended (for the time being), which also includes works such as “Stand By Me – The Secret of a Summer”, “The Dead Zone”, “Stark – The Dark Half” and “The Game”. The book, in which King once again shattered the deceptive facade of small-town America, ranks among the supporters of the Master Of Horror among the absolute favorites.
So what could not be missing? Right, the corresponding film adaptation. With “Needful Things” it was only two years away and could shine with a well-known cast around Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, JT Walsh, Amanda Plummer, and Bonnie Bedelia. Nevertheless, the horror piece fell into oblivion – wrongly. If you are interested in the film, you can see it today, April 8th, from 11:50 p.m. on Tele 5.
By the way: If you want to get “Needful Things” for your home collection, you should grab the shapely Mediabook edition from Koch Media. Not only the regular theatrical version (115 minutes) is available here, but also the American TV version, which has a running time of 180 minutes and does the original even more justice in the details:
That’s what “Needful Things” is about
The tranquil small town of Castle Rock in Maine is the ideal location for the mysterious Leland Gaunt’s (Max von Sydow) new business. The shop, which bears the name “The Useful Things”, stocks exactly the items in its range that the residents have been looking for all their lives. And customers don’t even have to put money on the counter for that!
Instead, the opaque shopkeeper demands some evil pranks from them. The locals have no idea that none other than the devil incarnate has mingled with them and is pursuing a malicious plan with the evil jokes that are throwing the small town into chaos. The acts of violence among the residents are escalating and the first fatalities are to be mourned…
Stephen King conjures up the devil
Even if “Needful Things” can’t evoke the original’s unbridled urge to destroy, director Fraser Clarke Heston (“The Crucifer Of Blood”) and his screenwriter WD Richter (“The Body Eaters Are Coming”) manage to do it extremely atmospherically, a depressing feeling for the questionable ones states within Castle build rock. Something is very wrong in this backcountry town – and the mysterious Leland Gaunt will ensure that the people here quickly show their true colors.
In my opinion, it is also Leland Gaunt aka Max von Sydow who makes “Needful Things” such a special film experience. The eerie presence of the veteran Ingmar Bergman dominates every scene – even when the gaunt man is not in the picture. With his devilish aura, Max von Sydow can grab the film straight away and effortlessly outplays Ed Harris and Co, who perform well but are fed up with relatively one-dimensional characters. Max von Sydow is one of the most fitting Stephen King casts ever.
In addition, the small-town Armageddon pleases as a mystical as well as a mythological reckoning with the human being. Leland Gaunt, who once even made the acquaintance of a certain Zimmermann from Nazareth, is not only a seducer and manipulator but also a real Deathbringer. He pushes people to the extreme and thus holds up the mirror to them. A very classic Stephen King story, which for me was adapted here in an exciting and worth seeing way.