Monday, January 16, 2012

NEEDFUL THINGS (1993)

Very watered down version of Stephen King's classic novel about an elderly gentleman, Leland Gaunt, who opens a mysterious antique shop in the quiet town of Castle Rock, Maine. Sounds innocent enough except Leland Gaunt is actually a ancient and sinister creature who sells more than antiques. What he sells are people's secret desires and he doesn't accept money, instead he only accepts deeds and in this way he slowly turns all of the people in Castle Rock against each other. In the book there's much, much more going on but in this slimmed down movie version it's pretty cut and dry. It is nice seeing the town of Castle Rock brought to life, but there is just so much missing that honestly I wish they had never even made this movie. It would have been better off as a one season TV series on HBO. I did go through the trouble of finding and purchasing the three hour version and it is better, but the picture is so goddamn dreadful that I couldn't even watch it all (screenshots below).

If you've never read the book and you have no intention of reading the book, then I guess this movie version is entertaining enough, but the violence is weak and the whole thing just seems like a smaller version of something much bigger. I can't recommend it.  The only bright spot is Max von Sydow as Leland Gaunt.  He's excellent. Read the book and just forget this movie even exists.

Three hour version screenshots: