‘Buy now. Pay later.’
Needful Things is a 1993 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name directed by Fraser C. Heston, the son of actor Charlton Heston. The movie stars Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, and J. T. Walsh.
A mysterious proprietor named Leland Gaunt, claiming to be from Akron, Ohio, opens a new antique 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 “favours,” usually pranks played by his customers on their neighbours.
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 that his machinations are the source of the unrest…
‘Little more than an EC Comics-style morality tale about the greedy getting their comeuppance, but the director [Fraser C. Heston] has a strong eye for visual detail and expansive composition’. Time Out