YMMV / Needful Things

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: As per Gaunt's very strange conversation with Myra Rusk, "Oral sex gives me amnesia."
  • Complete Monster: Leland Gaunt is a very different kind of a monster villain, a genial and well-spoken owner of a little novelty shop that just happens to have your heart's greatest desire in stock, which he's willing to sell it to you for a paltry sum and a little favor, a harmless prank to play on your neighbor. What you don't know is that your "needful thing" is in fact a malevolent charm that will make you paranoid and obsessed over it and drive you into murderous insanity, and all the harmless little pranks are designed to thrive on old grudges and insecurities, exploit all the dirty secrets your neighbors (and you) have and stir up all the incipient feuds, turning people against each other until your whole town tears itself apart with weapons that Mr. Gaunt helpfully supplies. And not only that, but the "needful thing" has only been glamoured to look like one, and it's just as likely to be a cheap piece of crap. Even if you're spared by the slaughter and general madness, it is only so you could realize that you're partially responsible for it and kill yourself. And Mr. Gaunt will just stand there at the window of his little shop, savouring chaos and death, like he'd done countless times before all across the world. He even muses to himself that all this is entirely just because It Amused Me, having grown out of any real reason for doing anything over his long life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • At one point, Gaunt converses with Sonny Jackett, a racist mechanic who also hates Republicans. He expresses doubt that the Democrats can nominate anyone who can defeat George Bush, yet he is also terrified at the thought of having a black man as President, or a "jig in the White House - the White House!" as he puts it. The story takes place in October 1991. Bill Clinton officially announced his presidential campaign on October 3, 1991. And 15 years later, on February 10, 2007, Barack Obama officially announced his presidential campaign.
    • There are several references to the sorry state of the New England Patriots at the time, including a character specifically bemoaning their quarterback. Later, Tom Brady would lead the team on one of the biggest success runs in the sport's history.
    • The book features the return of Ace Merril after Kiefer Sutherland played him in Stand by Me, and he's described as an overweight has-been in his late 40s. Sutherland himself was very far from that description at that age.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It is completely impossible to like Mr. Gaunt at all once eleven year old Brian Rusk kills himself and Gaunt takes note of it with pleasure.
  • Narm: Brian Rusk's last scene in the movie is unfortunately chock-full of this. "I gotta go... I gotta go TO HELL!"
  • Nausea Fuel: At one point, Gaunt prepares to eat a rat caught in a trap, driving a thumbnail into its belly and letting the intestines ooze out.
    • The fight between Wilma and Nettie is drawn out in excruciatingly gory detail but narrated in a fairly bored tone.
    • The sex scenes between Elvis Presley and two fat middle-aged housewives.
  • The Woobie: Netitia "Nettie" Cobb in both the book and the movie. Myrtle Keeton is a book-only version.
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