- Stephen King praises the extended cut of Needful Things, calling it “amazingly good” and saying it “blew me away.” He believes it makes sense of everything the theatrical version missed out on.
- The extended cut of Needful Things is 191 minutes long and is now available on Blu-ray. It was originally created for a four-hour time slot on TBS in the 1990s.
- While the extended cut fleshes out characters and situations, some argue that it doesn’t improve upon the theatrical cut’s uncertain tone. However, with the success of longer-form King adaptations, a longer take on Needful Things could capture the book’s gothic thrills and dark humor.
Stephen King praises the recently-resurfaced extended cut of one of his book adaptations, saying “it blew me away.” Released in 1993, the darkly comic horror film Needful Things failed to impress critics, and enjoyed an underwhelming box office run, grossing just $15.2 million. This relatively-maligned, financially-unsuccessful King adaptation has enjoyed an interesting second life, however. Legendarily, a 3-hour cut of the film was shown on cable TV a few times over the years, then disappeared (outside the pirate world) until being released in 2020 in standard definition as an extra on a German Blu-ray package. Finally in 2023, the “lost” TV cut arrived in up-scaled HD thanks to Kino Lorber, on a packed edition including the original theatrical version in 4K.
Among the admirers of Kino Lorber’s efforts to resurrect the long-lost Needful Things TV cut is the original book’s author himself, as King took to Twitter to praise the extended version, while taking a minor shot at the original much-shorter theatrical cut. Check out what King had to say below:
The uncut version of NEEDFUL THINGS (I believe only available on DVD) is amazingly good–it makes sense of everything the theatrical version chintzed on. 187 minutes long. Blew me away. Also nice to see Ed Harris playing an unadulterated good guy.
Needful Things Is Ripe For A TV Remake
The extended cut of Needful Things (which, contrary to what is stated in King’s tweet, is actually 191 minutes long and, again, is available now on Blu-ray) only exists because, back in the 1990s, TBS ordered a longer version of the movie to run in a four-hour time-slot (King miniseries were of course hugely popular at the time). The restored footage, added back by original director Fraser C. Heston (who is on-record as preferring the theatrical cut), fleshes out many of the film’s characters and situations, allowing for a more effective build-up as the mysterious main villain Leland Gaunt unleashes his particular brand of supernatural horror upon the town of Castle Rock and its many needy denizens.
Ed Harris’ Needful Things character Alan Pangborn also appears in the movie The Dark Half and the show Castle Rock, played by Michael Rooker and Scott Glenn respectively.
What the extended Needful Things arguably doesn’t deliver, however, is an improvement upon the theatrical cut’s real problem: an uncertain tone. It can in fact be argued that the extra footage only adds to the movie’s problems in locking down whether it wants to be a horror movie or a black comedy. Given the popularity of longer-form King adaptations on cable and streaming (The Outsider, Castle Rock and The Stand being just a few recent examples), an even longer take on Needful Things could truly nail the book’s unique blend of gothic thrills and dark humor, and perhaps blow King’s mind even more.
Source: Stephen King/Twitter