"Everybody is insane, everywhere!"
Description: Life-lesson learned by Sheriff Alan J. Pangborn (Ed Harris) in the Stephen King horror flick Needful Things (1993).
You've heard about the one where "the Devil went down to Georgia, looking for a few souls to steal?" Well, in this tale, the Devil, in the guise of Leland Gaunt (Max Von Sydow), a tall, slender, affable fellow from Akron, Ohio travels to the New England town of Castlerock, Maine and opens Needful Things, an antique store that always has what the customer needs, like a healing amulet that eases the pain of an arthritic woman, or a toy that predicts the winner of horse races for a gambler, or a prized baseball card for a young boy.
When a person finds something they like, Leland sometimes accepts money for the item, or he will ask the buyer to do little favors. The favors are seemingly innocent pranks to be pulled on others in the community - pranks that inevitably insight the locals to murder.
Of course, the murders are no surprise to Leland because he knows all of the hot buttons and deep desires of everyone in town and so he sits back and watches as the community dissolves in to madness and death.
"When I started out I was just a peddler moving across the blind face of a distant land. Moving, always moving. Always gone... and in the end I'd always offer weapons. And they'd always take them. Of course I was gone before they realized what they'd purchased." - Leland Gaunt
With each purchase of an object from the Needful Things antique store, more crime and mayhem occurs, leaving newcomer Sheriff Alan Pangborn and his deputy to clean up the mess and make sense of what the HELL is going on.
“You know, guys, I moved here and I thought, ‘Great! I’m outta the big city and I’m finally in a place where everybody isn’t gonna be crawling up everybody’s asshole every day! A place where maybe my biggest nightmare is gonna be getting some goddamn cat out of a tree!’ But forget that! Everybody is insane, everywhere!” - Sheriff Alan Pangborn
When Father Meehen's church is blown up, he shouts, "If there's a devil in this town, it's that damned Reverend Willie Rose!" Sheriff Pangborn replies, "You believe me now, Father? You still think he's (Leland) is a decent man? The Devil just blew up your damn church!" To which Father Meehan answers, "That's not the Devil. It's those God-damned Baptists!"
As the town goes crazier, Leland says, "Oh yes, we're having fun now." and urges the Sheriff to shoot rioting citizens. " SHOOT THEM!" he cries. "Kill them all. Let God sort them out," but instead, Sheriff Alan Pangborn fires his pistol in the air. Disappointed, Leland says, "Oh, You Wussy!"
|Nettie Cobb:||You killed my doggy, you bitch!|
|Wilma:||You broke my microwave, you crazy fuck!|
At the culmination of all the destruction, a citizen bombs the Needful Things shop, but Leland Gaunt exits unscathed from the burning wreckage proving the old adage that you can't keep a good man (or Devil) down.
With the town destroyed and no more souls to corrupt, Leland packs up his bags and drives away in the same supernatural black Mercedes-Benz limousine that brought him to Castlerock. But before he goes, he leaves a parting remark to the town Sheriff.
"Oh. You know, there are days I really hate this job. This is not my best work, not by a long shot. Oh, sure, a few murders and a couple of rather lovely explosions. I would hardly call it a rousing success, but what the hell? I'll be back. In the meantime, you and Polly, you are two terrific kids, and you'll marry her. Trust me. She's a lovely girl, Alan. You'll have a wonderful family. Oh, by the way, give my regards to your grandson. Bob will be his name, International Trade his game. I'll see him in Jakarta, 2053. August 14th. 10a.m. A nice, sunny day. We'll make headlines." - Leland Gaunt