The Evil is not vanquished, it gets what it wants and the small tight-knit community acts to save it's own collective hide. The damnable thing is that I don't necessarily see what they did was wrong and I'm not sure what I would do in a similar situation. They were put into a real quandary and there was no help from the White Light District. Kind of a supernatural "Sophie's Choice".
that there was another way, but human nature is venal and selfish, and won't go the sacrificial distance it takes to find that hidden other way... I'll bet Stephen had one in mind the whole time, you just never see it played out in the story.
And I have the screenplay as it was released in book form myself, soft-cover ....
I think the whole thing was to test the people, most particularly Mike. Linoge makes a point of jabbing at him for being a 'good boy', even in trying times. Mike brings up Job, too. I have no doubt that everything Linoge said was true, and that he would have killed the whole town, had they refused him. Mike's point is still valid: selling a child to a demon damned them all, and better dead than that.
I absolutely love this movie--we're watching it again yesterday and today
I've got it on DVD ..... love it too ... I'm still of an impression that there was a way to beat him, a costly way, but one that might not actually have involved the destruction of the entire town .... even Needful Things didn't truly end with the absolute destruction of Castle Rock, the will to rebuild had simply been sucked out of it's citizens ...
I guess only Mr. King knows for sure. I think it works best as a morality play (which it certainly is) if there is no way to win when you deal with the devil. They thought they won, but it destroyed them anyway. Even Mike, who refused to play, is hurt (and I completely think that was Linoge's end game, anyway). No way to win when you try to justify doing wrong by a prospective end result. Mr. King tells us that over and over and over. He believes in good and in evil, and his characters often have to make a choice which one to follow.