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In contrary to the previous comment, I have to say this was a great
movie. Who would ever come up with an idea that ice cream would be the
instrument for our doom? What person would ever come up with tricking
his parents that he was eating it, but he was actually eating shaving
cream? When I was a child, after watching this movie, I had the mad
rush of curiosity and tried it myself..Yuck!
Anyway finally, where else can we find great horror, suspense with humor without the hell of CGI?;) This is why I love 80's movies so much and I highly recommend it for a Friday night with pizza.
A workman discovers some mushy white foam at an petroleum refinery in
Alaska, and he gets the urge to try it and surprisingly it's tastes
really good. Soon enough, it's a top-selling American dessert product
known as "The Stuff" and everyone just can't seem to get enough of it.
Industrial saboteur Moe Rutherford is hired by some rival companies to
dig up information on "The Stuff" and he learns that it strangely got
by FDA tests with those who passed it disappearing. Moe with the help
of Nicole the advertising designer for 'The Stuff ' and a young boy
Jason, whose family became obsessed with the deadly substance. Discover
that the addictive dessert is actually alive and taking over the body
of whoever eats it.
Yummy! For those looking for some tasty schlock that's low in calories and is a complete throwback to 1950's Sci-Fi horror. Larry Cohen's "The Stuff" definitely leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. Despite it's familiarity with the likes of "The Blob" and "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers", the neat premise still manages to feel fresh, sharp and ambitious, because of the unpretentious fun that's generated. All of this shows up in Cohen's enthusiastically accomplished direction and ace timing, where his off-the-rocker style shines immensely. Like most of his films, the playfully witty script digs deep into a social commentary and the flavour of the month happened to be consumerism and it's grip on society. The irony suggested ending, paints it perfectly. Not all of it is light and goofball in tone, as there are some dark, moody and gooey inclusions to the fold. There's a heavy cartoon-like atmosphere cooked up within a few striking images of creepiness and the deliciously campy special effects are well staged for such a low-budget production. Pacing is judge accordingly to pull you in. Cinematographer Paul Gickleman fluidly shot the film and the lively music score by Dwight Dixon ticks along fittingly. Cohen also pens the colourful story, which is terribly fractured with vagueness and continuity problems, but it's quirky maniac humour, zany developments with a surprise or two and satire frame of mind goes a long way to covering that problem up. The fruity performances are acceptably apt to what's happening on screen. The always interesting performer Michael Moriarty is wickedly good as the smarting, downbeat industrial spy Moe Rutherford. Paul Sorvino provides some amusing comic relief as an high strung, off-the-boil right-wing Colonel. Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Danny O'Neal, Patrick O'Neal, Scott Bloom and Cohen regular James Dixon give splendid support too.
Even with some lapses within the story (due to probably the editing) and it being one of his lesser features, it's hard not to be infatuated by Cohen's outrageously delightful and creative treat for the taste buds.
It came from beneath the ground. The Stuff. It's the new dairy craze
that turns it's addicted victims into mutating zombies. The movie is
about three people attempting to get to The Stuff before it gets to
The Stuff is a metaphor for drug smuggling/drug addictions, which is obviously evident from the ending. Although, it could be read as metaphorical of any kind of destructive addiction, really. It could also be held as a metaphor of products liability and the lengths companies will go to rack up profits, even in the face of defective products.
The Stuff, starring Michael Miarity, Paul Sorvino, and those gorgeous Bloom Brothers, is actually not quite as ridiculous as a glance at the box might lead one to believe. In fact, it's actually a rather funny zombie-like tale with Michael Miarity as Moe "why do they call me Mo? Because when people give me money I always ask for Mo!" as he repeatedly jokes to his frustrated associates. Moe is the guy sent to find out what The Stuff is by competitor's wishing to jump on the market. But, Moe figures out much more than that. Hence, his mission to try to get rid of it.
Paul Sorvino, always a terrific actor, is funny as the overzealous army commander trying too hard to maintain his position as leader of this coup against that lovable dairy treat.
What's more is that the special effects, which in my book are about 80% of a horror film, were, much to my surprise, pretty damned good. In fact, I was actually surprised by the whole thing really, and actually came to enjoy it.
If you enjoy The Stuff, perhaps you'll enjoy a 1994 Australian horror film of a similar nature entitled 'Body Melt.' Beware, however, that Body Melt is much weirder and tons more gross than the occurrences in The Stuff, if you'd call the Stuff gross at all.
The Stuff is another delightful horror film from the hand of Larry
Cohen and plays out something like a meeting between Invasion of the
Body Snatchers and The Blob. After seeing films like It's Alive and Q:
The Winged Serpent, the style and way that this film plays out doesn't
come as a surprise. Larry Cohen is a master of schlock horror, and I
definitely rate The Stuff as one of his best films! The film is
definitively eighties; the whole feel of The Stuff is very much
reminiscent of the trash decade and things such as the 'flash'
advertisements for the product at the centre of the film, as well as
the music help to ensure this. The story takes in ideas of greed and,
more importantly, consumerism as we follow a couple of miners who
discover a viscous white liquid emanating from the ground. The chances
of me tasting something that I'd just seen bubble out of the Earth are
nil, but these guys do and discover that it's actually very tasty! One
successful marketing campaign later and everyone is tucking into the
tasty new desert...but there's more to what people are calling 'The
Given that this is a silly horror film, its commentaries and themes are actually put across rather well. The audience is never allowed to take it completely seriously, but the way that the film builds up the scenario and sees everyone purchasing what the media has told them to buy is strangely haunting all on its own. Besides that, even themes in a film that can't really put them across appropriately is better than no themes at all, which shows Larry Cohen's talent for creative scriptwriting. The film is lead by Michael Moriarty, who worked with Cohen in Q and the third instalment of the It's Alive series and does a great job in this one. While his acting isn't very good, he's constantly amusing and actually has really good screen presence; I often found myself wanting to see him back on screen during the scenes he wasn't in. The special effects are typically silly; but far better and more believable than most CGI rubbish. The scenes that see people breaking apart are oddly frightening, and I've got to say that I loved the 'Blob' style scenes where The Stuff itself was on the rampage. On the whole, The Stuff might not do much for those who don't like schlock horror; but if you ask me, it's a great fun ride and I highly recommend it!
I LOVE this movie. I rented it in high school because the cover looked
like it was going to be total horror schlock. This of course was not
On the surface, it definitely satirizes American consumerism.... but after several discussions with my friends, we noticed something else. This movie also seems to be Cold War era anti-communist propaganda. The Stuff, seemingly innocent at first, possesses and adapts you as part of the machine to further its spread around the globe (just as we were told in the ages of the Red Scare, communists are everywhere, and you can't tell them apart from you or I, and they will try to CONVERT YOU). Before long, all the people are willing slaves of the Stuff machine (the Stuffies), and they seek out the few that aren't under the Stuff's grip to force them into becoming part of the hive mind. It takes the actions of a few patriotic Americans (in the form of the Georgia Militia) to conquer and defeat the Stuffies (the Communists hidden among us).
I highly suggest checking this movie out, as it really is a great film, regardless of whether you agree with my opinion of what the movie is about.
In this ultra-gross-and-proud-of-it B-movie, some people discover a
strange substance bubbling out of the ground. They taste it (yes, they
find something on the ground and just eat it!), like it, and decide to
start marketing it as The Stuff; it quickly becomes the most popular
food of all. But, sure enough, a detective (Michael Moriarty) hired by
the candy companies discovers that The Stuff turns people into obedient
zombies before completely dissolving their innards. So, only he, an
advertising executive (Andrea Marcovicci), and a boy (Scott Bloom) can
stop The Stuff from taking over the world.
A completely ridiculous idea? Absolutely. But one might interpret "The Stuff" as a parable about excessive consumerism brainwashing people into brand loyalty. There's also a scene in which Paul Sorvino's right-wing yahoo of a colonel claims that in the case of the Vietnam War, we lost the war at home (so it was perfectly OK to invade their country). But I mostly saw the movie as a 1980s time capsule. There's the over-synthesized music for the TV commercials, the impossibly polite suburban family, and more. Of course, most people into these kinds of movies will probably agree that the coolest scenes are when people spit The Stuff out after it dissolves them. Director Larry Cohen (who also directed the killer baby vehicle "It's Alive") pulls no punches.
All in all, this is quite a treat. Sort of an updated "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Also starring Danny Aiello and former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Garrett Morris.
The Stuff (1985) was a very interesting film from low budget film maker
Larry Cohen. A funny parody on American consumerism and the greed of
business. The movie is about two men who discover a strange kind of goo
that's resembles and taste a bit like yogurt. Except it has a few after
effects such as a strong crave for more "stuff" and a very nasty side
effect. One of the few films to feature Michael Moriarity(a Larry Cohen
favorite) in a lead role. Paul Sorvino steals the show as a leader of a
craze militia and Garrett Morris as a wannabe Uncle Amos.
I have to recommend this movie. It's very entertaining and a bit of fun for all. If you like fifties science fiction films and Larry Cohen's other work, this movie's just for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Our beloved horror friend Larry Cohen is in great shape again, as the writer and director of this delightful, tongue-in-cheek tale of madness named "The Stuff". With some imagination, the best way to describe this film is as: a demented version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" since it equally focuses on an (alien?) life force attempting to take over by eating humans from the inside. Only in Cohen's wicked fantasy, it is the dumb humans themselves who allow this to happen easily! When a strange kind of yummy liquid, seemly producing itself straight from the ground, is discovered in a remote industrial zone, it quickly becomes a popular and addictive dessert thanks to slick marketing campaigns and naive consumers. This tasty snack, however, has a mind of its own and the people who consume it undergo bizarre mental and physical transformations. The only form of revolt comes from a young kid and an unscrupulous ex-FBI agent turned industrial spy. With his light-headed and extremely entertaining scenario, Cohen simultaneously grabs the opportunity to criticize some typically American issues, like the Cold War, the consumer society and the dangerous influence of clever marketing boys. Personally, I think you can't but love Larry Cohen's work for the horror genre! You have to admit that the "evil" in his films aren't exactly your ordinary kind of monsters ("It's Alive" featured a murderous baby, "Q, the Winged Serpent" was a giant lizard living on rooftops etc ) and his unsubtle, chaotic sense of humor is just marvelous. It might be acquired taste, but I thought the right wing army (led by a brilliant Paul Sorvino) was a hilarious finding for this type of black comedy. The gore and special effects unfortunately weren't as outrageous as I thought they would be but there still definitely are a few great sequences for gorehounds to enjoy, like for example stretching mouths and exploding eyeballs. Michael Moriarty is splendid in the lead-role and some of his lines perfectly portray the tone of the film ("no one is as dumb as I appear"). "The Stuff" is a hugely enjoyable 80's quickie that'll certainly appeal to the numerous fans of undemanding horror. Along with Frank Hennenlotter, Larry Cohen might be considered the most creative horror director ever. I would pay big money to see a project of them two together!
Bounty hunter and TV advertiser team up together to discover what the
ingredients are in a popular junk food that is sweeping the country, called
The Stuff. However, they uncover a conspiracy in which the makers of The
Stuff know that their product is causing people to become mindless zombies.
Exciting and funny little Cohen film is a throwback to the horror films of
yesteryear, yet with all your usual Cohen trimmings, but much more solid
then usual with good special effects and an original premise. The cast is
excellent and the film has various cameo's planted throughout the film.
Rated R; Violence & Profanity.
Writer and director Larry Cohen does what he does best... we are
brought a story of real-life American values, twisted into horror to
tell us what we may already know but simply do not realize. Consumers
will buy anything that is popular, regardless of how awful it is. And
big business will sell anything for a profit even if it is harmful...
and pretty much no one will stop it.
As far as the story goes, it is a pretty good one: ice cream salesmen want to stop their rival, the maker of The Stuff. So they hire Mo Rutherford (Cohen regular Michael Moriarty), former FBI agent and current industrial spy. Even without the horror aspects (which borrow very heavily from "The Blob") or the social commentary, the story itself is pretty good and Moriarty (multiple award winner) is the same guy we have come to love from "It's Alive III" and "Q".
Actually, Moriarty's presence in Cohen's films is always something of a mystery for me. Moriarty, as many know, is also a very conservative commentator, sometimes even bordering on racism with his critique of the Muslim and Arab world. For such a pro-Republican opinion to act out a role that criticizes business (the Republican cornerstone) and the wealthy is seemingly contradictory. But maybe this is the proof of just how great his acting really is.
The special effects are pretty decent. A few scenes are cheesy, and you can tell shots are layered... but the hotel room scene (where they use the spinning room from "Nightmare on Elm Street") is awesome, and even in general you have to hand it to them for making a very lifelike creature from what looks to be nothing more than spoiled egg nog (but probably not as tasty).
Any Larry Cohen fan is going to like this, and even by mainstream horror standards it is pretty good. It is a b-movie, but not nearly as "b" as some of the films he pumps out. As I have said, underneath it all is just a retelling of "The Blob" (noticeably released before the remake with Shawnee Smith came out). I give it my endorsement. You used to be able to find cheap copies at Walgreens and I imagine it has not gone up in price much since then, so there is no reason not to have this in your collection between "American Beauty" and "Gone With the Wind".
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