I have been trying to find this movie for over the last 20yrs. Back in 1985, I saw the trailer for it on T.V. and it started out with an ice cream truck driving down the street. Some kids and adults gathered around the truck while the announcers stated that "The Stuff" was here. It's creamy, yummy and you can't get enough of it. Then it showed a man who had eaten about half his ice cream cone and the announcer changed his tone and said, "It will take you over, eat you and kill you." and the camera zooms up on the guys mouth, and you can see the creamy white "Stuff" eating away the inside of his mouth. Bleah!! It was pretty gross and freaked me out back then. Something like this would have 4-10yrs old running from their T.V. sets. Talk about setting up kids for nightmares.
I tried googling "parasite eating ice cream" to no avail, until one day on IMDb, I was looking up info on an old "Snuff" film from the 70's and saw "The Stuff" come up. Immediately, I knew this was the film. So I ran to the video store and was able to rent it.
Not only was this movie, not scary, but the acting and the comedic nature were even worse. To make a long story short, here is the premise. Two guys working at a petroleum factory stumble across a pool of white creamy stuff in the ground. One of the guys sticks his finger in it and tastes it. Now I don't know about you, buy any normal person would never taste anything coming out of the ground unless it was water from a Spring pool. Anyway, the guy who tastes it says it taste real good. So good in fact, that they decide to market it as a new kind of ice cream treat, even though it's "not" ice cream. Before you know it, it's the best thing since the hot dog and everyone is eaten the stuff in gallons. People who try it, can't stop eating it. This causes other tasty treats on the market to lose profits. Several snack food manufacturers come together and hire an investigator to find out where and how this "Stuff" is made. In comes David 'Mo' Rutherford, the private detective who will investigate this tasty treat's mystery. He soon finds out that "The Stuff" is causing people to become uncontrollable zombies. The Stuff takes over their bodies and when it's done using them, it eats their insides and leaves through their mouths. It's alive. He also eventually finds out where this stuff is being stored.
The special effects of this "stuff" is average at best. The movie "The Blob" (Steve McQueen) did a better job and that came out many years before this. The acting is pretty back. Only Michael Moriarty seems to be enjoying himself. Paul Sorvino and Danny Aiello are completely wasted in this film. Garrett Morris makes a short appearance, but he was actually better in "Car Wash" then in this campy horror flick. Actually, his scene is the only scary part in the film. You'll see.
The whole movie is pretty far fetched and if this "stuff" was at retailers everywhere, wouldn't there be other investigators and even FBI agents investigating this problem? I think Larry Cohen was basically trying to send a message to consumers who constantly eat and drink the same bad foods day after day (Starbucks coffee, donuts, burgers, french fries and of course ice cream). He's saying don't eat this crap as it can eventually kill you, just like "The Stuff". We get it, but it still doesn't make the movie any better.
I also think some of the scenes were removed from the film as well. Besides the ice cream truck scene in the trailer, I thought the poster scene with Jason's family in the kitchen on the floor being eaten by the Stuff was in the movie as well. It didn't show up on the DVD, so either it was cut or it never existed and I'm imagining things. A sequel to this movie could be interested if done right. The story of how the "stuff" is discovered would need to be changed of course, but an adequate sequel could be accomplished. Similar to how "The Blobl" was remade.
This movie is not really worth a look. If you must see it, just rent it. It's not even a horror cult classic like The Cube, Phantasm, The Howling or Donnie Darko. I gave it a 4/10 and that was probably being generous. If you're going to made a comical horror film, watch Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 and take lots of notes. "The Stuff" isn't funny or scary. It's mostly a waste of time.
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