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The Stuff (1985)

DVD Cover (Image Entertainment)
Genres:
Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Satire
Director:
Larry Cohen Larry Cohen
Starring:
Michael Moriarty Michael Moriarty
Andrea Marcovicci Andrea Marcovicci
Garrett Morris Garrett Morris
Paul Sorvino Paul Sorvino
Scott Bloom Scott Bloom

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: January 20, 2005
David "Moe" Rutherford (Michael Moriarty) is a former FBI agent who now deals in the more illegal side of things... blackmail, mainly. He's hired by the dairy industry to find out the ingredients in a popular new snack known as The Stuff. Not much is known about this product by anyone outside of the producers, but the general public loves it because it has zero calories, zero fat, gives the consumer lots of extra energy, and above all else, it tastes great. Naturally, the ice-cream makers are a bit worried about this product, and want to find out the ingredients so that the can put out their own version of it. That's where Moe comes into play. He sets out to figure up what's going on with this product, and his first stop is Nicole Kendall (Andrea Marcovicci), the advertising genius who made The Stuff so popular to begin with. After explaining a few things to her, she comes along for the detective work as well. Meanwhile, a young boy by the name of Jason (Scott Bloom) has seen the truth behind The Stuff... the truth being that it's alive. Of course, his parents (Frank Telfer and Colette Blonigan) don't believe his claims, and his brother (Brian Bloom) ridicules him mercilessly. After Jason goes on a Stuff-destroying rampage in the local supermarket, his parents decide that enough is enough, and they attempt to force Jason to eat some of The Stuff in order to show him that there's nothing wrong with it. Back on Moe's side of the storyline, he meets up with Chocolate Chip Charlie (Garrett Morris), a man with his own reasons for being bitter towards the world, and Col. Spears (Paul Sorvino), a nut-job militia leader who has a nice-sized army of like-minded people at his disposal. The group set out to find out the mystery behind The Stuff once and for all, and the results sure aren't pretty.

As you could more or less tell from the general plot up above, this movie does indeed get a bit silly throughout the running time. Thankfully, it never gets silly enough to become unbearable, and manages to stay entertaining from start to finish. There's a fair number of plot-holes sprinkled throughout, but nothing that detracts from the enjoyment of the overall product. The satire aspect does come into play throughout the movie, showing numerous examples of the mob mentality of the general public... it only takes a few commercials to make something the next hot product, and likewise, it only takes a few public comments to turn people against something. This aspect of the movie was played to perfection, and although it was a bit subtle, the point was definitely made.

The special effects range from great-for-the-time to pretty damned bad. The Stuff itself was excellently done, as it moved around, jumped, and killed people in just the way that you'd except a mass of ooze to move around. There was no CGI action here, all of the scenes involving The Stuff used either ice cream, yogurt, or fire extinguisher foam. Combining this with the fact that they creators somehow managed to make the ooze move around seamlessly, we get the result of some excellent scenes when The Stuff is involved. On the negative side of special effects, the human death scenes are horridly done. When a human gets its head bashed in or legs decapitated, it looks unbelievably fake. However, as I mentioned with the plot-holes above, this doesn't detract from the entertainment factor of this movie one bit.

The acting that was found here also varied from character to character. Michael Moriarty gets the lead role of Moe, and plays it up to perfection. The man never failed to capture the grand majority of the scenes he was involved in, thanks to his thoroughly convincing acting skills and screen presence. Andrea Marcovicci (Nicole) is quite a few steps down in the quality department, coming off as slightly bland, but nothing too unbearable. She's there, she speaks her lines and goes through the motions, and that's about it. Garrett Morris (Chocolate Chip Charlie) was another one of the scene-stealers here, bringing some hilarious lines and scenes to the table in his parts. Sadly, the man didn't get a lot of screen time, something that could have made this film even more enjoyable. Finally, we have child actor Scott Bloom (Jason). He proves to be yet another example of why children shouldn't be given starring roles in any movies made for adults, and I'll leave it at that.

This would be a definite recommendation if you're a fan of campy films that mix together a touch of horror with a fair deal of comedy. It's not the type of film that you'd want to rush out and purchase at retail price, but you really couldn't go wrong with a cheap eBay win or a Friday night rental. 7/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 08/31/2005, 09:57 PM
I use to love watching this film as a kid, and I always thought 'the stuff' looked rather delicious...kind of like Cool Whip. This film holds a lot of nostalgia for me, which is why I give it. 9/10
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