Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello and Garrett Morris
Running Time: 93 minutes
Ben & Jerry have strong competition as a luscious new dessert hits the stores and is taking supermarket shelves by storm. But just what does this mysterious goo, secretly oozing from the Earth, offer those munching on its sugary goodness?
Coming courtesy of cult horror auteur Larry Cohen, the legendary figure schooled in the low-budget Roger Corman form of quick filmmaking, THE STUFF is one of those unique creature-features impossible not to like despite it’s cheap cheekiness. Inspired by the 1950s hits like THE BLOB and featuring an absurd premise taking an obvious pot shot at consumerism, corporate greed and environmental abuse, THE STUFF is as intoxicating as its delicious product suggests because of the cast. Particularly Cohen regular Michael Moriarty as the swaggering industrial saboteur David “Mo” Rutherford. He’s simply ace in a role he made his own. One that’s chockfull of quotable one-liners, most ad-libbed and improvised by the great man known for his performances in genre faves Q: THE WINGED SERPENT (the first of five collaborations with Cohen) and TROLL.
Like a lot of the writer/director’s previous work, you know just what dark humour you’re getting with the 1985 film finally given a super treatment by the brilliant Arrow Films. That’s not to say the B-movie plot doesn’t boast some sickening surprises while attempting something similar to another cult classic – HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. Unfortunately the print used isn’t the best during the dark scenes, especially those at night and exposes the lack of crispness. This also comes as a double-edged sword with the remastered brush up also showcasing some poor visual effects work of one of the stand-out efforts of the VHS era. However, it still holds up well thanks to some grotesque over-the-top practical and mechanical effects.
One of the highlights of the film are the commercials and jingles that assure THE STUFF remains a product very much of the 1980s. Certainly for someone like myself brought up during this time, it brings back a lot of memories of the kind of corny advertising campaigns we were served up. It most definitely raises a smile or three with its pleasuring attack on capitalism. Even the film’s simple tagline - Are you eating it… or is it eating you? – is bloody genius!(4 / 5)
THE STUFF is released on limited edition Blu-ray via Arrow Films from the 10th March.