Review: The Stuff


‘The Stuff’ does for confectionary what ‘Street Trash’ does for beer – albeit slight less explosive, but no less dangerous. Take one part low budget sci-horror from veteran Larry Cohen, one part metaphor for the dangers of greed and commercialism and one part outrageous special effects, then add just a smidgen of ‘the-entire-premise-of-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers’  and you have your recipe for ‘The Stuff’.

Ironically, the recipe for the stuff is something of the point of conjecture in the movie; no one knows what it is, just simply that it comes from the ground, it tastes good, and it can be marketed to death to millions of unsuspecting confectionary fans. Greedy corporations don’t want any questions asked, and don’t care too much for the consequences, and the public are too fat and stupid to give a shit. It’s not until ex-FBI investigator ‘Mo Rutherford’ begins to see its true effects - that once consumed in sufficient quantities it takes you over - that anyone even bothers to consider the consequences of the excess of this latest consumption craze.

The plot follows this investigation on a schlock story of industrial espionage, supported by some outrageous gross out moments and imaginative creature/substance effects.

The more pretentious will push that this metaphor for the dangers of commercialism is why this movie has stayed relevant all these years, but truthfully (in my opinion anyhow), it’s that this movie simply ticks all the right boxes for 80s low budget horror. The plot is not too complex, but it is very self-involved. ‘The Stuff’ commercials within the movies really brings the content and context to life, and despite its obvious low budget and it’s none to commercial premise, it gives the film an identity which is difficult to ignore. The acting is tongue in cheek, with prominent characters played by a somewhat familiar TV regular cast with eccentricity, and there are a number of really stand out set pieces which simply sell the movie on their own.

The special effects are very special indeed. Obviously they are not particularly realistic, but the stuff - a gloop which has some limited ability for moving - looks fantastic, with some scenes showing tonnes of the stuff partaking in a range of activities from moving from place to place, to attacking people. The best scenes show what happens once the stuff is done with its host body. These scenes are truly gross and make this movie one to pick up for all 80s fans regardless of whether you are interested in the plot premise or not. The movie isn’t gory as such, but it can be quite revolting at times; a distinct contrast to the rest of the movies almost spoof like dialogue and set pieces.

Overall this movies latest Blu-ray release by Arrow is definitive and will be welcomed by long-time fans of this classic film. The transfer is amazing, truly so, and if you have been collecting this movie through its various DVD releases I can honestly recommend the upgrade. For new viewers, rest assured, this movie actually lives up to its hype. Like I’ve said already, don’t expect the gore of say ‘Street Trash’ (assuming of course you have seen that) but do enjoy an array of crazy scenes which could not exist in any other movie!

It’s as they say in the film: You can’t get enough of ‘The Stuff’ - see the marketing really does work!

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