Monday, March 4, 2013

The Stuff (1985) Review

The Stuff 1985 film poster
Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Patrick O'Neal
Genre: Horror

What is The Stuff? Well, I really don't know. It's just...ya know, stuff.

So there's this new food, right? And it's called The Stuff (of which the film gets its name, in case you haven't noticed). No one really knows what this "stuff" is but it's a nationwide phenomenon and soon every home in America eats The Stuff like they watch their televisions. Turns out though that The Stuff is addicting...oh, and it also eventually turns you into a murdering zombie. Yeah.

The Stuff is a very (very, very, very, very, very, very) obvious jab at the food market and the FDA, along with a satire of American consumerism. It's not exactly a clever satire but it gets its point across. 

One thing you'll notice about The Stuff is not much of it makes any sense. What is the Stuff? I dunno (but Wikipedia tells me they made it out of yogurt, fire-extinguisher foam, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream). Also, the film feels like it's unsure of what it's trying to be. It has an R-rating but yet it plays out like a family movie. The protagonist of the film is a little kid who gets into sticky situations but eventually saves the day. It's exactly like all the other family adventure movies from the 80s! But yet it also tries to be a genuine Horror film (which works just about as well as the original The Blob did, by the way). In the end though it doesn't satisfy either audience. 


The Stuff 1985 special effects

The effects are, well...they can get pretty bad. The "Stuff" looks as silly as it does in The Blob and there's some pretty awful green-screening. The one cool trick is the upside-down room trick which they stole from A Nightmare on Elm Street (they even used the same exact room). 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Larry Cohen as a director, but this just isn't his best work. 


The Stuff 1985 green screen

I find myself desperate for good things to say about The Stuff but my search is in vain. It's not the type of horror film that's so cheesy and bad that it's good; it's just bad. It gets some points for being a satire on American consumerism, and it's not the worst film you'll ever see, but it's just really nothing special. 

2/5 stars

Purchase The Stuff (no, I'm not talking about drugs) on Amazon: DVD - Stream
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