Food Horror? Cuisine Macabre? Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Whatever you want to call it, when the food you love to eat, starts to eat you, shit starts to get downright bananas. This is the case with 1985’s camp sensation, The Stuff.
Director Larry Cohen’s classic B-movie tells the story of an ex-FBI agent who is hired to investigate and eliminate the new dessert craze that’s threatening the ice cream and candy industry– a goopy, white, marshmallowy, Cool-Whip type substance branded as The Stuff. This “stuff” just so happens to be highly addictive and enjoys controlling its host, then eating them from the inside out, once it has no need for the body.
I’m personally not a big viewer of B-movie, camp romps, but this flick in particular is one of my favorite flicks to come out of the 80’s. Like Re-Animator, this movie was able to use its practical effects very effectively which aided its simple storyline. You won’t get buckets of blood in this flick– instead we get buckets of marshmallow everywhere. When someone gets shot, they splatter gloop everywhere. When someone’s head gets bashed in, we get gloop everywhere. It’s quite the fun viewing experience. They also have a sweet The Thing-like transformation in the third act of the movie that was just fucking rad. The “Stuff” itself was a blast to watch move around. I can only compare it to a blob-like movement, with a bit more speed– like a T-1000 Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.
The actors and characters were pretty solid for a B-movie. David “Mo” Rutherford (Michael Moriarty), was a corny dude who can kick your ass and manipulate himself into anything. The guy was pretty fucking awesome. Another good character was the boy wonder, Jason (Scott Bloom). This kid was smart and logical. His thrashing of the all The Stuff in the supermarket was epic– those displays didn’t stand a chance. Actor/Comedian Garrett Morris makes the most of his screen time as the candy mogul Chocolate Chip Charlie. His nickname alone is hilarious.
Writer/Director Larry Cohen was able to infuse some social commentary into his flick– parodying the state of the nation at that current point in time– playing on the advertising craze of the 80’s. It’s actually pretty brilliant when you dive into it, making this movie not only a fucking blast to watch, but also having some substance behind it.
The Stuff is a staple of 80’s-era horror, as well as an essential watch for any fans of B-movies. It questions society’s lemming ways and the fact that no one was doing anything about it. With a great movie monster, a fun story, and some decent characters, The Stuff is easily one my all-time favorite B-movies, and because of the quality, it has a high replay value. If you haven’t seen this little gem before, do yourself a favor and go watch it: It makes for a great Halloween movie night flick. //Arturo Padilla