The Stuff was originally released in 1985 and given a limited theatrical release which lead to its almost immediate cult following which only grew larger once it was released on VHS and finally DVD in 2000.
The film opens with a man as he discovers a yogurt-like white substance bubbling out of the ground. It’s found to be sweet and addictive. Later, the substance is marketed as “The Stuff” and is sold to the general public. It is said to have no calories but still be sweet, creamy, and filling. The popularity for The Stuff grows and eventually has such high sales that it impedes on the sale of ice cream.
Ice cream industry leaders then hire David “Mo” Rutherford to find out what The Stuff really is made from and more importantly to destroy it.
He soon discovers that The Stuff is actually a living, parasitic, and possibly sentient creature. This “creature” gradually takes over the brain, turning those who eat it into bizarre zombie-like creatures before consuming them from the inside and leaving them empty shells.
A young boy, Jason, also catches on to this fact as he watches his family slowly fade away from eating The Stuff and he tries to destroy it and keep it out of the house but to no avail. He soon lets loose at the supermarket trying to destroy all of The Stuff, but again with no luck, but Mo discovers the boy and comes to his aid.
Mo also manages to charm Nicole, an advertising executive into helping them once she discovers the horrors of The Stuff. The trio soon set off to try and infiltrate the company producing The Stuff and shut them down.
Along the way many people are either smothered to death by The Stuff or are seen to seemingly melt from the inside out due to being slowly eaten by The Stuff. While the gore is certainly not over the top or too disgusting, it is present.
The film gets a bit slapstick at times and can wander in and out from a coherent plot, but it is still highly enjoyable viewing and is made better when enjoyed with a group of friends.
The main point that the film tries to hammer home is about commercialism from a materialistic 80’s viewpoint. While much of the film is dated this driving theme still holds true today.
The tagline of film can also be interpreted as one of a horror film or as a film trying to make a point about commercialism, “Are you eating it or is it eating you?”
The Stuff is a film that must be seen to be believed and is still a highly entertaining film. It is very easy to see why this has developed such a cult following since the initial release and despite falling in and out of availability over the years the demand always comes back around as more viewers see this great film.
Final Verdict: The film is certainly not without its flaws and has a plot that seems to stretch a bit beyond what the film is able to pull off in the end. The concept behind the films meaning is not lost and still holds true today. The point that commercialism and marketing runs the world and causes many of us to do things without thinking about it runs throughout the film. The Stuff is a fun and nostalgic look back to the 80’s with an innocence that seems to be lost with many of today’s horror films.
Where can I get it? : The Stuff is widely available at many online retailers on DVD, with an American Blu-ray version in the planning. Try getting the DVD from retailers such as Amazon, Overstock, Target, and Best Buy. The Stuff is also currently available for streaming on both Netflix and Amazon.