The Stuff (1985)

The Stuff is another delightful horror film from the hand of Larry Cohen and plays out something like a meeting between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob. After seeing films like It’s Alive and Q: The Winged Serpent, the style and way that this film plays out doesn’t come as a surprise. Larry Cohen is a master of schlock horror, and I definitely rate The Stuff as one of his best films! The film is definitively eighties; the whole feel of The Stuff is very much reminiscent of the trash decade and things such as the ‘flash’ advertisements for the product at the centre of the film, as well as the music help to ensure this. The story takes in ideas of greed and, more importantly, consumerism as we follow a couple of miners who discover a viscous white liquid emanating from the ground. The chances of me tasting something that I’d just seen bubble out of the Earth are nil, but these guys do and discover that it’s actually very tasty! One successful marketing campaign later and everyone is tucking into the tasty new desert…but there’s more to what people are calling ‘The Stuff’…

Given that this is a silly horror film, its commentaries and themes are actually put across rather well. The audience is never allowed to take it completely seriously, but the way that the film builds up the scenario and sees everyone purchasing what the media has told them to buy is strangely haunting all on its own. Besides that, even themes in a film that can’t really put them across appropriately is better than no themes at all, which shows Larry Cohen’s talent for creative scriptwriting. The film is lead by Michael Moriarty, who worked with Cohen in Q and the third instalment of the It’s Alive series and does a great job in this one. While his acting isn’t very good, he’s constantly amusing and actually has really good screen presence; I often found myself wanting to see him back on screen during the scenes he wasn’t in. The special effects are typically silly; but far better and more believable than most CGI rubbish. The scenes that see people breaking apart are oddly frightening, and I’ve got to say that I loved the ‘Blob’ style scenes where The Stuff itself was on the rampage. On the whole, The Stuff might not do much for those who don’t like schlock horror; but if you ask me, it’s a great fun ride and I highly recommend it!