Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Stuff (1985)

The Stuff is a horror film written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen. When a new dessert sensation simply called "the Stuff" threatens to put ice cream makers out of business, industry tycoons draft industrial saboteur Moe Rutherford to uncover the dessert's secret formula. However, the truth turns out to be far more sinister than anyone could believe: the addictive, delicious goo is actually a sentient creature that possesses the ability to take over those that consume it.

The Stuff is an odd case where the film's concept is actually more interesting than the film itself. Don't get me wrong, The Stuff is a light piece of 80's cheese that's a fun watch. However, the idea the film's built around is intriguing on its own: What if a popular product was actually a living creature? What if that creature could control us if we consume it? Would we be able to stop it if we discovered it, or would it be too ingrained in our society by that time to remove it?

While its not a new concept, its still an interesting one that offers numerous possibilities for drama and satire, especially when blended with a heavy dose of horror. The Stuff touches on this at times, especially near the end, but it could have done so much more.

With that being said, The Stuff is still a fun monster movie with a nice injection of delectable cheese. The films actually reminiscent to the different versions of The Blob, with a weird ooze-based creature that terrorizes people (albeit, very differently). The special effects, for the most part, are very well done. They use some interesting tricks to animate the titular ooze (like rotating rooms and the like), and distorted faces caused by the Stuff exiting through their mouths are very creepy.

The acting is surprisingly pretty solid. Michael Moriarty is excellent as Moe Rutherford. Moriarty brings so much charisma to the role, helping to sell the character as a lovable scoundrel. Paul Sorvino is also great as the militant right-wing Col. Spears. Sorvino breathes life into a character that could have been a boring stereotype, but ends up being one of the weirdest and funniest parts of the film.

Although it could have done a lot more with its concept (which is perfect for a dark satire), The Stuff is an enjoyable film with some cool special effects and solid performances. If you're in the mood for some 80's cheese with occasional droplets of social satire here and there, check out The Stuff.

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