Hits the Spot – The Stuff (1985)

The Stuff tastes good. The Stuff is delicious. The Stuff is all.

Directed by Larry Cohen, The Stuff is a horror film that would arrive in 1985 about an oozing, edible and highly addictive substance found within the Earth, packaged and distributed to the masses for consumption. It would be New World Pictures that would market the picture as a horror movie while Cohen had sought to make a comedy. While it is somewhat lighthearted in tone with a satirical bent and a bit of black humour thrown in, it does play better as a horror movie than anything else.

Michael Moriarty stars alongside Andrea Marcovicci and Paul Sorvino and the man does a great job as the laid-back, easy-going gun-for-hire or more specifically, a corporate saboteur who really, really loves his work or to be even more specific, the money he gets from it. So it is that he is tasked with finding out where The Stuff comes from and destroying it so that its competition – the men who hired him, can get back to business without being put out of it. Things are not quite as easy as it seems though as that white cream changes those who ingest it, zombifying them in a way and he encounters more than a lot of resistance along the way. Thankfully, he manages to get to the bottom of it with a little help and soon enough, The Stuff is a thing of the past – or is it?

This film, much like a number of others released during this decade, perfectly represents it – through style, language, mannerisms and so forth. One can turn this movie on and immediately know when it takes place and while not a bad thing, does tend to shade one’s perspective before they’ve really watched a good portion of it. It is fairly silly if one thinks about it, bringing forth visions of The Blob but Cohen manages to do a great job at stressing the horror of it too. To be drowned and suffocated in goo is not the ideal way to leave one’s life and it is clearly shown throughout. To that effect, the man does imbue a good dose of suspense and ratchets up the tension the closer it gets to the final act. All of this goes hand-in-hand with a fair amount of action as well as Moe, the character played by Moriarty and the rest of his band look to halt the spread of The Stuff before humanity as it currently is, is wiped out.

Moriarty is quite fantastic in the role of the scummy agent turned hero, the man delivering his deadpan jokes in the most charming of manners and Sorvino is even funnier with his out-of-touch ways that one cannot help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Be that as it may, the film moves along at a good pace, is filled with enough humour and horror to keep one interested, pokes fun at fast food, junk food and consumerism and leaves off with a great ending that leaves the viewer wanting just a bit more. The Stuff is not a great movie but it is definitely a fun one and well worth a watch.

3.5 out of 5

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