Larry Cohen’s 1985 horror comedy satire The Stuff may be 31 years old, but is as fun and poignant as ever. The rampant over-medication and obsessive consumer culture of the ’80s is not something of the past; on the contrary, the ’80s simply laid the foundation that we’ve continued to build upon and grow into a certain brand of capitalist somnambulism that has come to represent our culture.
Most genre fans know the story; but, just in case, here’s a quick recap:
In the opening scene, a rail worker finds some white ooze seeping out of the ground… and, like anyone in his or her right mind would, he eats it. Turns out that it’s the best thing he’s ever tasted. This “stuff” is soon harvested and marketed as “The Stuff.”. The whole damn country embraces the low on calories, high on taste treat… they just “can’t get enough of The Stuff!”
The Stuff may taste great and be healthy on the surface, but it turns out to be a living ooze that turns those who eat it into brainless walking corpses before literally eating them from within. The sentient, parasitic substance is uncovered for what it truly is by a few people, starting with a young boy named Jason. Along with former FBI agent Mo Rutherford and the beautiful Nicole, Jason leads the battle against The Stuff and those peddling it.
In the end, evil plans are thwarted, hope is restored, and The Stuff is destroyed… or is it?
This story has a special place in the hearts of many a fan of horror and science fiction films. In the tradition of the great B-movie fare, the film is schlocky and socially conscious all at once. It cuts deeply with its fierce and pointed satire, all the while retaining its fun and enjoyable nature. There is no doubt why the film is so beloved. What’s more is that the film has never looked better than in the brand new Arrow Films Special Edition Blu-ray. Even without the brilliant special features, the scan of the original negative is flawless and the film comes to life in a way never before available on home video. The sound is crisp and clear. If one has only previously seen one of the DVD releases or watched the film streaming on Netflix prior to watching this print, it will surely be a revelation to him or her.
In addition to the 1080p high definition restoration Blu-ray, the package also features a standard edition DVD, a booklet with art work, and an essay from Joel Harley. The cover art is reversible, with one side being the original cover art and the other a brand new piece, both sides with their own appeal. But the real stuff in The Stuff is on the Blu.
As noted above, the film looks and sounds great. The original trailer is included on the disc, along with an intro and commentary to the trailer Saw II, III, and IV director/The Stuff megafan Darren Lynn Bousman (whom the reviewer reveres due to his brilliant hyperstylized splatterpunk musical Repo! The Genetic Opera). However, the real gem on the Blu-ray is the accompanying documentary, Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature.
Fans of The Stuff, as well as Cohen’s other quirky genre films, will find a lot of Stuff to sink their teeth into, with stories and anecdotes from several of the people involved in the film. Cohen himself discusses the film from concept to finished product. The segment highlighting the makeup and effects is especially fun and entertaining.
From the classic lines like Mo’s “No one is as dumb as I appear to be” to the rivers of yogurt-like ooze to the rabid Stuff-crazed dog, it’s all here and in the best looking presentation to date. Whether it’s your first time watching or your 27th, with Arrow’s The Stuff Special Edition, “enough is never enough!”
Get it at Amazon:
The Stuff – [Blu-ray]