Blu-ray Movie Review – The Stuff (1985)

The Stuff
Directed by Larry Cohen
Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1985
Blu-ray Date of Release: April 19, 2016

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I was 11 years-old when THE STUFF came out on VHS, and I got to enjoy the film a short while later. At the time, I remember thinking the movie was a bit tame for my standards, however it was still excellent and very entertaining. Here it is, 30 years later, and I can still state the same things. THE STUFF is full of gooey, horrific goodness, and I highly recommend you check it out. If you’ve seen it before, you’ll love revisiting this one in HD; and if you’re new to the film, well, you’re in for a treat.

If you are not familiar with THE STUFF, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video:

Are you eating it …or is it eating you? The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It’s delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn’t stain the family carpet… What’s not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we’re not talking friendly live bacteria… Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn’t love The Stuff – in fact he won’t go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What’s more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird… Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur “Mo”, Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organization behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise. Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen (director of the It’s Alive series and scribe behind the Maniac Cop trilogy), The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as Street Trash with the straight-up B-movie flavor of The Blob. So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff – the taste that delivers… much more than you bargained for!

I love the premise of THE STUFF: a guy walking around a worksite sees a gooey substance coming out of the ground. So what does he do? Well, he dips his fingers in and tastes it, of course! What else would you do? This comedic start to the film shows the lightheartedness of the concept, and then it sets the tone for a darkly humorous commentary about consumerism and society’s blind submission to marketing.

THE STUFF is shot well and looks very good onscreen, thanks to Arrow Video and MVD’s HD transfer. I found only a couple of grainy scenes, usually during lower-light shots, but the rest of the film looks great. Likewise, the sound has been amped up as well.

The acting in THE STUFF is good but campy, which is exactly what the film strives for early on. Michael Moriarty does a great job as the lead, and he is joined by an interesting ensemble of supporting actors that include Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello, and Garrett Morris.

The special effects are surprisingly good, given the time period. Most of them are practical effects, and they look great. But there are also a few camera-tricks used that still look good, however it’s sometimes obvious. For example, when Jason is trapped in the tanker truck and the stuff is oozing toward him, it’s pretty blatant that the goo is superimposed from another piece of film. Still, this does not detract from the film at all.

THE STUFF is a huge win for me, and I think it’s another fine feather in the caps of Arrow Video and MVD Distribution. The Blu-ray also contains some nice Special Features, such as:

• New High Definition restoration of the film from a brand new 2K scan of the original camera negative
• Original stereo 1.0 uncompressed PCM Mono audio
• Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Can t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen s Classic Creature Feature Documentary featuring Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman
• Introduction and trailer commentary by director and The Stuff fan Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III)
• Original Trailer
• Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
• Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joel Harley, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials

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