“Enough is never enough!” claim the makers of The Stuff. Well, by the time the credits rolled, I had enough of Larry Cohen’s 1985 horror film. I had a sick stomach tonight and watching this movie full of pulsating marshmallow-y white goop surely didn’t help one bit.
The main question I have for this film: Was it first billed as straight up horror or did they express clearly that it was a comedy/horror hybrid from the start? There are enough instances of actors being bizarre for no reason and quite baffling lines where I’m under the suspicion that The Stuff started to fall apart, so they gave in and slapped a comedy sticker under the genre. “We are already this far in, we might as well finish it.”
There are several times where lines are abruptly cut off mid-sentence and some of the special effects are so obviously fake that I had to keep reminding myself what time period this film came from. The Stuff undoubtedly shows how far cinema has come, from this quality of films in the 80’s, through what I would call the “transitional period” of the 90’s (ex. Candyman), to the more contemporary, bigger-budget movies of 2000 and on. I’m not saying there haven’t been many classics or great horror films before Y2K. I’m merely trying to describe how the feel of modern-day movies emanates such authenticity to me, that films from before I was born, like The Stuff, sometimes seem like joke efforts. I will hand it to the effects team for coming up with the recipe for that mysterious pale dessert. The way it moves around like one gelatinous mass is horrifically reminiscent of The Blob.
Even though I blew up the bathroom earlier, it wasn’t because of The Stuff. As much as I would’ve liked more seriousness and a little more gore, I wouldn’t shun the film. I would even suggest you give it a light watch, maybe put it on in the background when you’re doing something else or even have it on during Halloween at some point. I know Cohen has a history of the comedic sort, but when one of your characters’ names is “Chocolate Chip Charlie” you might want to ask yourself what you were thinking.
3 yogurt-looking tubs of plain white dairy dessert slop out of 5