June 26, 2011

The Stuff

We love this movie, it’s satirical, it’s funny, and its got really good special effects. Knowing little going into this one, it was a very pleasant surprise. Michael Moriarty (star) and Larry Cohen (director) are at their best, the action is non-stop and the story is unique. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still seriously flawed, and that makes this movie all the more enjoyable. It opens with a coal miner stumbling across a bubbling white patch in the snow that he MUCH too quickly decides to taste. After discovering how delicious it is he tell his buddy “if this stuff keeps bubbling out of the ground like this, there might be enough of it here that we could sell to people.” Immediately we cut to a young boy getting up in the middle of the night for a snack, and crawling around inside his fridge is The Stuff…

The plot unfolds something like this: The Stuff, a delicious frozen yogurt like dessert, is being very successfully marketed to the masses in a series of slick ad campaigns. Our heroes one by one discover that The Stuff is somehow changing people, and may have a mind of it’s own. Our heroes race from one elaborate location to the next, trying to uncover the secret of The Stuff.

Things to watch for: An uninhibited taste test of white stuff bubbling up from the ground. Use of the same effects set built for the infamous Jonny Depp scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. A product in a carton that must be frozen or refrigerated but is also shelf stable. Our cast entering a post office around noon, hanging around for about five minutes, and leaving into the darkness of midnight.

Hey was that…: Clara “Where’s the Beef?” Peller and Abe Pagoda in that The Stuff commercial?

“That guy!” moments with: Danny Aiello (The Professional), Paul Sorvino (The Rocketeer), Garrett Morris (SNL), and Patrick O’Neal (Silent Night, Bloody Night).

Memorable quote: “Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while.”

What the filmmakers might have been thinking: Man, the American public will buy anything if it has a slick enough advertising campaign behind it…

What we learned: When you see thick white stuff bubbling out of the ground, you should immediately reach down and taste it.

Tag line: “Are you eating it or is it eating you?”
Choice line from the synopsis: “It’s taken the country by storm…and it KILLS!”
VHS release company: New World Video
Running time: 93 min
VHS release date: 1985
Original release:  1985

Our rating: Definitely watchable
                (from left to right, top to bottom)                                       
                      1.    Danny Aiello
                      2.    The Stuff’s slick marketing campaign.
                      3.    5-second rule! (If you find it coming out of the ground you have to eat it 
                             with in 5 seconds!)
                      4.    Look out! The Stuff is going to come off the green screen and get you
                      5.    Paul Sorvino
                      6.    That looks like so much fun! 
                      7.    Garrett Morris gettin’ ready to blow.
                      8.    Our creepy hero kid.
                      9.    Patrick O’Neal lookin’ like Richard Dawson
                     10.    So much fun…
                     11.     The very same set used to kill Jonny Depp!
                     12.     Sex sells, especially when it’s wearing a unitard.


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