Review: The Stuff / Cert: 15 / Director: Larry Cohen / Screenplay: Larry Cohen / Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris / Release Date: Out Now
With the likes of It's Alive, God Told Me To and Q – The Winged Serpent under his belt, Larry Cohen has ever been the master of high concept. A highly addictive mass-marketed dessert that takes over your mind and eats you from the inside? Sold! But if you know Cohen, you'll also know that this was never going to be quite the ride you were expecting it to be.
In a characteristically eccentric performance, Cohen's preferred leading man Moriarty plays a sacked FBI agent turned industrial saboteur extraordinaire nicknamed Mo ('because when people give me money, I always want mo') who's hired by a shady consortium of dessert tycoons to find out what exactly the Stuff is and halt production, before its unprecedented popularity puts all their asses out of business. Teaming up with Jason (Scott Bloom), a young boy who's lost his family to Stuff addiction, and Nicole (Marcovicci), the deadly dessert's head ad exec until she witnesses its effects, Mo gradually discovers the gruesome extent of the threat the Stuff poses to mankind, with results in equal portions horrific and hilarious.
Yep, this is every bit as cheesy as it sounds, and Cohen absolutely revels in it. So should you. From the ultra-’80s Stuff TV ads, to Paul Sorvino leading a comedy right-wing private army against a mass of gelatinous white goo, you just never know exactly where this unhinged narrative is going to go next. But despite being so off the wall, The Stuff also plays today as the quintessential American '80s horror flick, encapsulating all their throwaway silliness and bravura splatter tendencies (albeit with white goo replacing the usual claret) in one barking mad 92 minute swoop.
Of course, the film's satirical message – on how massive multinationals keep themselves stinking rich by selling us products that addict and slowly kill us – is just as pertinent today as it was then. A scene where we clearly see a McDonald's right next to where a dedicated Stuff kiosk is been blown to smithereens serves to remind us how nothing has really changed in this respect.
Get some Stuff into your life today - “Enough is never enough!”
Extras: 'Can't Get Enough of The Stuff' Documentary / Darren Bousman Trailer commentary / Original trailer