When a group of miners discovers a mysterious but delicious white substance bubbling up from the earth, a conglomerate markets the gooey, addictive fluff as a dessert in this tongue-in-cheek horror spoof from former NBC scriptwriter Larry Cohen.
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The Stuff is total crap, but its ridiculously (that's the key word here) enjoyable and hilariously awful. From Michael Moriarty's Joe Buck lead character to Paul Sorvino's Jack D. Ripper with extra chromosomes, I kept waiting for a hint of an indication that I was being screwed with and Larry Cohen never lets the audience off the hook. Utterly stupid and utterly fun.
About half of this film is really great. The other half, mostly in the final act, is racist and hypocritical. I don't think it's intentionally either, but it is ultimately both. In terms of hypocricy, it sets itself up as a scathing satire of all things American (although particularly advertising, big business and consumerism) and then has a commie hating army save the day. This is where it also gets racist...
Over the last two weeks I've watched the entire Kingdom mini-series; Umberto D.; America, America; Rashomon; and three Tarkovsky films: I needed to watch The Stuff more than the people in the movie wanted to eat the stuff. Sure it has a message, but the fun, totally '80s, film was a perfectly great stormy night escape.
Horror-Satire from the 1980s about killer food that feels oddly contemporary--(it would make an interesting double bill with Robert Kenner's FOOD, INC for instance)--in that sense, the third act takedown of the company making the stuff, while sort of contrived, is a lot of fun and genuinely cathartic. Special mention goes to Danny Aiello's character's dog, who makes the most of limited screentime.