Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: 'The Stuff' Blu-ray

Tasty white gunk called The Stuff is the latest culinary craze. Corporations dispatch spies to learn the recipe. Families stockpile containers of it. Swimsuit models hawk it in neon-lit T.V. commercials. The only problem is The Stuff is a sentient monster: part Blob, part body snatcher. As pointed as writer/director Larry Cohen’s satire of corporate immorality, our junk food-addicted culture, advertising, and the military is, and as sadistic and cynical as its unexpected finale is, The Stuff mostly plays as good natured schlock with its sloppy and choppy editing, delightfully cheesy special effects, and Cool Whip villain. Michael Moriarity is great fun to watch as the sleazy industrial saboteur tasked with learning the secret-recipe of The Stuff and putting the kibosh on its popularity. He gets to drawl some witty dialogue  (“No one is as dumb as I appear to be”) and hang out with a kid whose family was enslaved by the creamy beast. The side plot involving that kid drags the film down a bit, particularly since Scott Bloom hasn’t exactly developed his acting chops yet, but Paul Sorvino’s hilarious performance as an ultra-right wing Army Colonel whom Moriarity blackmails into joining the fight against The Stuff is a pretty slick consolation prize.

Arrow Video’s remaster of The Stuff is slick too. With natural grain, strong color, and a total absence of blemishes, the film certainly looks better than it ever needed to, though the disc is a bit lighter in the supplemental material department than Arrow blu-rays usually are. There’s a skip-able two-minute “Trailers from Hell” appreciation of the movie by some guy who directed a couple of Saw movies, and a terrific fifty-minute documentary about the movie. That latter bonus should keep fans from whining that they aren’t getting enough of The Stuff.
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