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Awfully Good #120


The Stuff (1985)

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino


Is there a plot?

America’s latest snack food sensation, The Stuff, is killing everyone. And not in a KFC-Double-Down-cholesterol-attack kind of way either.


What's the damage?

You may or may not recognize the name Larry Cohen. Cohen is the writer of recent mainstream films like CELLULAR and PHONE BOOTH, but he is perhaps best known as the auteur behind some of cinema’s most well known schlock horror flicks, from the Robert Z’Dar-tastic MANIAC COP to mutant killer baby movie IT’S ALIVE to Q, THE WINGED SERPENT, which is seriously about Aztec god Quetzalcoatl destroying the Big Apple as a dragon. And then, of course, there’s his arguable classic film, THE STUFF.

Unsurprisingly, Charlie’s apparent “talent” after years of doing interracial gay porn never impressed the ladies.

THE STUFF is a mishmash of classic horror films, like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE BLOB—meets Jell-O. Pretty much literally. People eat the white pudding-like substance, get addicted, turn in to mind slaves and begin killing/converting others. It’s pretty cheesy and goofy, as one would expect from a movie about killer junk food, though Cohen seems to play it a little seriously. (Nevermind how they even found The Stuff to begin with—an old man one day sees a strange white substance bubbling out of the ground and immediately puts it in his mouth.) There’s some social commentary in there about consumerism, nutrition and even Communism. Paul Sorvino’s ultra right wing military general exists purely for this reason.

Jacob from TWILIGHT brushes his teeth.

That’s not to say THE STUFF isn’t fun. For B-movie fans, it’s a blast. Watching people throw up giant white blobs, have their heads exploded and punched through, or get creamed by what looks like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man’s sexual discharge is nothing but a good time at the movies. (There’s even Danny Aiello getting mauled by a crazed vomiting dog for the three of you who share that fetish.) There’s also a good amount of humor in the flick, mostly at the hands of Michael Moriarty who plays Mo Rutherford, a bizarre southern private investigator. Having a decidedly strange character like Rutherford as the hero of your story is enough to make it “special,” but when you factor in Garrett Morris as Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Charlie, well then you have something different altogether. Morris, who I’m pretty sure is either a relative or future incarnation of Eddie Griffin, shares a bizarre chemistry with Moriarty, and the pair make for what may be the weirdest tag team ever. Unfortunately Charlie disappears for most of the movie, but when he comes back…boy, does he ever.

AVATAR. Out on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 22.

THE STUFF is a pretty straightforward B-movie. It’s enjoyably bad, but lacking in a real climax or that extra “oomph” to make it an Awfully Good classic.


"Best" Line

Mo Rutherford and Chocolate Chip Charlie meet and the sparks fly.


"Best" Parts

1) Some of the best parts involving The Stuff, mainly cheesy effects and plenty of gore.


2) Taken out of context, this kid just looks like a troublemaking prick.


Nudity Watch

I’m sure all the spewing white stuff could be seen as sexual.


Enjoyableness Continuum:

One lick is never enough of The Stuff! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Mo says he wants mo
  • The kid hates the stuff
  • Chocolate Chip Charklie karate chops

Double shot when:

  • Abe Vigoda!


Thanks to Gregory and MH22585 for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic
Tags: awfully good



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