Friday, April 22, 2016

THE STUFF (Arrow US Blu-ray) - Sometimes You Eat the Blu-ray, Sometimes the Blu-ray Eats You

I’m not sure that this is the snack that smiles back (that would be Gold Fish), but it certainly does give me a laugh. Larry Cohen’s commentary on marketing and consumerism in general came straight out of the 80’s and is the perfect addendum to futuristic tales of consumable like Soylent Green. What you put in your mouth isn’t as it seems. It’s people or it’s aliens or it’s comes from a gypsum mine (that’s Twinkies right there). The Stuff to the Region A crowd courtesy of Arrow US. The Region B crowd has known this for some time, but Arrow did a bang up job on a cult fan favorite.

The movie itself features some strong B listers including Michael Moriarty who does very well when paired with Larry Cohen in the director seat. Remember how great Q The Winged Serpent is? That’s because Cohen let Moriarty get behind a piano and sing. This fella can go from criminal to investigator to super dad (in Troll) in only a short number of years. He is a gem of 80’s filmmaking.

Of course then there’s Cohen himself. Cohen understands how to put enough humor into a Horror picture to balance out some very well executed practical effects (often campy but well executed none the less). He typically offers a formula that touches on all the highlights of adult desire. Blood. Gore. Goo. Tits (usually though not in this one). In The Stuff he tells a story that comes across organic to the lifestyle of so many living during the era of the Pepsi Challenge and Coca Cola marketing. It’s only in hindsight that it can be fully appreciated as a commentary on life during the 1980’s.

The cover art from the VHS stood out in my mind for years. Granted I had not had the chance to see the movie until much later. My parents probably didn’t know what to make of it and thus didn’t pick it up. The new release doesn’t actually feature my favorite artwork for the release, but it does have a strong interpretation from Doc Terror favorite Gary Pullin. There is more traditional reverse artwork, just not my favorite rendition.

While I think the transfer was quite good, I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking through quite a bit of film grain to appreciate the release through some of the darker scenes. Best guess is that this is simply as a result of how the film was shot, but I think it’s important to mention for fans of the movie who may take issue with some of it. It’s clearly an upgrade from any previously release of the movie and worth your dollars for the transfer from the original camera negative and for the extra package which may feel slightly lean for an Arrow release. The making of featurette is a must watch, informative and fun. There’s an introduction and commentary track for the trailer for filmmaker and Stuff fan Darren Bousman. Bousman is the fella behind quite a few of your favorite Horror flicks including a couple of the Saw movies. I’m not sure it’s as good a compilation of faux Stuff commercials (or even better… commercials for The Taste) but it’s something to appreciate. The booklet has plenty of stills and commentary provided by Joel Harley.

As for the movie itself, do you like when your food tries to murder you? Do you expect it to turn you into some kind of human skin puppet for the marshmallow fluff like substance? These are the kinds of imagery you can expect in a stop animation style and practically effected mid-80’s goo film. Do not watch if you’re hungry because you’re likely to pick the wrong container out of the pantry and end up a sloppy creature feature all your own. Prepare yourself for some ham fisted acting that is sure to inspire laughs balanced with one liners that are perfectly quotable while providing enough intrigue and revenge to satisfy through the viewing time.

I can’t tell you how many folks have been following anything I post about The Stuff on social media. Ordinary folks, civilians if I may, seem to know this one, love this one and come out of the “stuff mine” for this one. I hope they consider picking up the physical media awesome that is this Blu-ray.

Order now from DiabolikDVD:[sl]-Thriller/The-Stuff-(Arrow-US)-(Blu~ray).html

From Arrow Video:

Synopsis: Are you eating it …or is it eating you?

The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It’s delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn’t stain the family carpet… What’s not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we’re not talking friendly live bacteria…

Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn’t love The Stuff – in fact he won’t go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What’s more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird… Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur “Mo”, Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise.

Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen (director of the It’s Alive series and scribe behind the Maniac Cop trilogy), The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as Street Trash with the straight-up B-movie flavour of The Blob. So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff – the taste that delivers… much more than you bargained for!


New High Definition restoration of the film from a brand new 2K scan of the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film
Original 1.0 Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature – Documentary featuring Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman
Introduction and trailer commentary by director and The Stuff fan Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III)
Original Trailer
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joel Harley, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials

1 comment:

  1. Which is better Coke or Pepsi?
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