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Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 55: The Stuff

The Stuff

I bet this movie disappointed a lot of porno fans

We Americans sure do love to eat. It seems every month, a new artery-clogging franken-food is invented and shoved down our chubby throats through advertising and news stories that double as advertising. Now I'm no gluten-free soy-based free-range health nut. I love me some White Castle and Taco Bell every now and then. But what if the junk food we loved controlled our minds and changed our bodies?

Directed by Larry Cohen (Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up, Q), The Stuff starts Michael Moriarty (Law and Order, Courage Under Fire) as David “Mo” Rutherford. Mo is hired by the ice cream industry and candy mogul “Chocolate Chip Charlie” Hobbs to find out what exactly is in The Stuff, a delicious and extremely popular new food, and to destroy it. At the same time, a young boy named Jason sees the Stuff moving on its on and refuses to eat it. He actually goes on a rampage at a supermarket, smashing displays and causing havoc. Mo teams up with advertising executive Nicole (Andrea Marcovicci, Jack the Bear) and digs deeper into the secret behind the stuff. They head to one of the manufacturing plants and are attacked by sentient Stuff. The Stuff is actually a living organism that takes over the brain of those that eat it, turns them into zombies and transforms the insides of the body into goo. Mo hears about Jason's supermarket incident, travels to his home and saves him just before his Stuff-controlled family forces him to eat the Stuff. The group enlists the help of militia leader Colonel Spears (Paul Sorvino, Goodfellas, The Rocketeer) to fight the Stuff. Will they be able to stop it in time or will the Stuff spread it's gooey control across the globe?

Next on "Intervention"...

I was shocked to find out The Stuff had a lot of really positive reviews. I don't get what was so great about it. I know it was supposed to be satirical and poke fun at consumerism and gluttony and all that, but being satirical doesn't mean the movie has to be bad. Characters come and go at the drop of a hat. Chocolate Chip Charlies just kind of shows up about 20 minutes in, disappears and shows up with about 10 minutes to go. Colonel Spears is never mentioned in the movie until Mo meets him. That's like playing The Legend of Zelda and having someone first mention Ganon right before you're about to fight him. The kid Jason is so annoyingly stupid that I want to smash his face into a pile of old mayo and cow shit. For whatever reason, he climbs into an empty tanker that soon begins to fill with the Stuff. I was cheering for the Stuff to kill him, or at least cover his mouth so we don't have to hear him anymore.

I appreciate the horror satire, but it doesn't work when you don't have good horror. The Stuff and the controlled people are never truly terrifying. They could have went for something like the Blob, but it came off as too lame to be scary. Maybe its because I couldn't get over the origin of the Stuff; a miner sees some white stuff coming out of the ground, touches it, and eats some of it. Now I don't know about you, but if I see some foreign substance on the ground, I'm probably not going to touch it with my hand and I'm sure as shit not going to eat it. The special effects for the Stuff look decent for the time and the makeup-prosthetic work for the mutated faces is actually pretty good. There are some green-screen shots that look absolutely horrendous, though.

It's like we're stuck in an episode of Nick Arcade

Despite all the rave reviews online and inexplicable label of being a classic, I just didn't like The Stuff. Plain and simple. It didn't come off as clever or scarey, just kind of lame and annoying which is never a good combination in horror movies. It's worth watching if you have a horror movie checklist to take care of, but otherwise, don't waste your time.


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