27th Feb2014

‘The Stuff’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, Alexander Scourby | Written and Directed by Larry Cohen


In 1985, New York director Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, Full Moon High) took to the camera to bring us a cult classic called The Stuff, the story of a strange “goo” found coming from the Earth which is packaged up and sold as a delicious desert treat. The only problem is that when the customers of the product eat it they turn into flesh eating zombies.

The story is not dissimilar to another cult favourite of mine, Street Trash (J. Michael Muro, 1987), which dealt with a liquor that turned it’s drinkers to sludge, only in this case the people who, for lack of a less dirty sounding term, swallow the stuff, end up as zombies. It’s a wonderfully silly plot that works wonderfully with the rest of the film.

From top to bottom, The Stuff is a terribly cheesy film as you might expect, but the special effects actually still hold up to a degree, in my opinion, and provide some very funny, gory scenes that will tickle the taste-buds of films like Street Trash, Slime City, C.H.U.D, Basket Case and others in that vein. The acting performances are a little wooden at times but prove to be better than some of the others I’ve mentioned, and Larry Cohen is a natural for these sorts of films, providing a very fun and loveable film.

I remember watching this movie back in the early 90’s and it has remained a favourite of mine ever since. I don’t know if this will impress everyone, and I’m not sure if people who are new to the film will be as impressed as people who found something to love about it originally, years ago. Still, Arrow Video has done a terrific job, as they usually do, with the cleaning up of the film. The transfer on the blu-ray is beautiful and clean, and the sound is also on point. You won’t find a better release of The Stuff, plain and simple.

As for the special features, an element that sets Arrow Video releases apart from the pack, well… they are here in droves too. A brand new 52 minute documentary on the making of the film, featuring Cohen himself, is on here, and it is a wonderful feature, and one of the most enjoyable “making of…” documentaries I’ve seen in a while. There’s a trailer commentary and introduction from Darren Bousman (Saw II & III) as well as a nice glossy booklet and reversible sleeve. The 52 minute documentary is what makes this a worthwhile upgrade if you already own the film.

The Stuff is available, through Arrow Video, on 10th March, 2014.


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