The Film (4/5)
Larry Cohen is one of the true wildmen of American exploitation cinema. When viewers typically think of anything goes, "kitchen sink" cinema, they might tend to think of the wild and weird films that the Japanese have been known to make. However, Larry Cohen was making those wild genre crossover pictures all the way back in the 70's. His film Q The Wing Serpent was a giant creature feature, a cop film, a gangster film and that just scratches the surface. God Told Me To Kill is a conspiracy thriller, science fiction, and more. The Stuff sees Cohen jump back into a conspiratorial mode, mixing it up with a commercially satiric vision, and making it in the style of the horror films popular in the 1980's.
The film stars Michael Moriarty (Q The Winged Serpent) as Moe Rutherford, a corporate spy that has been hired to figure out the mystery behind a mysterious new culinary trend sweeping the nation called The Stuff. The Stuff was originally discovered by an old man who found it bubbling out of the ground, tasted it, and realized he couldn't get enough of it. After that a group of corporate marketeers bought the rights to the land, and have been selling it en masses to American consumers. Moriarty along the way gets involved with an oil tycoon (Andrea Marcovicci), and a cookie company owner who was bought out by the company that makes the Stuff. He also meets a young boy whose family is addicted to the Stuff, and caused him to run away. It turns out that the Stuff is actually an alien bacteria that possesses those that consume it (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers gone yogurt), and it's their plan to take over using our obsession with junk food.
The Stuff is another excellent slice of fun horror cinema from Larry Cohen. If you've seen his prior horror work either written or directed you will sort of know what you are getting into, only the Stuff is more garish and colorful than his other work. That is in fitting with the obvious commercial satire tone of the piece, and if it's possible it might actually be more camp than some of his earlier stuff. Aside from the obvious contributions from the visual style, the performances from the main cast add to the over the top atmosphere of the film.
Arrow Video knocks another one out of the park with their splendid Blu-ray of the Stuff. This one has been trapped in Image Entertainment Hell stateside for years, and now we are treated to a release that really brings out the colorful and stylish visuals of the film. Arrow presents the film in it's original 1:85:1 OAR in a 1080p AVC encoded transfer. Colors here pop from the screen, detail is excellent, and blacks are nice and deep.
The audio is presented with an LPCM mono track in English. The track is quite solid with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Arrow Video has put together a decent slate of extras for the Stuff. The Blu-ray has a 53 minute look back at the making of. A trailers from hell commentary with Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2-4), the original trailer for the film, a booklet of liner notes, and a reversible cover.
Another fun and interesting vision of horror from director Larry Cohen. Arrow Video brings the Stuff to Blu-ray with splendid results. The extras are slim, but solid. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.