By: Justin Hopkins
It has been way to long since I did a B Movie Sunday Review. Had a bunch going on as is life, but I am back and decided to go back and pluck out a classic from 1985, The Stuff. A movie that I haven’t watched in about 15 years so I couldn’t remember a whole lot when I sat down to give it a watch. Without further delay, lets dive back in shall we.
The movie kicks off with two homeless men eating some white goo, that was bubbling out of the snow. Deciding that it tastes so good. They might as well try and sell it. We jump forward a bit to a kid, Jason, waking up in the middle of the night and heading downstairs for a drink and a bite to eat. When he sees the container of, The Stuff, knocked over and it’s contents moving about in the refrigerator. His Dad comes up behind him too late to see it moving and scares him back upstairs. Helping himself to a bit of The Stuff afterward. After a commercial selling The Stuff as being better then Ice Cream. We see a group of business tycoons talking about how they have failed to find out how The Stuff was made and a Chocolate Chip company had been sold to them as well. Deciding that drastic attempts must be taken and are going to hire Industry Spy David “Mo” Rutherford to steal the ingredients for them. Proving himself capable after already knowing everything due to having bugged one of them the night before and after getting his check. Knocked out the guy who was giving him a hard time for being ousted from the FBI. Meanwhile, Jason is trying to warn his family about The Stuff but they are not listening. Back to Moe, we see him posing as a wealthy Oil Tycoon to get into a Sound Stage where they are recording the next commercial. Full of scantily clad women who are walking down runways and feeding each other. Being directed by Nicole. The woman who pretty much got their advertisement up and running. After smooth talking her into believing he was a potential buyer of the entire ad agency and agrees to go back to his hotel to talk more. Leaving us free to rejoin Jason in his destruction of as much of The Stuff as he can at the grocery store, before workers manage to grab him. After an Interview with someone with the FDA, who is killed by his dog after. Mo follows a lead to Stader, Virginia. A ghost town, with just a postmen and Gas Station Worker. After an altercation with a man named Chocolate Chip Charlie. The former owner of the Chocolate Chip Company. Turned out he was swindled out of his company by his Family and wants to find evidence to use to get his company back. Together they confront the postman. Finding out that everyone’s mail was being routed to Midland, Georgia. He excuses himself to the bathroom. Where The Stuff begins pouring out of his mouth. After hearing strange noises, break down the door. Finding him dead on the ground. Mouth opened outstretched. They go out the window to find who did it. Are attacked by a group of men, who are hollow and break under their attacks. Finally getting away by boat and somewhere safe. Mo sends Chocolate Chip to get the FBI while he pushes on with his investigation. Goal shifting more from the ingredients to what exactly is The Stuff and I will leave it there for now.
This was a compelling tale of consumerism. How easily it is to get people hooked on a product. With several sexy, flashy commercials, songs and radio advertisements. People eating it all up without even wondering what exactly they were putting into their bodies. Only people asking were the ones who wanted to use it to do the same thing for the sake of cashing in on it. Even after knowing, still willing to put it in their products as low doses to get people hooked, without the mind control effects. A story that not only stands the test of time, but can easily be re-done today to similar affects.
Of course, being a horror movie from the 80’s, we got to talk about the effects. Which were pretty good. Affects of The Stuff coming out of people’s mouths looks good and they did a good job for the most part making pools of The Stuff move about rooms and shooting out of beds. A bit of the green screen and CG are a bit dodgy but passable for its age.
Michael Moriarty was easily the standout in the cast. Bringing a suave swagger to his character. Likable right from the gate, when he showed his prowess with the bug and the way he knocked out the guy who mocked him from the gate. Putting together a good guy, who believed his own hype and knew how to back it up at the same time. Garret Morris’s Chocolate Chip Charlie was criminally under-utilized. When he was on screen he was so good. Entertaining and had good chemistry with Moriarty and a shame we didn’t get more screen time. The same can kind of be said for Andrea Marcovicci. Played her role well enough, just felt like her character needed more fleshing out.
Negative wise is the Militia scenes. They really add very little outside of humor. Which could have easily have gone to Chocolate Chip and been a lot better. Even the fact that they had a radio station could have gone to Nicole or one of many of Mo Contacts. Just felt like they were tacked on for time and not much more. Although, did chuckle at the ‘Nam joke.
Before we round this out. Let me say something that will certainly rock the boat with some people. In a world that loves dusting off movies and giving them a new shine. The Stuff would actually be perfect for a remake. Like I said, The Consumerism Story they told is still prevalent today. Quite a few Horror Directors active today could tell a chilling tale today with a bit higher budget and newer practical effects. Especially if they get the nerve to give it a much darker ending.
With that said, The Stuff is definitely a movie you should give watch if you haven’t already seen. Have some good laughs and decent horror spread out. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I know, it’s Sunday and this is not the normally B-Movie Review, but wanted to mix it up just a little bit, and in line with the rest of the lists I have put up this month. It would be almost a shame to not make one up for these as well. After all, this is the season of gory slashers, monsters, ghosts and all things that go bump in the night. It can be easy to get lost in the big three, Stephen King, and various others that might sneak onto TV, but these 8 can mix it up a little bit. While they may or may not hold up to the norm. They are still entertaining and is good to mix up your usual watch list from time to time. However, I have changed some things up, and a few important things to note before I begin. Number 1, being the obvious, I have had to of seen the movie to make the list. I don’t want to B.S a about a movie that I have never seen before. I am sorry, but wouldn’t be right to you and I am not going to do it. So, movies like Dead Alive or Terrifier or Satan’s Little Helper may be excellent movies, but haven’t seen them. So, they are not here. 2, I normally go for B-Movies that don’t have a theater run, but have lifted that rule, just a little and have allowed for limited runs to be present. Number 3, this is not a normal ranking, from worst to best kind of deal. Don’t take the numbers to literally. It’s just 8 suggestions that I feel can be fun to kick back and watch. Nothing more than that. With that said, lets get things rolling.
8. House Of The Dead
It would almost be a mistake to no include a Uwe Boll. To be fair, despite some over acting and cheesy moments. This zombie packed film isn’t a bad one. Bringing the arcade game to life, in gory fashion. Some fun characters in the form of Kirk and Skipper, and over the top zombie kills. Particularly enjoy the montage to the song Fury, where you get a long action sequence of the survivors taking out waves of zombies, with bits of gameplay weaved throughout. It’s a fun movie, not to be taken seriously, and in an over bloated genre such as zombies are now a days. That is all I am asking for.
There is always room for giant man eating monsters, and while we have the likes of Anaconda and Boa floating around. Python has been my go to for a long time. Really enjoyed the characters throughout the story. The little town setting and the issues they were having, that did not revolve around the giant snake. Of course, having a horror icon Robert Englund goes a long way as well. The CGI snake didn’t look to bad and the kills were fun and because of the attention they had on building characters. The deaths felt like they meant something to the story. All big pluses and a reason to give it a watch.
6. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
I mean, do I really have to give a reason to watch this. It’s killer aliens designed as clowns. It’s great fun from start to finish. Kills are over the top and fantastic. Being as creative as they could with stuff you’d find at a carnival to weaponize. I did a review on this a few weeks ago, and if you haven’t watched it. Now is the best time. If you have watch it again. Can never have enough of this one.
5. The Stuff
This is still one of the most bizarre movies I have ever scene. Right from the start, where the two men find white stuff coming out of the ground and eat it and turn it into a food craze that the world loves, and turns people crazy and under mind control and slowly eating them alive from the inside. With an investigator trying to sabotage them and later stop them before it is to late. Crazy ride from start to finish.
4. Black Sheep
This tongue and cheek, gore fest of a B-Movie is brought to us from New Zealand and is tremendous. It’s so hard to look away, no matter what craziness they throw at you. From flocks of deranged, scientifically altered sheep, Weresheep, and stupid one liners. The actors were top notch, characters were a joy to watch. Felt sorry for the main and his genuine fear of sheep in seriously traumatizing moment and enjoyed Angus get his comeuppance. And for those who like bloody and extreme death scenes. Black Sheep has you covered.
I want to remind everyone, this is not an official list. Sharktopus, is one of my favorite shark movies and movies in general. Do I think of it as the best of either category, no of course not, but I find it to be one of the most fun movies I have watched, and it is hard to explain why. The story is as out there as they come. Think the actors had a good chemistry together. The main characters took the situation seriously, while the side characters and those meant to die, were goofy and over the top. I enjoyed the look of Shaktapus himself. Crack up every time I watch him using the tentacles to walk across the beach and through the resort. Why do I suggest this, because with all the serious and dark movies to watch during Halloween and on this list. Sharktopus has a light heartedness to break them up and give you a bit of a break between them.
Speaking of dark and gritty, we land on the love letter to the 80’s Slasher Genre, Hatchet. Telling the story of the deformed Victor Crowley and his sad demise and vengeful return and my god they do not hold back on anything in this. Victor rips and tears people apart with his bare hands and chucks body parts at poor Ben. This movie gets you from the start with some fun moments of mardi gras and solid character build ups before a rather great introduction to Crowley himself. This should be a regular Halloween watch, but if it’s not. Then do yourself a favor and add. It is well worth the time.
1. Evil Dead
Could it be anything else. The King of the B-Movies. Almost hard to think of something new to say here that hasn’t already been said before. It’s not a particularly scary movie, but gave us a wild tale, of Ash becoming the least likely hero of all time. Everyone involved loved this movie and wanted it to be successful and showed first hand how well a B Movie can do. Of course you have seen it. If you ever needed a reason to watch it again. None better then now.
And that would be that. My 8 B-Movie suggestions to watch for Halloween time. Tell me what B- Movies you like to watch in the comments below. Be back next week with our regular scheduled B-Movie review and in the meantime.
Thanks for reading