Food Gone Bad, Part I: The Stuff

It really surprises me that The Stuff never became a cult classic like They Live. After all, it has a lot of the same crucial elements: satirical commentary on consumerism, media, and corporate control; wingnut militias; aliens masquerading as humans; a killer soundtrack…okay, maybe not that last one. I’ll admit, it can’t really compete with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper discovering that paper money actually reads “This Is Your God,” but The Stuff has plenty going for it.

Direct action!

Direct action!

Score one point for the scene in which young Jason, after seeing some of The Stuff move of its own accord, goes to the local supermarket, smashes the glass of the refrigerator cases, and dumps hundreds of cartons of The Stuff all over the floor. Score another point for the cheesy face-ripping awesomeness that occurs when The Stuff decides to leave one of its human hosts.
Your Head A-Splode

Your Head A-Splode

Score a third for the crazy right-wing militia led by Paul Sorvino. Might have to take off a point for the some of the stereotypical funny-black-man-sidekick stuff they wrote for SNL vet Garrett Morris. But we can score one more for the character of industrial saboteur “Mo” Rutherford, who hides his craftiness behind a convincing “dumb” face and a friendly Southern drawl. Seriously, one of the most interesting and bizarre protagonists I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.

We discovered this movie is excellent as an eating game — just take a spoonful of Ricemallow Fluff every time someone eats The Stuff! (We had to make do with yogurt, but will invest in some Fluff for next time…)

Vegan Stuff?

Vegan Stuff?


David ‘Mo’ Rutherford: No one is as dumb as I appear to be.

Col. Spears: I will permit this colored man to speak. But speak one word of the Commie party, or one word in code, and I will blow his head off.

Col. Spears: Pay the drivers, issue a ten-percent tip, get a cash receipt.
Militants: Yes, sir!

David ‘Mo’ Rutherford: Well, everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while.


One response to “Food Gone Bad, Part I: The Stuff

  1. I love Larry Cohen, but his movies always leave me wondering what they would’ve been like with a real stylist at the helm. The answer, I suspect, is that they’d be like They Live.

    But man, nobody did a better job sneaking lefty politics into genre fare. Maybe Romero, but only if you’re talking depth vs. breadth. Ever see Uncle Sam? Post-heyday and decidedly minor, but satirizing the jingoism set loose by the first Gulf War was a damned ballsy move. You watch something like that or Deathdream and crap like Lions for Lambs becomes even more unwatchable, if that’s possible.

    And what a muse he had in Michael Moriarty. That guy’s flat-out incapable of giving a bad line-reading. If you don’t know what he’s been up to lately, do yourself a favor and don’t find out. I did and it broke my heart.

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