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The Stuff

By Sean Axmaker

B movie maverick Larry Cohen always enjoyed slipping a little social commentary into his genre pictures, and the satirical sci-fi/horror comedy The Stuff is no exception. A mix of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob, The Stuff is an insidiously addictive, low-calorie dessert sensation that soon wins the hearts and minds of the nation, but mostly the minds. You see, to borrow a title from another Cohen classic, it's alive.

Michael Moriarty is an industrial spy with questionable ethics and a certain moral flexibility behind his disarming drawl. "No one is as dumb as I appear to be," he informs his newest client, a snack food CEO who wants the secret of The Stuff. Needless to say he becomes the film's hero, a smart-talking everyman battling a compromised FDA and a corporate baddie who sees dollar signs in every Stuff snarfing zombie he converts. Cohen's satirical swipes at consumerism, advertising, and the ethics of corporate profit come fast and furious, if not exactly focused, and help drive the film past his--at times--sloppy direction. Moriarty's energetic performance is hilarious, and his rag-tag crew includes Andrea Marcovicci as an advertising wunderkind (who improbably falls in love with Moriarty), Saturday Night Live alum Garrett Morris as "Famous Amos" parody "Chocolate Chip Charlie," and Paul Sorvino as a commie-hating, conspiracy-spewing militia leader.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Larry Cohen

Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, James Dixon, Alexander Scourby, Russell Nype, Brian Bloom, Rutanya Alda

Released: June 14, 1985

Availability: DVD VHS


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