Classics of the Corn: The Stuff (1985)

(Image via Flick Facts)
(Image via Flick Facts)

A mysterious goo is discovered by a group of miners as it erupts from the earth and floods their mine. One of the men has the bright idea to taste “The Stuff”… and he finds it delicious. Not all of the miners are so sure; one yells “What are you doing, eating snow? I DON’T WANT TO TRY IT, I DON’T EAT SNOW!”

The shaving-cream-esque  substance gets put on the market as the newest low-calorie sweet treat for the American public to become addicted to.

“The Stuff” starts out as a dessert fad, but it is addictive, taking over the brains of the people who eat it until it’s all they want. They turn into Stuff-obsessed zombies of a sort, not realizing what the food is doing to them.

Ex-FBI agent David Rutherford doesn’t trust “The Stuff,” and neither does young Jason, who became terrified of the dessert after seeing it move on its own in his family’s refrigerator. David and Jason team up with a woman named Nicole to put a stop to “The Stuff” before it ruins the world.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Larry Cohen (Wicked Stepmother) wrote and directed 1985’s The Stuff, one of the most hilariously corny sci-fi/horror flicks I’ve ever seen.

Everything about this film is full of cheese. Brilliantly awful infomercials starring actresses in fur coats advertise “The Stuff” with catchy ’80s pop tunes:

(Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)

Even beyond these fake commercials themselves, the treat always seems to be discussed in advertising lingo:

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Mr. Rutherford, the man trying to bring down “The Stuff” talks with a slow Southern drawl and is a serial joke-repeater:

(Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)
And yes, all of his jokes are this bad. At one point he asks a police officer if he’s going to be arrested for indecent exposure after leaving a tube hanging off of a truck full of “The Stuff”… there are no words! (Screen captures by Lindsey for TMP)

Michael Moriarity, in the role of “Mo” Rutherford, is the best-worst actor in the film, but he’s closely matched by Scott Bloom in the role of Jason.

Jason is terrified of “The Stuff,” and he’s vocal about his suspicions of it, yelling “IT MOVES!” At one point he even goes so far as to destroy all of the displays of “The Stuff” at the grocery store, in what may be the best grocery-store scene ever caught on film:

You go, Jason! Attack that "Stuff!" (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
You go, Jason! Attack that “Stuff!” (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Jason’s troubles don’t end with a bit of grocery store havoc. His family has, unfortunately, fallen victim to “The Stuff.” They want him to eat “The Stuff” so he can become a part of the family again, and when they find out he’s only pretending to eat it, they chase him out of the house! This is how the dream-team of Rutherford and Jason is born. Rutherford is full of good advice for his new investigative companion:

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Human animals aren’t the only victims of “The Stuff,” either. Like Jason, a man named Vickers (Danny Aiello) must contend with the evils of those around him falling under the influence of “The Stuff.” In Vickers’ case, it is his dog Ben that becomes a Stuff-zombie:

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

This just skims the surface of the cheese to be found within The Stuff. Super-fake movie punches are thrown, people are attacked by “The Stuff,” War of the Worlds-esque radio broadcasts give warning to the public of the dangers of “The Stuff.” A character known as “Chocolate Chip Charlie” brings his fair share of corn, knocking perfectly-square holes in doors and getting in wrestling matches with Rutherford.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Everything about this film falls into a certain brand of awful brilliance, so bad-good that it’s hard to put into words (which is why I’ve included so many screen captures in this installment of CotC). Watch it if you’re a fellow corn-lover. You won’t be sorry!

10 thoughts on “Classics of the Corn: The Stuff (1985)

  1. I remember this playing in theaters way back when, but never had the desire to see it. You, Lindsey, may have just changed my mind. And Chocolate Chip Charlie is none other than Garrett Morris, from the early years of ‘Saturday Night Live’!

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      1. Oddly enough, I have one more movie to add to my short list of Netflix discs that remain to be rented…the thirteen I have time to watch before I move and am forced to bring an end to my subscription (which will also free me up to watch the 700+ movies I have waiting on my big DVD tower). I will now add ‘The Stuff’ to that list!

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        1. Email me your thoughts when you watch it if your blog isn’t up and running yet! I’m eager to find out whether I’m the only person who thinks it’s a masterpiece haha.

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