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The Stuff
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Can't Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen's Classic Creature Feature - Documentary featuring Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman
  • Introduction and trailer commentary by director and The Stuff fan Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III)
  • Original Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joel Harley, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials

The Stuff

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Larry Cohen
1985 | 87 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: April 19, 2016
Review Date: April 18, 2016

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SYNOPSIS

Are you eating it ...or is it eating you? The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It's delicious, low in calories and - better still - doesn't stain the family carpet... What's not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we're not talking friendly live bacteria... Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn't love The Stuff - in fact he won't go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What's more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird... Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur "Mo", Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise. Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen (director of the It's Alive series and scribe behind the Maniac Cop trilogy), The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as Street Trash with the straight-up B-movie flavour of The Blob. So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff - the taste that delivers... much more than you bargained for!


PICTURE

Larry Cohenís The Stuff receives a new Blu-ray edition from Arrow, presenting it in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc. The new 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation comes from a new 2K scan and restoration performed by Arrow, taken from the original camera negative.

Arrow again surpasses expectations and this 80ís B-movie looks like something could have been made today. Similar to quite a few of Arrowís genre releases I had only seen the film previously on VHS and I still have certain memories on how the film looked then: fuzzy and dark. I think what caught me so off guard about the film here is just how colourful it is. There are many moments with fairly vibrant pinks, purples, reds, and even greens, and theyíre wonderfully rendered here. Black levels also look rich and deep, and the darker sequences are easier to see, though crushing is a mild nuisance in a couple of them. Details and textures are sharp, with finer details even popping, and fine patterns are also cleanly rendered. Film grain has been left intact and it looks quite natural throughout, and I didnít detect any noise, compression artifacts, or edge-enhancement anywhere.

The restoration work has also been very thorough. There are a couple of moments where the image seems to pulse a bit, causing colours to mildly fluctuate, and some of the optical effects can look a bit rough, either with some fading around the edges evident or presenting minor scratches and marks. Some optical effects can also look a little smudgy, lacking dimension and depth as a side-effect, but this is an issue with the original film and a byproduct of the older effects. Outside of these few moments the image is pretty much spotless, with nary a mark or blemish present. In the end I highly doubt the film ever looked this good, even during its original theatrical release. Itís striking, something I would have never expected for this film.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with a lossless PCM 1.0 mono track. The quality is excellent, with no signs of damage present. Dialogue is clear, music sounds clean, and range and fidelity are both strong. It may only be a monaural presentation but itís a fairly strong one.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

One of the bigger, better known cult titles to be released by Arrow, I was a little surprised to see there was only one significant supplement on here, though admittedly itís a fairly substantial one. Arrow presents the 52-minute making-of Canít Get Enough of The Stuff, which includes interviews with director Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, effects guy Steve Neill, actress Andrea Marcovicci, and film critic Kim Newman (sadly, no Michael Moriarty). In terms of making-of documentaries it doesnít break any new ground, but I suspect fans of the film will be more than happy with it, and it at least has some fun film geekdom injected by Newman. It gives a fairly extensive backstory to the filmís production, particularly where the idea was born from (not surprisingly it was born from the 80s consumerist culture and the rise of junk food), while also providing various comments about the cast, particularly Michael Moriarty who would work with Cohen five times. Unsurprisingly the studio was a little disappointed with what they got: they were expecting a fairly straightforward and gory horror film when in fact it was more of a comedy. Cohen does try to stress, though, that while the film was a satirical comedy at heart he didnít want to make a message movie and was more interested in just trying to make something fun. This is a noble desire but unfortunately it sounds like this was done at the expense of coherence: I canít say I was too surprised to learn that despite the film having a script a lot of it was made up on the spot while filming. Again, I donít think it offered any real surprises but it was an engaging and informative documentary.

Following that Arrow includes Darren Bousmanís Trailers From Hell comments on the filmís trailer, running under 2-minutes, followed by the filmís actual theatrical trailer. Arrow also includes a booklet (that will be limited to the first pressing I believe) featuring an essay by John Harley, who goes over the genre crossing elements found within the film, mentions other horror films that deal with food in interesting ways (from Se7en to Salo to the Killer Tomato films), and the influence The Stuff has had on pop-culture since, right down to a couple or references found in Futurama episodes.

In the end there is a slight sting of being underwhelmed, but admittedly Iím not sure what else could have been included. Deleted footage (like the unused in-film commercials for The Stuff) would have been nice, though Cohen does say in the documentary that this footage (or at least those commercials) are now lost. There was a commentary featuring Cohen on the old out-of-print Anchor Bay DVD that would have been nice to get, but I can only guess that Arrow was unable to license it. At least the documentary covers the filmís production thoroughly.

5/10

CLOSING

Fans will want this for presentation alone. Arrow has done an incredible job, giving it the love and attention one probably wouldnít expect for a film of this type. It truly looks outstanding.




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