“The Stuff” is about a certain cup of white-goo that people eat in an addictive nature and become controlled by it. Yes, that’s what this stuff is about. A boy whos entire family, like everyone’s, spoons the stuff into their mouths faster than the clocks secondhand, suddenly has an epiphany or realization that the stuff is bad. He has sudden outbursts and the father assumes its just child-like immaturity and wont have it, but its all about the stuff. The boy even goes straight to the core: he walks into a grocery store and starts slashing the cups of stuff off the shelves, eventually held down by workers.
Michael Moriarty stars as the agent researching the nutritional merit of the stuff and the people who created it; David ‘Mo’ Rutherford, a hilarious quasi-agent seeking out the ingredients of the popular food substance, the stuff. It’s premise is exactly what you’d expect: Eat the stuff and turn into a eye-melting zombie. But it doesn’t take itself as a serious meditation on the business of food production–though it adds a few punches–it is a rather funny journey to the point of where the stuff accumulates; from the ground, in an end scene that is reminiscent of the end of Close encounters, though less potent with meaning or excitement, just oodles of white-goo spurting from the soil.
Their are some fun characters, some who unexpectedly turn into the stuff zombies, but the main emotional focus the filmmakers want to imprint on us is the little boy, Jason. He eventually meets up with Mo, in desperate anti-stuff evasion, and is turned into the young Ripley-enigma between Nicole, the girl Mo befriends, when they are fighting to get out of the zombie infested wasteland that creates the stuff. It is nice to be able to use the word stuff in a sentence so rightly.
The Stuff is a fun, albeit uneven, ride through a society filled with goo-eating Zombies, even if they don’t at the time act like one; they are persuasive, characteristic, and satirically funny. The thing that makes The Stuff an above-entree in 80s cheese is Michael Moriarty: funny, sensitive, and ultimately a true bad ass who kicks back at the corporation, he leads the film with his definite charisma.