Monster Monday Part X: The Stuff (1985)

Welcome everyone to the TENTH Monster Monday, where I bring you my thoughts on the best (or worst)  80s monster movies! Today we'll be looking at a fascinating (and often forgotten) movie from 1985 known as THE STUFF.

Director: Larry Cohen
Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Paul Sorvino

The Plot:

A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation. But the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world. - IMDb

And remember: Watch The Stuff on!

The Monster:


If you hadn't noticed a trend in my previous Monster Monday updates, I'll make something clear: I love Monsters. And, while I love Monsters of all sorts, it should be no surprise that, just like anything else, I have a particular preference for certain kinds of Monsters. Namely, I prefer them to at least have a subtle resemblance to the human form to manifest the ever so fascinating notion of the uncanny. That is, the recognition of something as familiar yet eerily distinct from that which the thing resembles (in this case, the human body).

But, this of course isn't to say that I don't find completely antithetical Monsters extremely fascinating. On the contrary, creating something entirely otherworldly and obscure can be nearly as appealing for me as the aforementioned preferences. Hence, in my discussion of 1988's "The Blob," I explained how much I loved both the congealed creature itself as well as the film as a whole. "The Stuff" is no different. Much like the the blob in The Blob, The Stuff's creature manages to take things to a whole new level in terms of innovative monstrous forms.

Much like the blob, the monster from "The Stuff" (henceforth, known as the stuff in lowercase) finds itself not taking any particular form but rather as a sort of blob like liquid which mutates itself into different shapes and sizes. Looking simply like a pile of cream or the marshmallow creme stuff you find in the jars, the stuff (on the surface) doesn't look at all menacing. However, the true fury of the stuff is revealed primarily after ingestion, when it manages to explode the consumer from the inside out.

But, unfortunately for those without a sweet tooth, non-consumers are not out of harm's way. At all. Indeed, the stuff need not be ingested to kill. Much like the blob, the stuff is an active, violent organism hell bent on devouring prey anyway it can. Thus, if you come across the stuff, or across someone who consumed the stuff, you're at risk of being violated by the amorphous goo, too! Dessert virgins aren't off the hook.

While the premise of The Stuff (as well as the stuff itself) may initially seem overtly absurd and not worth taking seriously, one need not search long to find underlying commentary which really adds an entirely new dynamic to the dessert-filled spectacle. In fact, it might be argued that The Stuff as commentary is more relevant than ever. When was the last time that people became so obsessed with deconstructing the origins of the plethora of foods we consume on a daily basis?

The recent GMO obsession is seemingly ubiquitous, as consumers become increasingly more skeptical of how their food is grown, processed and delivered. The questionable methods the Monsantos of the world have been accused of using is precisely the sort of thing that The Stuff critiques. Our foods appear to be getting more addictive and irresistible every day, as companies vie for cheap production methods to grow their base and make their products irresistible to consumers. And, while it's true that we may never have to worry about being literally consumed or melting from within due to devouring an irresistible dessert product, The Stuff points out the multiple ways that companies utilize biological tendencies and advertising techniques to the extent that we could very well consume such a thing if it were possible. Indeed, I still have a hard time passing up a delectable looking jar of marshmallow fluff every time I walk by.