The Stuff (1985)

Horror/Comedy Rated 18

Spoiler Free

Sometimes I write Bedsit Cinema reviews that aren't just about the film. Ok a lot of the time. What I always aim to do is tell you my experience of seeing some cinema, I hope that's what can be fun about it! With zero slight of hand…

My girlfriend was away for ten days or so and I treated myself to a Halloween month treat at my fav, The Prince Charles Cinema (PCC) in London's Leicester Square. The Stuff I'd not seen before and it sounded like exactly my kind of crap: 80's practical effects nonsense. I was looking forward to it, knowing I'd be sharing the cinema with people who also knew what they were in for. It's about a mysterious sludge that inevitably kills people, that's all I knew. The West End, the only part of London where if you walk out in front of cars they don't just put their foot down and turn the wipers on. The side effect of that is TFL's bus timings are fucked because people take the piss in the roads. I'll take not getting wiped out I guess, but it is frustrating.

See, the thing is my friend, and a while ago ex, Anna killed herself very recently. I've been finding it hard and trying to go on at work with a lot of outside cries. This last week it overwhelmed me something rotten. I lost my very dear friend Matt to cancer ten years ago last week but cancer doesn't hit as hard as suicide. I've had nightmares no horror film can do to scare.

I don't know how she died, other than by her own hands, but her literally cutting them off (I know was a dream and I appreciate the logistics of this don't stack up) in front of me is perhaps worse than her rotting corpse talking to me. Both plague me. This does pick up, I promise.

After a week locked in my room I dragged myself to London’s west end, where buses don't work and 90% of people treat the area like church, all dolled up and drunk. I was raised Catholic, so that is church; they literally serve booze to children.

On the train up I cried twice. I can't emphasise enough how much I hate crying. Especially in public. Getting to the station was the hardest thing I've done recently. Once I was in the cinema I chilled, my eyes dried and I hoped for some fun on the big screen. There were more ladies there for this type of film than usual, perhaps that's a change in promotion of the cinema or maybe all the guys in the entirely male John Carpenter marathon I went to got partners. I hope it's the latter, but money for the PCC is money for the PCC.

The Stuff opens with the most hilarious, short form exposition I think I've ever seen. The acting is, deliberately, mostly commercial level thespianism. People discover how delicious semen/cocaine is and decide to sell it. Given how addictive it is I’m guessing it is the latter, this is nineteen eighties America, it’d have fucked the plot if the CIA came in and added bicarbonate of soda.

A white substance that gets people hooked, but that also looks like spunk, but sold as yoghurt, a giant swarming load which bubbles ominously phallically, threatens all consumers in America. ALL People get hooked by eating it which in my experience isn't what happens but I think the filmmakers are playing a clever double entendre there. Still though, The Stuff is self aware, I don't think there's many accidents in this B Movie.

Michael Moriarity is absolutely fantastic as the lead creep, or anti-hero. Like a taller, young Anthony Hopkins he's exceptional at driving the knowing cheese of The Stuff. Paul Sorvino shows up and gets one of the best lines in the film which I think was the least appreciated of all of the so knowingly silly writing in the film. They whack in some fun practical effects, more explosions than one might expect and ignore all of the plot holes and gaps in story to hilarious effect.

Calling The Stuff a horror is probably wrong, it’s more a comedy. It’s not one everyone but the theatre I was in seemed to love it. I loved it, and I felt like Adam again for a bit. Isn’t that an important, if not the most important part, of enjoying a film? Then I had to get a fucking bus.

Bedsit it?

Yes, pay it full attention though because you won't appreciate all the subtext and nuance in amongst all the jizz. Cut short at some points as if the editor said we don't need this for fuck's sake, nobody needs dialogue, but who cares this is fun!  7/10

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