The Stuff is a 1985 science fiction-horror film written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen and starring Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Andrea Marcovicci, and Paul Sorvino.
The plot, a scathing commentary on consumerism
, involves a sticky white glop that is discovered by miners
. Upon tasting it, they discover it has a sweet and highly addictive taste. Later, the slime is marketed as the Stuff and sold to the general public in pint (half-liter) containers like ice cream
. The Stuff becomes a nationwide craze and drastically hurts the sales of ice cream. An industrial saboteur is hired by the leaders of the suffering ice cream industry to find out exactly what the Stuff is and destroy it. His efforts reveal that the craze for the dessert is far more sinister than anyone had thought—it is actually alive, possibly sentient, and gradually takes over the brain
, mutating those who eat it into bizarre zombie
- Some of the substance props or stand-ins for the real Stuff used in the movie included lots of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, yogurt, and, for one scene involving an enormous avalanche-like effect of Stuff crashing though a wall, fire-extinguishing foam. Other shots, such as the ones of the giant lake of Stuff, required superimposed images and animation.
- The scene in the motel where the Stuff comes out of the mattress and pillows and attacks the man on the wall and ceiling was shot in a room that could turn upside down, allowing the Stuff to move up and down the wall. It was exactly the same room used in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) when Johnny Depp's character Glen is sucked into his bed and his blood is regurgitated back out onto the ceiling.
- Writer-director Larry Cohen wanted to cast Arsenio Hall as Chocolate Chip Charlie W. Hobbs, since he thought he was not only good but a rising star. However, the execs at New World Pictures wanted someone more recognizable, and thus cast Garrett Morris instead.
In popular culture
- The Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers" has a similar premise to that of the film. In the episode, Fry, Leela, and Bender land on a planet where they find what looks like fried shrimp nuggets and sell it to a fish restaurant where it becomes insanely popular, until Leela finds out they are actually the recently born children of aliens from Omicron Persei 8.
- The Stuff is an item and collectible card on the virtual pet site Neopets, portrayed as a pink, gooey substance that rapidly grows in size to consume Neopia. It can only be stopped by being eaten.
- In the UK children's series The Sarah Jane Adventures, the episode "Invasion of the Bane" involves a highly addictive soft drink used by aliens to brainwash the British public. The drink, Bubble Shock, contains organic elements from the Bane Mother, which leads to the aliens being able to exert control of people who have drunk it.