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directed by Larry Cohen
USA 1985

 

New World Pictures' THE STUFF is as much a well-remembered eighties cult relic for its satirical plot as it is for Larry Cohen's typically cock-eyed execution: a combination of his casting choices (particularly Moriarty), budgetary restraints, and New World's post-production interference (leading to some abrupt edits). The overnight sensation of the highly addictive desert "The Stuff" ("One lick is never enough!") has ice cream companies panicking, especially after the company buys out the "Chocolate Chip Charlie's" chain (which has its owner Charlie [SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE's Garrett Morris] mighty steamed). The competitors hire industrial spy Mo Rutherford (Michael Moriarty, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT) to discover the formula of "The Stuff" so that they can "improve" it, but it defies chemical analysis apart from containing a "benign bacteria". Rutherford discovers that all of the FDA employees who approved the product are either dead or out of the country with the exception of retired Vickers (Danny Aiello, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA) whose leftover paperwork leads him to a dying Southern town and proof that "The Stuff" is more than addictive; it's actually alive and influencing the behavior of its consumers. Together with the products ad campaign designer Nicole (Andrea Marcovicci, THE HAND), Jason (Scott Bloom, SMOKIN' ACES) - a boy who lost his family to "The Stuff" - and retired Army colonel/right-wing nutjob Malcolm Grommett Spears (Paul Sorvino, GOODFELLAS) to infiltrate the production plant and destroy the amorphous and seemingly sentient threat.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 14 June 1985 (USA)

Reviews                                                             More Reviews                                                 DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:26:27 1:26:31.060
Video

1.81:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 34,571,065,094 bytes

Feature Size: 25,357,618,752 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles none English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.81:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Larry Cohen
• Theatrical Trailer (1:33)
• Larry Cohen Biography

DVD Release Date: 24 October 2000
Amaray

Chapters 26
 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Disc Size: 34,571,065,094 bytes

Feature Size: 25,357,618,752 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• Can't Get Enough of The Stuff (52:10)
• 
Darren Bousman Trailer Commentary (1:48)
• Original Trailer (1:35)
PLUS: 24-page booklet featuring an essay by Joel Harley, Poster Gallery, etc.

DVD

Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - March 2014': Arrow's dual-layered transfer of The Stuff has a max'ed out bitrate and shows significantly more information in the frame, especially on the left side, as compared to the Anchor Bay DVD. the 1080P looks superior in just about every visual area - brighter, more detail, richer colors (outdoor greens, red shirts etc.) There is a bit of depth, but not much - probably a reasonable facsimile of the original theatrical appearance though.

Audio is authentic via a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. There are some incidents where the lossless is exercised and Anthony Guefen's quirky score helps the atmosphere. The Blu-ray offers optional subtitles and the disc is region 'B'-locked.

We lose the commentary found on the 2000 DVD but Arrow add a few ne extras including the, close to hour-long, Can't Get Enough of The Stuff documentary as a Making of... with director Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actor Andrea Marcovicci, makeup effects supervisor Steve Neill and Kim Newman. Director Darren Bousman ala Trailers From Hell gives an amusing commentary for the 1.5 minute trailer and the package contains a 24-page booklet featuring an essay by Joel Harley, a Poster Gallery, and DVD containing the feature and all the extras of the Blu-ray.

The Stuff's similarities with The Blob are obvious. There is some fun to be had - but this is still a poor production with weak effects. Actually this can give the film some kitschy value. Arrow have put a lot into their Blu-ray package - probably (again) more than the film deserves but fans will certainly appreciate. If you are in the mood for this level of 'cheese' (and even if you aren't - this package will push you there) this offers the best presentation you are likely to ever find.

***

ON THE DVD: Director Larry Cohen provides a solo audio commentary for the film. He discusses the changes New World imposed on the film (splitting up the opening montage of "The Stuff" commercials to different spots in the film), originally casting actor Brian Bloom for the role of Jason only to have the actor suggest using his younger brother for the part (Brian Bloom ended up playing the older brother in the film), and working with Michael Moriarty. He also talks frankly about the production challenges including losing a prop car and an entire scene to a botched (and seemingly cruel) practical joke on Moriarty involving his son as well as shooting in unplanned snow that damaged unprotected lighting equipment and generators, and also goes in detail about the execution of the film's special effects involving David Allen (PUPPET MASTER) stop-motion, miniatures, and an entire set manually rocked and turned upside down by a group of teamsters (for a scene where an actor and a large amount of "The Stuff" has to climb the walls and ceiling).

The Anchor Bay DVD is out of print but THE STUFF is available on Region 1 DVD from Image Entertainment (HERE) although it does not have the extras from the earlier release.

 -Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze

 


Menus
(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT)


 

 
 

 


 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - on Blu-ray only

 

 

Screen Captures

(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 


(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video- Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Draw

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 0 - PAL

 




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