MovieChat Forums > The Stuff (1985) Discussion > Could the Stuff be plausible?

Could the Stuff be plausible?


Okay, don't lock me into the loony bin straight away, just hear me out.

I recently saw the movie and thought it was fairly decent in certain aspects. (I just wish there were more scares/goriness in the film) But I was thinking that maybe the Stuff might be a somewhat feasible life-form. I mean, wouldn't it be awfully convenient for a parasite that requires the host to ingest it to be tasty? I know this doesn't usually happen in the world of parasites - the one I'm thinking of is the parasitic worm, where the host ingests its eggs and the creature itself reaches maturity in the host's intestines. There's also ones that live in the flesh of an animal and is consumed when the meat isn't properly cooked.

The Stuff doesn't necessarily fit this, though. It seems like a unicellular creature that lives in colonies, since it can be divided up and still survive. I've seen some people liken The Stuff to The Thing, which I can most definitely understand.

So what I'm wondering is: would it theoretically be possible for an organism similar to The Stuff to exist? This would most likely be a unicellular organism that lives in large colonies and works with others of its species. It might secrete some kind of compound that animals find extremely tasty. Upon being ingested by the animal, the organism finds some way out of the digestive tract to affect the brain and make the animal addicted to either the substance or the organism itself. Then, as the organism multiplies within the animal (either by reproduction or the animal ingesting so much of it), it slowly consumes the animal from the inside.

Now, I can think of about three things that might make this not work out:

1) The organism would have to find itself a way to survive the low pH levels within the stomach.

2) The organism would have to find a way to keep the host alive at least for a short duration of time before the host loses so much body mass, organs, etc. that it can't stay alive. I don't think the Stuffies would necessarily be possible in this case. In the movie, if you banged a Stuffie on the head or something, it would cave in and the Stuff would come out instead of blood. I think a person would have died long ago in real life.

3) The organism would have to find a way to escape the digestive system. Most parasites that enter through your digestive system stay there.

So there you have it; all my little speculations. I'd love to know what you think, and what your opinions/theories are.

One more thing, so that I don't have to start another thread: did anybody think that the scene where they force those two guys to eat the Stuff insanely spooky? For me, I think that was probably the scariest scene. The guys at first were so reluctant to eat it, and by the end they were devouring the last drops, probably fully knowing what would happen to them but unable to help themselves. Rutherford and the kid too! I mean, I can wish some nasty things on people but this is beyond the pale to me. It's comparable to forcing someone to use meth. You know full well that they'll get addicted and kill themselves with it; all you have to do is watch.

If it had been me to choose the Stuff or a bullet, it would most definitely be the bullet.

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moe and jason did that to teach them a lesson. they knew this product was dangerous yet continued to sell it and reap profits off it so you can say moe just gave them their just desserts. they knew they would die either way so i guess they would rather die as stuffies than with a bullet. and you think it was justified that his family died from the stuff? now jason has no family because of the stuff. so i think they got what was coming to them.

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"You better eat that or you're gonna eat this."

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yes sir that is exactly what moe said. so either way you look at it they were going to die. so naturally eat the stuff and become a stuffie and the cops arrest you and haul you off to prison. go figure.

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Regarding the OP's post, I'm not sure even Larry Cohen himself had given it much thought - particularly to the ins-and-outs (pardon the pun) of how the Stuff works.

For me, I've always had an unhealthy fascination with the movie - it's by no means a perfect film, but it is one of my favs of all time - for exactly the scary/interesting premise it brings up. if you can see past the overlining silliness.

Yes, I always found the forcing of The Stuff scene a bit scary, too. However, given the satirical overtones of the movie, and with the right amount of artistic licence, I guess it is fitting that they were forced to eat what they promoted - i.e. "suicide". What's all the more scary is the reluctance, and then soona fter, the two old guys fighting one another over the remaining pots.

The problem with the movie is that it didn't really address who The Stuff is, where it came from, what it wants, and how it works. It's really a kitchen-sink drama that happens to contain some white gloop.

Now, if a remake is abound, which is could be - It's Alive had a whisper of a remake a year ago - then the remake should explore the origins of The Stuff. It's simply not enough (afterall, when ever is enough?) just to say it eats you inside and out and takes off" - great, but why? Where's it going? What happens when it finishes? I envisage a final shot of the movie from the moon's perspective, and the Earth looking like it has snow on top, and it's slowly consuming everything in sight.

Does The Stuff discriminate? Obviously it has no problem going after children. But it hates fire. Well, that's just daft - why not put a ring of fire, like a moat, around your house? Or around entire cities? if the Eath's core is essentially very, very hot - well, that doesn't make sense at all: The Stuff came from there. Perhaps it was just desperate to get out from inside Earth and ate its way up into an oil refinery.

Or how about the old miner who tasted it. How did he convince *anyone* to taste it too, particualrly without any history of how he made it. How did it get from his tongue to the supermarket shelves. I find that kind of question fascinating.

The Stuff also misses a "bad guy" in human form. I'm not talking about the two old guys at the end, they're not really bad guys: you forget about them after you've seen them until they reappear at the end. I'm talking like real, true bad guys.

If you've seen the remake of The Blob (from 1988) you'll see how The Stuff missed its mark and forgot to include why it did what it did. A remake in this day and age, now we're all so calorie conscious, is all the more fitting.

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Thanks for the nice post, drexl-8. I agree with you about the movie. It has an absolutely fascinating premise and themes, but the way they actually pulled off the film was rather lackluster (to say the least). I'd love to see a remake with better special effects, acting, examination of the Stuff and the society gorging on it, etc.

I think when I wrote my first post, my view on the force-feeding scene was stronger than it is now. I don't think Rutherford and Jason were so much 'teaching them a lesson'; more like a creative murder. My impression on the Stuff was that, once you got hooked on it, death by the Stuff was eventual. Having a long, drawn out death where you lose all desire for things other than the Stuff, and being slowly eaten alive, is rather horrifying. To me, a quick death by shooting is more preferable.

The way I saw the Stuff was like I had described in my first post: a unicellular entity that's communal. Obviously, they never explained its origins, but I like to think that it was simply buried beneath the ground in antiquity. It was just this mindless organism whose one purpose was to consume as much as it could in order to reproduce itself. That scene you envision where the Stuff slowly engulfs the Earth would be quite a sight.

My first post was sort of a mental exercise, to see if other posters and myself could dream up a biologically feasible Stuff. Ultimately, I don't think it's really possible, but in the interim I did think up a way that the Stuff makes animals addicted. The extremely tasty stubstance it secretes gets absorbed by the digestive system, gets into the bloodstream, and makes it way to the brain, and acts like any other addictive substance. I can't imagine why I didn't think of it before.

Also, about the old miner getting people to taste it: I wouldn't know about the beginning stages in marketing the product, but I can certainly see where government organizations would drop the ball. Much of the time when it comes to food, regulation is very lax, and if there isn't detrimental short-term effects after consuming something, they approve it. Also, a lot of the American public don't monitor what they eat. Many people assume that since they found it on a store shelf, of course it must be safe to eat! They also don't look at ingredients labels either. I think that would be an awesome thing to point out in the film too.

You know, I usually don't write posts this long, but this movie is pretty fun to discuss.

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I think your last main paragraph contains what I would like to see really investigated in any remake. Killer yoghurt aside, I find the fact the FDA can approve subtances that the general public can't be bothered to monitor VERY scary indeed.

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The Flouride in your toothpaste is harmful and is said to cause cancer. But since it's the government that was responsible for manufacturing and creating it (as a by-product of Atomic testing) it doesn't come with any health warnings (unlike the cigar companies). Go Figure!

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[deleted]

In the insect world, I think there actually are some parasites that have mind control capabilities. I seem to remember a particular parasite that infects ants (or some other insect). At some point, it forces the insect to climb up to the end of a twig, and make itself visible and tasty looking, so that a bird will come along and eat it. The parasite then finishes it's cycle within the bird.

Of course, many fruits are tasty. Animals eat the fruit and pass the seed. In fact, I think the seeds of some plants can't germinate until they have been softened up by the digestive process.

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[deleted]

[deleted]

There's already an animal sort of like "The Stuff" that operates in a similar way. Slime molds are blobs of unicellular animals that move together, consuming organic material and propagating itself.

They can and do eat people from the inside out, but it's very rare for that to happen. The mold is toxic and causes extreme allergic reactions. It also is very weak compared to the immune system.

#1 isn't a problem because the slime mold lives in the lungs. Presumably the stuff could move out of the stomach before it was dissolved.

#2 isn't a problem for funguses because they send out small hyphae that can penetrate and partially consume organs without killing the animal. In some cases they can actually replace the organ.

#3 is easy too, the hyphae break the skin and produce fruiting bodies that release spores. This happens in the movie and in real life.

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[deleted]

Probably not impossible, but most parasite on Earth couldn't handle the acids in the stomach. The Stuff that was found came from underground. That 'stuff' would have never made it to market, as someone would have to see how it was made first. Those guys were just have trucks syphon it out of the ground and shipped to the frozon food section. lol!! I think there were some deleted scenes in this movie as well.

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There actually are a few parasites that behave somewhat like the stuff. None of them infect humans, however.

The sacculina is a type of shell-less barnacle – more like a slug – that likes to attach itself to crabs, inject itself inside, take over the crab's brain, poke its head out the top of the shell and drive the crab around the ocean floor like an undersea dune buggy. If not for the horrific, zombie-like "loss of free will" implications, this life cycle is downright funny.

There also exists a species of fungus – the cordyceps unilateralis – that can't reproduce unless its spores are ingested by ants. The spores then take over the ant's brain and compel it to climb a plant and fuse itself to the stem with its mandibles. The spores keep growing until the ant's head explodes, releasing more spores.

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I think the Stuff parasite is able to psychically bond with a host, and that's why humans are so quick to taste it.

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They based the fungus from ,"The Last of Us" after the Cordyceps...that's why the victims heads looked the way they did, and behaved like mindless aggressive zombies.

Wake up, Time to DIE.

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