Larry Cohen’s The Stuff — as my podcasting partner in crime, James Harris and I discussed last night on the podcast — is a film once seen as “obscure” that has found a much wider audience on home video. This is actually the second time that Arrow Video has released the movie to Blu-ray. Granted the first release was a region B-locked UK Blu-ray, but the number of hardcore collectors who have gone region-free is increasing every day. One of the perks of being a boutique label like Arrow, Scream Factory, Synapse, Vinegar Syndrome, or any other such company, is that you have a platform to expose newer viewers to titles that were too niche to gain much mainstream traction about initial, and even re-release. So many obscure movies — and especially those which have been released by Arrow in the US since the launch of their American wing — have found new life with first-time viewers. And The Stuff deserves the attention. This is a movie that was released ahead of its time. Satirical genre movies are nothing new, but the height of the satire in Larry Cohen’s Blob-esque cult film revels in hilarity. It’s so ridiculous that it hits closer to home than maybe even intended. With the current level of materialism, it may be even more relevant now than it was when it hit the screen over thirty years ago.
As as come to be expected from Arrow releases, the picture and sound quality of the transfer on this disc are both top-notch. What you get is a 2K restoration from the original camera negative, and and uncompressed PCM mono audio track. Taking into consideration that this movie was released in 1985, the Arrow Video presentation is the best it has ever, and possibly could ever be. I do not own the UK release of the movie, and what I personally had prior to this Blu-ray, and what I used for reference when judging the quality of the video therein, is the Image Entertainment “Midnight Madness Series” DVD release from 2011. I am uncertain, as to whether or not this transfer is “new” to the region, as in, it’s the same Arrow used for their region B release, but I do know that it boasts “new high definition restoration” on the back of the package. However, if you don’t own the UK release, none of that matters. As far as what has been available in our region, this new release is the gold standard. If you own the previous version, it’s doubtful that you’re going to need to upgrade. And as far as the bonus content goes, it seems to be the same as made available with the previous, B-locked release. Nothing has been removed, but it doesn’t appear that anything has been added, either.
Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray release of The Stuff is highly recommended for people who held out for a region A release of the movie. While the transfer is ported over from the Region B release, as well as all of the extras, if you either aren’t region-free, or didn’t feel like paying a hefty import fee, now is your time to upgrade from the previous DVD release of the movie. The quality is great, the extras are serviceable if you haven’t seen them before, and the packaging, including the colorful and informative booklet that comes packaged inside the case, “new” cover-art and a reverse cover featuring the original art, if you’re a fan of Larry Cohen’s The Stuff, you will be most pleased with this new release. The current asking-price on Amazon is a relatively steep $39.95, but if you feel like getting it for significantly cheaper, as well as supporting an independent business, you can pick it up for $24.95 over at DiabolikDVD. If you’re in The Market for a taste of The Stuff, this disc is highly recommended.