THE BLOB (1958)

The Blob'The Criterion Collection' have recently released a re-mastered edition of the 82-minute horror movie, 'The Blob'. It was directed by Irvin Yeaworth Junior; it stars Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, and Earl Rowe, and it comes with a whole host of special features. This includes two directors' commentaries, the original trailer, a memorabilia gallery devised by the collector, Wes Shank, entitled 'Blobabilia!', along with a visual essay from either Bruce Kawin or Kim Newman. Please enjoy.

The Blob [Blu-ray]

Hello, Lieutenant Dave (Earl Rowe). I’m so sorry for interrupting you at a time like this, but I’m afraid to say that I have something to tell you. Something rather strange.

You see, a few hours ago, both me and my girlfriend, Jane (Aneta Corsaut), were hanging out by Lovers Point, when suddenly we saw a bright light flash across the sky. At first, we thought it was a star, or something of that nature, shooting over our heads just like they usually do at night. But then, when we got closer to see what was going on, we found out that it was nothing, nothing at all, until we bumped into an old man lying by the side of the road, clutching onto his hand, obviously in pain.

So, just like any responsible teenager, we quickly drove him to the Doctor’s Office, Doctor Hallen (Stephen Chase), just so he could look him over and find out what’s wrong. It was a parasite, a very creepy looking parasite, which had attached itself onto the old man’s hand and was slowly starting to suck the life out of him.

Now I know all of this sounds completely crazy, Lieutenant Dave, real crazy, but if you think that’s bad, worst still, the doctor and the old man then suddenly disappeared, around about the same time the parasite — the big, fat, gelatinous parasite — decided to kill everyone nearby. But then again, that’s most probably why what next transpires begins when you take off your hat, look me squarely in the eye, and say, ‘Steve (Steve McQueen)? Are you drunk?’. As a town begins to scream — a group of friends becomes a team — a parasitic alien picks up steam — and at the end of the day, who fancies jelly and cold ice cream?

There comes a time in every film fans life where they feel compelled to watch a movie due to its relevance within cinematic history. For instance, some people might want to watch ‘The Big Boss’, circa 1971, because it marked Bruce Lee’s debut in a full-length motion picture. Whereas some others might want to watch ‘Half Moon Street’, circa 1986, because there’s a pretty good chance they’ll get to see Sigourney Weaver’s tits.

So, with that said, why do you think I wanted to watch ‘The Blob’? Could it have something to do with me being: (1) A big fan of the sci-fi and horror genres. (2) A bigger fan of watching crap. (3) An even bigger fan of animated jelly. Or (4) A humongous fan of Steve McQueen that wanted to watch him in his first full-length feature film.

The Blob - Movie Poster
Well, if truth be told, all of these answers are obviously true for fairly simple reasons: Steve McQueen’s a magnificent actor, sci-fi and horror are exciting and interesting genres, and mobile jelly made from crap is funny to look at, Ha! Seriously though, folks, from a historical point of view, this is one of those films which is dated, simple, and not overly sophisticated, yet has a number of discernible qualities that make it stand out from the crowd. After all, how many times have you watched a movie where a small suburban town gets sucked to death by a gigantic puddle of goo? Not many, that’s for sure, and only goes to show how a straightforward narrative can be highly entertaining in spite of its age.

Well, if you’re a bit like me, and you sometimes crave nostalgia, all in all, you can’t really go wrong when it comes down to watching this flick. Not only does it highlight vintage fashion, vintage automobiles, and vintage locations, but in addition to this, it also has a sense of vintage values that's very much of its time. This ranges from the behavior of certain characters (What? A teenager without a mobile phone?); to the relevancy of certain events (Is drag racing still a thing?); and to the clothes, the garments, and the uniforms worn by numerous members of the cast (Who wants to buy a polo neck?).

The Blob At The Cinema

We also have to acknowledge that this movie was probably one of the earliest of its kind to mix together both sci-fi and horror elements: Similar to other sci-fi classics made during this era, such as ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ (1951), ‘Forbidden Planet’ (1956), ‘It Came from Outer Space’ (1953), plus many, many, more. Although, in this particular instance, there’s a certain ‘drive-in movie’ quality that acts in its detriment.

The Blob - Poster
But before I elaborate any further, I think that now would be a pretty good time for us to sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts. (1) 'Paramount Pictures' first released this one-hundred-and-ten-thousand dollar production on exactly the same day Chris Columbus, the American filmmaker, was born. It was on the 10th of September, 1958, and it eventually clawed back four million dollars at the Box Office. (2) During pre-production this flick was given two working titles: "The Molten Meteor", which is what it was called in its synopsis, and "The Glob", which was going to be its given name until the filmmakers found out that there was a Walt Kelly cartoon which had that title already. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Liquid Death' in Finland; 'Invasion from an Unknown Planet' in Greece; and 'The Voracious Spot' in Argentina. (4) Did you recognize what film was being played during those scenes set inside the theatre? If not, then you might like to know that it was the 1955 horror classic, 'Dementia', albeit the re-cut version entitled, "Daughter of Horror", which had some extra narration added by Ed McMahon, from Johnny Carson fame. (5) The majority of this movie was shot inside 'Yellow Springs Studios', based in Chester Springs; 'Valley Forge Studios', based in Valley Forge; and some of it was shot on location throughout the American state of Pennsylvania. This includes Downingtown, Royersford, Valley Forge, Chester Springs, and Phoenixville, the latter of which is where the Colonial Theater and the Doctors house were located. (6) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, states, 'Bloated with the blood of its victims!'. (7) The 27-year-old Steve McQueen was offered two options for starring in this film. He would either receive two-and-a-half-thousand dollars for his services or ten percent of the profits. He chose the two-and-a-half thousand dollar option, because he didn't think the film was going to make much money, even though it ended up grossing over four million dollars. (8) After this adventure slimed all over the screen, Steve McQueen starred in the crime-drama, 'The Saint Louis Bank Robbery'; Aneta Corsaut starred in the western, 'Black Saddle'; and Earl Rowe starred in the TV series, 'Naked City'.

The Blob Attacks Nurse

Now, where was I? Oh yes! The flaws featured in this film. All those many, many, flaws, that 'The Blob' unfortunately possesses. This includes the acting, which was occasionally wooden and stiff; the special effects, which was laughable at best; as well as the overall style of the film, which was flat, monotonous, and very, very, fifties. In fact, this film was so God damn fifties, I kept on expecting some of the characters to spout phrases such as, ‘Gee-Whiz’, ‘Squaresville’, and ‘Daddy-Oh’, along with a number of other vintage idioms those cats purred back in the day. But thankfully, this was few and far between, and in a roundabout way, the best thing about this film is it’s charming Americana style.

Trust me, folks, once you’ve seen ‘The Blob’, you won’t forget it as it’s just cram-packed with some very memorable moments that will stay with you like a lobotomy. So go ahead, check it out, and try to ignore the sight of Steve McQueen pretending to be younger than he is, the groovy sound of Burt Bacharach's early musical score, the overall ambiance of fifties nostalgic Americana, and the feeling you get when you’ve watched something old that seems very, very new (Gasp!!!!! The Blob was made from silicon).


THE BLOB (1958) THE BLOB (1958) Reviewed by David Andrews on December 03, 2018 Rating: 5

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