Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Blob (1958)

The Blob (USA, 1958) - Color, Director(s): Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
[UK: 15]
Approx. 86 min.

Z-rating: 3 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

The Blob is one of those classic monster movies that everyone is probably at least aware of, even if they haven't actually seen the film. There have been numerous pop culture references to the gelatinous alien and it has practically become a trope in the Sci-Fi genre. At the time of its release, this was the drive-in movie for young people. Fast cars, drag racing, adults not believing them about a giant mass of corrosive space slime. The movie featured the film debut of Aneta Corsaut (who would go on to find fame on The Andy Griffith Show) and Steve McQueen's first leading role before he became the "ultra-cool male film star of the 1960's." Literally a B-movie, The Blob premiered as the second half of a double feature with I Married a Monster from Outer Space but was eventually moved up to feature film status where it would rake in millions at the box office.

Based on a true story of 'star jelly', a gelatinous purple glob, that crashed down in a farmer’s field outside of Philadelphia in 1950 and dissolved before scientists could dissect it. Two police officers reported seeing a shimmering object fall from the sky and crashing in an open field. Upon further investigation, they found a domed disk that measured 6 feet in diameter and a foot thick at the center. When they attempted to pick it up, it fell apart like gelatin and had completely evaporated a half-hour after they arrived.

In the movie, a meteor lands in a small Pennsylvania town where a couple of teens (McQueen and Corsaut) notice and go looking for it. Some old guy finds it first and (of course) pokes it with a stick which cracks the meteorite open, revealing the creamy center. Proving once again why it's probably a bad idea to poke meteorites with a stick, the ooze attaches to his hand and he can't get it off. While stumbling around in excruciating pain, he's picked up by Steve McQueen who rushes him to the local doctor. Upon arriving at the doctor's office, they notice the parasite has consumed more of his arm and is growing. Before the doctor is able to amputate his arm, The Blob dissolves the old man completely and begins terrorizing the town. The townsfolk try everything but realize that bullets, acid, and even electricity cannot harm it. Growing in size each time it consumes something, they must figure out how to stop it before it devours the whole town.

Nudity: None.

Gore: None, people are consumed and dissolved by The Blob but much of the violence is implied.

Awesome: Pretty awesome. This is definitely a classic as far as monster movies and creature features are concerned. Every year, there is an annual Blobfest held in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where the Colonial Theatre is located. They re-enact the scene where movie patrons run screaming from The Blob. If you've never seen this movie, I would definitely recommend seeing it. Although there are a couple long and slow scenes that are awkward and ruin the pacing of the film. The 1988 remake really improves on the special effects though and I actually prefer it to the original. The real star of any monster movie is the monster itself and while this one does a fantastic job with miniatures to create a threatening monster out of a blob of jelly, the remake actually shows people getting dissolved by the corrosive space snot. I do like how this movie ends with the words 'The End' turning into a '?' and the theme song is just fantastic. This is one of those situations where the remake is on par or (depending on who you ask) may even be superior to the original. I say rent both for a double feature with some friends and maybe serve some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or some jelly donuts. Should make for a fun night!