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The Blob

March 22nd, 2008 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments


Please add 1988’s THE BLOB on to the short list of worthy horror remakes. It easily makes the cut and, in many ways, surpasses the original. It effortlessly grafts the popular slasher elements of its day with ALIENS-inspired, pulse-pounding sci-fi set pieces while bending over backwards to salute 1950’s era paranoia, and small town sentimentality. No small feat considering it has to work against its highly mocked and innately silly title.

   Director CHUCK RUSSELL (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS) juggles a multitude of various characters and story lines with ease. Our introductions to the residents of Arborville, a town that has seen better days, are short, sweet and effective. By the time THE BLOB gets rolling, the viewer is highly invested. High on the list of folks to cheer for is cheerleader Meg Penny (the worship-able SHAWNEE SMITH), her clean-cut date Paul Taylor (DONAVAN LEITCH) and sourpuss Snake Plisken-in-training Brian Flagg (KEVIN DILLON). Don’t get too attached to football hero Paul, RUSSELL derives much electricity from the inevitable attraction of rogue outsider Brian and apple pie Meg.

 The amorphous creature of the title is a giant step forward from its previous incarnation. It owes much of its new sheen and flexibility to ROB BOTTIN‘s innovative concepts from JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING. There seems little it can’t do. Sometimes appearing as almost globs of uncooked meat, it sprouts tentacles and appendages at will and can shrink to fit into a drain pipe or expand to uproot an entire street. Most of the effects are still highly impressive though some opticals are charmingly dated. Sure there are giant leaps in plausibility throughout, but the film has earned so much goodwill by these points that one would have to be a real curmudgeon to care.
A scene snagged from the original classic, set in a movie theater showing the mid-eighties appropriate “GARDEN TOOL MASSACRE” is a strobe lit bonanza of popcorn-flying pandemonium and purple hued transforming gelatinous goo. It’s here that our hero Meg really shines. Taking it upon herself to retrieve her younger brother, the plucky do-gooder decides she’ll do some transforming herself, and takes on the form of a suburban Ellen Ripley complete with a dank, waterlogged, maternal-warrior venture through the blob occupied bowels of the sewer. 

  By this point our rebel without a comb Brian is learning just how updated the title creature has become. No longer an alien creature from outer space as in the original, this abomination is man made. The meteor the creature sprung from is actually more of a crashed satellite, complete with American flag insignia. He not only overhears that it is a germ warfare experiment that’s gone out of control, but that his entire town is expendable in the eyes of the government. Suddenly he’s not so different from all those people he’s been so dead set on distancing himself from. He returns to the town to fetch the girl he once left behind and the community he abandoned.

There are way too many clever in-jokes to list, and tiny asides from the beginning of the picture pay off handsomely later on. The final solution is not only clever, but results in a rather beautiful to behold snow globe inspired climactic scene. With all its gruesome effects, firecracker explosions and gun riddled chase scenes, THE BLOB truly has heart. Once divided, the town does come together to defeat their mutual foe, and it’s all very full circle and fuzzy. The final tag on sequel baiting scene is one of my favorites of all time. So when are those Hollywood dumdums going to get around to re-making SON OF BLOB?indelible scenes
  • The whole buying a condom at Mr. Penny (ART LAFLUER)’s pharmacy bit is great and has a hilarious pay-off
  • The BLOB’s attack on the homeless guy and the resulting doctor’s office invasion
  • Scott (RICKY PAULL GOLDIN)’s parked car make out session ends in a squirming, head deflating, blobby mess
  • I don’t pretend to understand the logistics of the drainpipe scene, but I love it anyway
  • CANDY CLARK(CAT’S EYE) meets her date the Sheriff in an unfortunate (for both of them) telephone booth crushing scene
  • All scenes with lil’ Kevin Penny and his Pal Eddie sneaking off to the slasher flick and the dialogue that ensues are hilarious. (Tough luck only one makes it out alive!) Favorite line: “I’m sorry, I’ll never see a movie again!” or maybe it’s this line from the in-movie flick GARDEN TOOL MASSACRE (upon seeing a hockey-masked man wielding a hedge trimmer) “Wait, Hockey season ended months ago!”
  • Reverend Meeker (DEL CLOSE who was actually in BEWARE THE BLOB! aka SON OF BLOB) will be back! (God willing!)


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Tags: Tykes in Trouble

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 VicarOfVHSNo Gravatar // Mar 24, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Good call, as always. Though the fx were giant leaps over the Steve McQueen original, I very much enjoyed watching the “how they did it” featurette on the Criterion version of the old one, and basking in the inventiveness and sleight-of-eye tricks they had to pull off to make the thing squirm. (My fave–an invertible miniature grocery store strapped to the camera.)

    As for trauma, that make-out session is the stuff of 80s pubescent nightmares. I remember thinking, if I ever got my hand inside a girl’s shirt, it would be just my luck that her funbags would be full of BLOB. 🙂

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 26, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Something that I forgot to mention is that THE BLOB’s screenplay was written by Frank Darabont, director of THE MIST and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. Please add that fact to the growing pile of reasons THE BLOB kicks ass.

  • 3 KahotepNo Gravatar // May 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I saw this at a drive-in in Great Falls, Montana. I’d just been posted to Malmstrom AFB, I’d just got a car, and was on a date with a girl who liked horror movies, and seemed to like me… only the heavy petting scene in the movie spoiled the mood with the date.
    Good movie though…

  • 4 icysugarspikeNo Gravatar // Oct 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    The ending scene with Reverend Meeker and the glass jar was highly memorable. Good remake.

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