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Horror in the 50s is mostly characterized by cheesy, sci-fi alien movies; and God damn did they know how to put together some fun films. The drive-in theatre was the place to catch them, often shown in double matinees. Perhaps the most famous of these, and one of my favorites, was 1958's The Blob.
Review by Crispy
Added: April 10, 2010
Teenagers Steve and Jane are making out in the woods when they suddenly spot a shooting star crashing down in the woods nearby. Steve is convinced they can find it, so they take off in search of it. However, the rock has landed right outside the door of an old hermit who pokes the fallen rock with a stick, breaking it open. Inside is a shapeless red mass that grabs onto his hand and will not let go, and since it's begun to eat away at his flesh, the man hightails it towards the road looking for help, nearly getting run over by Steve in the process. The teens take the man to the local doctor, where they discover that the blob has grown significantly; it's now halfway up his arm. Realizing he might have to amputate, the doc sends Steve and Jane off to find out whatever they can about the man, and calls his nurse to get over on the double to assist with the operation. By the time she gets there, the blob has absorbed the old timer completely, and by the time Steve and Jane get there, the shit has completely hit the fan. Realizing that they're in over their heads, they immediately tell the local cops about the strange incident. Obviously, their story is scoffed at, so they gather a group of their friends together and take it upon themselves to warn the town that a carnivorous blob is on the loose.
One of the things I love about this movie is how unapologetically 50s it is. From it's insanely campy theme song to the simple, abrupt ending and all the campy dialog in between ("You and I are going to go home and go to sleep and tomorrow when we get up that sun's gonna shine. Just like yesterday. Good ol' yesterday.") Because you see, it's not like watching a really 80s movie, where the whole thing just feels completely dated. I'll admit that this might be a personal thing, but the 50s have a charm that the 80s doesn't have a clue about. Plus, filmmakers didn't goof around in the 50s. The plot is very nicely paced, and moves along with very little fluff.
For a guy who became known as "The King of Cool", this early role of Steve McQueen's is pretty awkward, in a good way. In no way is Steve an above average guy; he's visibly nervous when he's pulled over for reckless driving, and freaks out pretty badly when he realizes what's going on. It adds a lot of realism to the character, and it feels that much better when our hero rises to the occasion. It's an age old cliche I know, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Our other starring "teenager", Aneta Corsaut likewise garners little complaint, but her role was a lot smaller than her costar's. Also, Earl Rowe and John Benson both shine in their roles of good cop/bad cop; and finally, a special tip of the hat to James Bonnet in his one and only movie for playing a comic relief character that's actually funny.
Another thing that truly works for this flick is how simple the main ghoulie is. The Blob is quite literally just a blob, and yet it's such a great monster. You can't hurt it with bullets, acid or blades, it can slip through doors or ventilation shafts with ease. There is nothing you can really do to defend yourself from it, (other than the film's resolution, of course) which is a big reason I always found ghost stories to be one of the most effective horror subgenres, and this works that same concept beautifully. And adding to it is the fact that the special effects behind it all look great. It's just a big pile of silicon that's been dyed red, but that's all it needs to be. Using some trick filming (rolling the film backwards, etc) they were really able to give this faceless, shapeless slop a life of its own. Sometimes in horror, simplicity reigns supreme. Even over fifty years later, The Blob is still a damned fine way to spend ninety minutes. 9/10
- added 04/11/2010, 09:59 PM
I can not even count how many times I've seen
this movie. It was a fixture on the afternoon
movie during the 60s and 70s. I even own the VHS,
which I've yet to watch.
- added 04/12/2010, 01:32 AM
I saw this film a very long time ago and I
remember enjoying most of it. Didn't they remake
this in the 80's, or maybe 90's? 8/10
- added 04/12/2010, 02:17 AM
88. I never saw it. They made the Blob look more
like a mixture of chewed bubble gum (yes, it's
pink) and Nickelodean Gak instead of the jelly
look it sports here. I don't know, it just killed
it for me. I've heard it's really good, but I'm an
angry fanboy so I'm not in a hurry to hunt it
down. Also, I hear Rob Zombie is going to remake
it again in the near future, plus he's
contributing to the sound track. No doubt starring
Cherry Moon or whatever her name is as Jane. I
think I'll pass on that as well.
- added 04/12/2010, 09:54 PM
The remake starred Shawnee Smith who I've always
liked. It was good, but the original is a
I finally met her at a
convention and mentioned her band (yes another
actress gone singer) and she looked at me like I
was a nut and said "They were from another
lifetime". Yeah, like two years earlier. They
actually weren't bad.
- added 04/13/2010, 02:51 AM
The remake amped up the gore a bit and added a
more frenetic pace to the proceedings... which
worked well, I must say, for a remake.
the original has a strange sort of freshness that
doesn't seem to really tarnish with age...
Something about the grotesque
"redness" of the thing... the terrible
"otherness" that a creature from beyond
with no real form brings to the fore... or perhaps
the almost abstract nature of a monster that can't
really seem to be harmed or stopped because it has
recognizable weakness to strategize against...
Whatever the reasons. this film stands head and
shoulders over many of the critter features
produced at this time in American cinema.
Even upon viewing it today, it's vibrant color
schema and accurate period paranoia of the unknown
And as an added bonus... we
get to see Steve McQueen act like an almost
complete milquetoast... which in itself is almost
STILL an easy 8/10.
- added 04/13/2010, 04:05 PM
I've been thinking about Zombie's remake, I have
a feeling he's going to make The Blob much more
liquid-like and anthropomorphic, kind of like the
symbiote in Spider-Man 3 when it didn't have a
- added 04/13/2010, 04:34 PM
I wouldn't have a problem with that. Then we have
3 different blobs! But check out the remake, I
actually like it better. They used to show it on
Sci-Fi back in the day all the time. Maybe they
still do? Oh, and this movie is good too. Love the
movie theater scene. 8/10