It’s a trio of films about the gelatinous critter creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor!
THE BLOB (1958)
Back in the 1970s, I believe I used to watch The Blob on ABC’s “The 4:30 movie.” And it freaked me out, especially at the beginning when the meteorite first hits and the Blob jumps out and latches on to an old man’s hand!
Good old Steve McQueen (actually young Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend are parked nearby kissing (because that’s all they did back then), so they bring the old man to the hospital. They head off and get into a drag race with some other guys. It’s all SO 1950s! Look how cute Steve was.
The Blob features what has become an always-effective modern cliché—character in the foreground with his back turned to a body. In this case, it’s the doctor on the phone while weird shit begins to happen with the old man lying down behind him! It’s…the Blob!
A majority of the movie is about the authorities not believing Steve McQueen when he warns them there’s a monster on the loose that eats people and is getting bigger and bigger. But it all comes to a huge climax when the Blob enters a movie theater showing a horror movie (That Blob has good taste in film genres!).
While The Blob is a freaky concept and the glob of jelly in front of a green screen made it hard for me to eat PB&J for years after seeing the film, it’s not a particularly horrific or suspenseful film. Just a fun creature feature popcorn movie.
Most notable is that when they realize it takes cold to freeze the Blob into inaction, they plan to send it up North so they will be safe from it, and one character says, “as long as the Arctic stays cold.” Which means in this day and age, we’d be Blob food because we’re pretending we’re not the ones destroying the planet and that it’s all a result of God punishing us for not following The Bible.
And of course, I have to mention that The Blob contains the awesome theme song by The Five Blobs!
BEWARE! THE BLOB (1972)
What in the name of Major Anthony Nelson J.R. Ewing was Larry Hagman thinking when he directed Beware! The Blob? Whatever it was, he’s the man! Larry even has a small part as a hobo, but you probably won’t notice him. But you will spot the likes of Dick Van Patten, Cindy Williams, Burgess Meredith, and Carol Lynley (love her—such a face of the 70s).
Hell, even Sid Haig has an uncredited part.
Beware! The Blob! Is essentially two completely different movies fused together. First, there’s the horribly hokey “comedy,” and then there’s the tension-filled flick that feels oh-so 1970s horror and puts the horror of the original The Blob to shame. In fact, I’d say the gruesome Blob elements in this film were more the inspiration for the 1988 remake than the original.
Absurd segments include Dick Van Patten and his troop of Klackers/Kerbangers-obsessed Boy Scouts, hippies playing guitar by a fire in a tunnel, an old dude giving a hippie a haircut, a woman struggling to perform with a kitten that clearly wasn’t born to act…
a big chubby guy bathing with his dog and then running around naked after the Blob attacks…
a guy struggling with television rabbit ears while unknowingly taunting the Blob with his juicy butt…
and a bowling alley owner trying for most of the movie to get the cops to catch a woman who hit his car (he’s the same actor who foiled Blanche’s plan to install a hot tub on The Golden Girls).
However, all the Blob attacks are good creature feature material and it no longer looks like a…well, blob in front of a green screen. This Blob oozes and drips and squishes through vents. It engulfs cars and people. The suspenseful segments are truly tension-filled. And this time around, it’s a chick who can’t get anyone to believe her when she tries to warn them about the Blob.
The climactic bowling alley scene is classic, especially when the Blob gets a strike in every lane at the same time. But watch when the panic erupts and you’ll clearly notice one guy fall while running in one direction…and then fall again while running in the other direction in the same exact spot! Did Mr. Hagman think we wouldn’t notice?
While there’s no great theme song, the movie does get its title from lyrics in the theme song to the original movie!
THE BLOB (1988)
The Blob remake is probably one of the best updates of all time. It’s perfectly suspenseful, has great Blob special effects, and demonstrates just how grisly and gruesome the concept of the Blob really is.
The plot is essentially the same as the original. McQueen’s drag racing car is traded in for Kevin Dillon’s motorcycle. And Kevin has one of the worst 80s hairstyles ever. It’s almost unbearable to watch him in this movie because he looks that bad.
Good thing the Blob keeps your attention by gobbling up people in some of the most heinous and painful ways. The fact that they can still be seen suffering inside the Blob just puts the horror of this film over the top. Love it. There’s the old man who discovers the Blob in the meteorite, there’s the hospital scene, the movie theater scene (featuring a Jason Voorhees clone film)…and an all-new sewer scene, as well as plenty of chase scenes!
The original Montgomery from the Fame movie is the deputy, Sophia’s beach buddy Alzheimer’s Alvin from a Golden Girls episode plays a guy from the government, and even scream king Bill Moseley has a small role as “soldier #2.”
And of course there’s the great scream queen Shawnee Smith as the cheerleader turned Blob fighter! When she grabs an assault rifle to end this Blob once and for all…I laughed.
Yeah. It’s true. As good as it is, The Blob ’88 has some really cheesy 80s moments. For starters, Kevin Dillon comes to save the day in a fricking snow-making truck! There are too many moments when the characters just happen to be in the same exact totally random place at the same time to meet up and rescue one another. And then there are all those convenient times when the main characters escape the Blob’s clutches thanks to a nearby secondary character being more tasty.
Speaking of the Blob’s clutches, it does indeed have the ability to shoot out tentacle-like arms and grab you! EEK! But the most evil clutch of all in the film is the town reverend, who believes the Blob was God’s way of destroying mankind as punishment for, you know, not following the Bible. So he forms a dastardly plot to make sure God’s plan works!
Religious idiocy aside, the movie ends with the awesome power rock track “Brave New Love” by Alien. This totally should have been a radio hit.