Movie Review: Blobs, Blobs, and more Blobs
Steve McQueen’s biggest snafu was when he decided to get paid for The Blob instead of taking a share of the profits (something movies stars like Robert Downey are doing). He could have made a lot of money because this movie gained such a cult following over the years. Released in 1958 the movie has only gotten more popular to where even My Favorite Daughter knows about the Blob. How has it held up over the years?
Quite well, I’d say. Sure it’s dated with things like telephones attached to lines and kids hot rodding and getting stopped by the police. That’s to be expected with anything from the 50s. The plot is quite simple: something crashes to Earth near a small town (I don’t think it’s ever identified) and some yokel finds it and starts to get eaten by the jelly inside. The kids try to explain what’s happening to the police, but the police think it’s just a prank until the monster gets so big rolling around and eating people up.
The kids discover that it’s afraid or harmed by the cold and the town arrives with every CO2 fire extinguisher to freeze the monster. It’s transported off to the Artic where it’ll remain frozen forever. The End? We could have only hoped.
Larry Hagman (RIP) thought it would be great fun to do the Blob 2, the son of Blob, a sequel to the original, and still loved, Blob movie of 1958. And why not? The premise is there. The monster was scary enough. The plot was almost exactly the same as the original. How could they go wrong?
Well, I don’t think any of the actors, from Burgess Meredith, to Dick Van Patten, or any of the others that starred in the movie took it serious. It was filled with much over acting, heavy camp in some scenes, and just poor movie production.
I had a hard time with the premise that a pipeliner from Alaska (or somewhere in the North) found this sample and took it home to keep in his freezer until it could be delivered to the proper scientists. That was a bit of a stretch ( like a glob of jelly digesting people isn’t?). I think the movie wanted to be campy, but the acting was so bad that it came across more as a farce. It could have been a lot better, but just didn’t live up to the original. Still, they manage to freeze the thing on a not-yet-opened ice rink to save the day. The End?
Sadly we get The Blob in 1988. Yes, the original was so good and we have much better technology, so why not do another version of the movie? A ReMake before remakes were overdone. Okay, I’m still game. I mean, I still enjoyed the original, shy not give the 1988 version a shot, right?
Again we’re still in a generic small town, but a little bigger than the original. There seemed to be a budget for extras, better effects, and it was the 30th anniversary. How could this go wrong? Right? I mean, seriously. Horror movies were a big thing in the 80s.
The movie was far better than Beware! The Blob. That’s for sure. It had a similar plot as the original, better suspense, some halfway decent acting. I think the movie lacked a soul, but other than that it wasn’t all bad. The effects were designed to gross you out. Unlike the previous two versions, the blob came across as more of an intelligence even if it was still an unthinking mass of jelly. So how do the kids save the day? Well, unlike 1958 using fire extinguishers and 1972 using an ice rick, in 1988 they had a far better method. Apparently this small town has a high demand for liquid nitrogen and they blow up a liquid nitrogen truck. The End?
At this time we can say the Blob has been put to rest. Yes, there were rumblings of a new relauch of the classic movie, but thankfully that’s been put to rest. As far as I know there are no talks of starting this all over again. The budget would be too high and I don’t think there would be an audience for it. I know I’d wait for it on netflicks rather than see it in the theater.
Maybe I should write my own sequel to the original Blob. Hmmm… now there’s something to think about.
Movie Review: The Blob (1958)
Hey, you know that Steve McQueen guy. He’s the one that was made famous by the Blob! That movie must have made him millions over the years. Right? Odd fact, he made $3000 for that flick. He had a choice of contracts. Get $3000 up front or get a piece of the action. He was broke and really needed the money and $3000 looked like a lot for a film that would likely be just another 1950s monster movie. So he took the money and figured that’d be the end of it. If only he would have had Robert Downey’s foresight to take a cut of the profits.
So I haven’t seen this movie in years. I mean a very long time. Perhaps better than 10 years, but I honestly don’t recall the last time I watched it. I know I had seen the remake far more recently. I know there is also a Blob II (the return of the blob, Beware! The blob, the film the J.R. shot, and other titles) but I have never seen that one. Being that it was shot by Larry Hagman I feel that at some point I need to watch it.
As a Viewer: This movie spends a good deal of time letting us get to know our main characters. It’s a good slow build up and we get the police involved with our main characters before anything of import happens during the evening while the kids are out. The kids just take an old man to the doctor. What’s going to go wrong? The kids go back and Steve (yes, his character had the same name which I found humorous) witnesses the doc getting killed by something.
The fun continues as the blob goes through a mechanic (yes, they used to work late at night), the grocery store Steve’s dad owns, and finally into the movie theater where the other kids are watching a spooky movie. It’s hard to get a good handle on what time it is during the movie because Steve and Jane are at home and in bed and need to sneak out while other kids are at the movie. I got a little confused.
They run away from the blob and Jane’s younger brother shows up, fires his cap gun at the blob, and hides in the diner where the owner is just shutting down for the evening. Yes, before the movie crowd gets out. Hmmm, strange time to shut down, but oh well. Steve, Jane, the younger brother, and the diner owner are all trapped inside the diner. They head to the basement for safety. There they discover the blob hates the cold. Steve yells upstairs (he’d been on the phone with the police) and tells them the good news. They collect up all the CO2 fire extinguishers in town and hold the beast at bay until the military can arrive and drag the thing off to the arctic where it’ll remain froze forever.
As a Writer: I liked how the movie didn’t just jump in and BAM! Monster! BAM! Dead teenagers! BAM! Action! Instead if had kids doing what kids did in those days. Cruising, parking, going to the picture show, and talking with other kids. Parents were parents and kids listened. Well, kind of. Except for the sneaking out part. The police didn’t just write the kids off but did police stuff and came up inconclusive and based on the kids involved determined it was all a prank. Given the time the movie was shot there wasn’t any instant communication so they had to wait until morning to verify stories. Everything fit and made a sort of sense.
It’s hard to pick anything apart on this movie. It was fairly tight (everything took place in an evening) and even though it’s all during the night, it’s hard to tell at what time of the evening it’s taking place.
Recommendation: Overall this is a fun movie regardless of the time it was shot. Yes, it’s late 50s, but a lot of what happens it still easy to follow. It was made in a timeless fashion that hasn’t deteriorated much over the years. It’s a simple plot, but one that holds up. If you’ve never seen this movie, I’m sure you already know what happens and it’s still fun to watch it all unfold. If you saw this movie and think you remember it, watch it again. I had forgotten a lot of the events in the movie.
Given today’s global warming trend I’m surprised a remake or sequel isn’t in the works. Seems like this would be a great fit for today’s movie goers. I’d go see it. Maybe I should write it! Hey, not there’s an idea!