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Original Vs. Remake: The Blob

06.18.2014by: Mike Catalano
I got some awesome feedback on our last Original Vs. Remake featuring House of Wax. Some made clear how the large age gap between the two caused for a somewhat poor comparison. However, most set that notion aside and agreed that the remake was the one they'd rather watch.

Today, it seems we are comparing another May/December romance of flicks in all their gooey glory! Yes, it's time to get the pinkish ooze flowing as we throw the 1958 and 1988 versions of The Blob in the ring! So, go hide in the walk-in freezer 'cause it's about to get messy up in here!

Story
For the 1950's, this flick had an amazingly simple, yet advanced plot. A tiny splotch of goo crash lands on Earth and begins consuming anything it touches, growing larger and larger with each consumption. Of course, the only people to witness this insanity at first are a bunch of teenagers, that the town is not too keen on believing.
The remake's set up is very similar to the original's with a tiny blob crash landing on Earth and then attaching to a homeless bum. However, once that initial opening is established, the flick blasts off into a creative frenzy of modernized storytelling. The little twist towards the end really adds a big-time emotional punch.
Special Effects
It's amazing how realistic they were able to make a growing mass of jell-o look way back in the day. And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger as it takes out more people. Again, I can't help but stress how impressive the effects team was able to make this thing look back in the 50's. Even the attacks seem real.
That tiny little blob does look nicely realistic, which is probably quite simple for today's modern F/X. However, it's what the blob does after it latches onto someone that counts! And therein lies the genius of the special effects. People are squished, smashed, and eviscerated in fantastically gory glory!
Acting
The majority of the acting here is very 1950's sci-fi, but I think that plays to its advantage. With a villain as ridiculous as a giant blob, the players involved need to all react with a particular kind of flare. However, this flick benefits by having Mr. Steve McQueen as its lead whose skills seem effortless, making for a wonderfully unique horror movie hero.
Scream queen Shawnee Smith is fantastic here as she juggles babysitting, a potential boyfriend, and the blob all in one horrific night. Everyone else does a serviceable enough job for an 80's horror flick. Nothing too extraordinary, but special mention must be made for Jeffrey DeMunn and Del Close who provide some killer performances as the "grown ups" of the movie.
Intensty
The creepy factor is definitely pretty high once that little splotch of goo gets going. However, not a great deal of blob kills really cause you to leap out of your seat. Not much is shown from the gooey attacks, which detracts a bit from the thrills. At least when the blob finally becomes gigantic and attacks the movie theater, the screaming towns people heightens the panic.
Now this Blob is kind of like a Jaws on land! It relentlessly pursues people through hospitals, movie theaters, sewers, sinks, phone booths, you name it! That scene down in the sewers sure is f*cking intense. Also, when Candy Clark is trapped in that phone booth desperately trying to call the sheriff, you damn near shit your pants. And when the sheriff's mangled face appears through the blob on the booth, your heart just sinks.
Hot Chicks
If you're into poodle-skirt style hotties looking to head up to inspiration point for some necking, then this Blob delivers! And Aneta Corsaut certainly steams up the back seat as the flick's leading lady and McQueen's love interest. She actually has a very distinct look compared to the usual hotties of that era. Her brunette hair and blue eyes make her a stunning standout.
The blondes have it with this Blob. First off, there's a pre-Baywatch/Under Siege Erika Eleniak as a buxom babe that one dude is hoping to score with. And, of course, there is the lovely cheerleader played by Miss Shawnee Smith. I could stare at that adorable face of hers for hours and I'm damn thankful the Blob didn't disintegrate that tight body!
Directing
Although I've never heard of him previously, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., was actually quite the genre maven back in his day. Dude knew his stuff. That's probably why The Blob has such a unique, ahead-of-its-time look. The man made what basically looked like a gigantic form of jell-o seem scary. His penchant for fast cuts whenever the Blob was around definitely helped his cause.
Selecting genre staple Chuck Russel, who had just finished Nightmare on Elm Street 3, to helm the remake was a stroke of genius. This guy knows how to make fun, hardcore horror. He made the Blob truly menacing by not being afraid to show what horrible things it could do to people. And the glorious shots, like the view from above we get of Candy Clark in the phone booth as the Blob engulfs her, are just awesome!
The Blob (1988)
It appears we have ourselves another victorious remake! At least it was not a blobbath, excuse me, bloodbath. The original Blob definitely put up a good fight, hence I feel its "oldie" status verses the more modern '88 version is a mute point. However, what do YOU think? Slide on down to our bullets section and fire off your thoughts! And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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