The Blob (1958)
Director: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
A meteor crashes to earth and an alien Jell-O substance oozes out of it. The pink silicone implant look-alike monster proceeds to slowly wander around town and chow down on some town folks. It’s up to Steve McQueen, acting like a petulant child, to stop it.
For me, the opening theme song of "The Blob" is the best thing about the whole movie. With its uppity vibe and silly lyrics (“Beware of The Blob, it creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor”…lol) it’s freaking hilarious! After that engaging tune, I expected a dated but energetic cheesy gem. I was wrong.
I know this is a cult classic but it just didn’t do much for me. My main problem with the film is that it’s painfully slow. It starts off on the right foot with a somewhat gripping opening, but it then deviates constantly to dull scenes that have nothing to do with the immediate blob threat (like the cop pullover scene or the cute doggie subplot). I would sometimes even forget that the story was about a man-eating gelatin since it felt like I was watching a bad rerun of “Leave It To Beaver” every now and then.
But the pace of the flick isn’t the only thing that doesn’t move fast enough either. The Blob itself is also one slow son-of-a-blob. I still don’t get why everybody was so afraid of this thing. Put in their situation, I would’ve had time to run circles around it, take a long piss on it and read a Fangoria magazine before it would get to me. The lumbering demeanor of the creature killed any potential for suspense some scenes could’ve had. I’ve seen strung out hookers move faster than this beeyatch!
On a script level, the film also let me down. The dialogue is overly abundant, obvious in its exposition, tedious and at times...totally unnecessary. I also really got sick of everybody never believing Steve (McQueen) about The Blob’s munching spree. What kind of police force is this? The guy said someone is dead; get off your fat ass and do your job! The cops here were frustratingly ineffectual.
Character-wise, I initially got a few kicks out of seeing actors in their late 20’s playing “gee-whiz” type of teenagers. Steve McQueen for example was 28 when he acted in the film but his behavior here is similar to a child of twelve or something. It was humorous at first, but my smile wore off very fast. I was like "Grow up already! You look like a man! Act like one!" All of the characters are also puke-inducingly “wholesome”. Even the “bad boys” of the film have more in common with the average choirboy then juvenile delinquents. Where was the edge? Jimmy Dean had it in "Rebel Without A Cause" (1955)! We needed some of that here too. NOTE: there’s a kid and a yapping old broad in the film. Yes, they both got on my freaking nerves.
So did anything about "The Blob" please me? Well, some of the dialogue wound up being pretty funny with lines like “no more horseplay”. I was also impressed with the special effects. The Blob creature looks pretty slick taking into account when the film was shot. I also enjoyed the film’s last 10 minutes. I found myself feeling a tiny amount of tension during the “Diner” sequence. But overall, this flick is a let down. It could’ve been enjoyed on a cheesy, dated level but unfortunately it’s just too damn dull! “Beware of The Arrow, he creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor...”
A pink gooey mass sticking on people. That’s it, that's all.
Steve McQueen (Steve) does an underage James Dean shtick, wrinkles his forehead a lot and kind of comes through. He was way too old to play the part though. Aneta Corseau (Jane) cries a lot and gives lots of "lovey-dovey" stares. She’s ok. Earl Rowe (Dave) does fine, at least the man acts his age.
T & A
It’s a tit fest! NOT! It was shot in 1958; what do you think?
The directing mostly sticks to the basics: point and shoot. We do get the seldom-creative shot…I said seldom.
An overdone score that ups the camp level of the film. The Burt Bacharach-composed “Beware The Blob” is a classic. I have to get that song! It could liven up any orgy.
EXTRAS: Criterion slaps a couple of neat extras our way.
Commentaries: We get two commentaries. One has producer Jack H. Harris and film historian Bruce Eder talking shop. The other has director Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr. and actor Robert (Tony) Fields talk about their experiences. We get lots of background info on the making of the Blob, where the original idea came from, the cast and how to make a film on such a low budget. The commentaries were all obviously shot separately and edited together. There’s a lot of dead time but once everything was said and done I learned lots of interesting background info on the film.
BLOB-abilia: Here we get pictures of the cast, promotional photos for the film and some Blob memorabilia including The Blob itself. All courtesy of Wes Schank’ BLOB Collection. Impressive collection!
Theatrical Trailer: We get a corny yet very funny trailer for the film filled with tacky one-lines. I particularly liked the line: "Starring Steve McQueen...and a cast of talented young people!"
IMAGE: The film is letterboxed at 1.66:1 in a new 16x9 enhanced transfer. The image is sharp, the colors vibrant and the grain minimal. For a 1958 film, it looks awesome!
SOUND: I was a bit disappointed by the Dolby Digital Mono sound which this DVD sported. Where’s my surround sound? On the flip side, the soundtrack, the Blob noises and the dialogue still came out clear. Surround would have been better though.
The DVD also comes with a kool foldout poster of the movie and will probably please all Blob fans.
Purists might call me jaded or better yet, an asshole, but this “cult classic” didn’t entertain me. It’s guilty of the worst horror movie sin: boring its audience! The 1988 Blob remake betters the original in so many ways: pace-wise, effects-wise, character-wise and dialogue-wise. I say that if you need to see a pile of Blob eat people...rent that version. It’s way more satisfying.
When the crowd runs out of the movie theatre with The Blob on their tail, many of the extras are laughing or smiling.
A 1972 Blob sequel exists. It’s called: “Beware! The Blob” and it’s directed by Larry “J.R.” Hagman.