Monday, September 10, 2012

The Blob

I am on a ‘50’s science fiction kick as of late. The Blob may very well have temporarily ended my interest in the subject. For a film that is considered at least a minor classic in the science fiction canon, not to mention starring a young Steve McQueen, The Blob is surprisingly uninteresting.

There are only three points I found amusing. One, the Cold War allegory is great, although one is admittedly beaten over the head with it. A gelatinous, constantly growing red blob consuming small town America? All the blob needs is a yellow hammer and cycle on its side to make the point unmistakably obvious. Two, the soecial effects, while weak by today’s standards, are not as cheap as I feared they would be. Finally, I had never seen before, so I had no idea Stephen King’s ’The Lonesome Death of Jordy Virril” from Creepshow was a parody. Creepshow remains my favorite horror film, so your mileage may vary.

One suspects The Blob is the source of frequent parody because of how many trappings of teenager in peril horror movies are present. The film begins with Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) parked at Lover’s lane for some smooch smooch with his girlfriend when they witness a meteor fall to Earth. An old man finds a meteor on his property and, after inadvertently breaking it open with a stick, becomes infected by a red goo from inside. Here is the Jordy Virril part. Yes, I did shout ‘Meteor sh*t!” when I saw it, I substitute a less offensive synonym for the latter word. I am a class act that way.

The Blob eventually consumes the old man after Steve and his girlfriend take him to the doctor. The Blob inevitably eats more people as it becomes exponentially larger. The excitement level never really builds up, however. There is an improvement during the panicked climax, but I cannot see why The Blob is considered a fine example of this sort of monster on the loose film. I do not think I feel that way because I am jaded. I have seen a ton of films in the genre, certainly, but The blob truly is B-movie shlock. I am disappointed to learn this.

Nevertheless, the three points I mentioned above as being great are still valid. I am a sucker for Cold War allegory. The special effects are impressive for the time. You can determine your own feelings about the Stephen King parody from Creepshow. Then there is the novelty of Steve McQueen starring. The Blob is not his best film by any stretch of the imagination, but he does play the All-American hero to the hilt. You do not have to look too hard to see the Steve McQueen of the future lurking in the teenager desperate to get the adults around him to listen to his warnings.

I would not make much effort to seek The Blob out. It is a film you atop and watch when flipping cannels on a sleepless night or bored Saturday afternoon. It is a novelty piece for the hard core science fiction fans and b-movie fanatics only.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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