The Blob (1958)

The Blob (1958): United States – directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.

Not rated by the MPAA – contains goo

The Blob is one of the classic horror movies from the 1950’s that most people have heard of, but few have seen.  Its presence has been felt throughout pop culture, including a remake (review of which will be posted tomorrow) and at least one episode of “The Simpsons.”

The first thing on screen, practically, is Steven McQueen’s name (before he was Steve McQueen.)  The next thing is him kissing some chick, named Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut, who later played Andy Griffith’s girlfriend), which is about as sexual as the movie gets.

They see a shooting star, go down to investigate the crash site, and find an old man who has a mass of goo on his hand.  On the way to the crash site we get a particularly funny shot of the man playing with the goo at the end of a stick.  He moves the stick up and down, then finally points the stick toward the ground.  We then are treated to an upside down view showing the glob fly “up” to his arm.  Hilarious stuff.

In any case, the kids take the man to the doctor, who investigates, but is soon consumed by the blob (after it consumes the old man and a nurse.)  There are no bodies left and very little evidence of what happened, so almost no one believes Steve McQueen.

Part of the camp value comes from the amazing special effects.  Or rather, effects, for there is little special about them.  The blob, at least what we see of it, looks like molasses rolling downhill.  At times stop motion is used, fairly effectively, to portray it growing.  Camp value also spews from the lousy acting, the horrid writing, and the atrocious shot framing.  Several of the actors, including both a little boy and an old lady, pause through their lines and look about, as if they’re reading cue cards.

The Blob is a classic example of 1950’s sci-fi/horror.  It’s not a good movie, but it’s fun to watch for what it is.  The effects are miserable, but it’s always amusing thinking about the original 1958 audience and whether or not they were grossed out and amazed by the effects.  I can recommend this as a great way to spend 80-some minutes if you enjoy campy sci-fi, but beyond that I don’t know.  In a way it’s a difficult movie to assign a star rating to, as the poor production values are well overshadowed by its historical and camp significance.  This is the type of movie best watched with a large group of friends and subtitles, so that even when everyone is extremely loud you can still follow the “important” storyline.

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