Tuesday, August 27, 2013

THE BLOB

After all these years I finally watched the original THE BLOB (1958) the other day. Hard to believe that a lover of 1950s science fiction films like myself could have gone this long without ever seeing this film. It certainly wasn't worth the wait.

This now legendary low-budget monster movie stars a young Steve McQueen (he's billed as Steven) and Aneta Corseaut (who looks far to old to be the high school student she's playing). Both McQueen and Corseaut went on to bigger and better things. McQueen, of course, had a stellar film career in the '60s and '70s while Corseaut found her measure of immortality by starring as Helen Crump on the long running THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.

A meteor from outer space lands in a deserted area. A hermit discovers the rock, pokes at it and gets his arm covered in extraterrestrial slime for his transgression. McQueen and Corseaut almost run the man down on a country road and take him to the local doctor where the man's body is consumed by the blob which goes on to attack and devour the doctor and his nurse. From there, the blob escapes and begins ingesting citizens of the small Pennsylvania town where the film was shot.

McQueen, Corseaut and their high school hot rodder buddies rally to save the town. Like THE GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959), THE BLOB is a film in which teenagers are the heroes. They exhibit more smarts and courage in facing the unearthly menace than their parents and other adult authority figures.

The blob is eventually frozen and deposited in the Arctic (a stock footage scene) where hopefully it will remain in ice forever. But the question mark at the end of the film leaves that conclusion in doubt.

All of the action in THE BLOB takes place over the course of one night (a la AMERICAN GRAFFITI). The exterior scenes appear to have been shot on location with the interiors most likely lensed in a studio. The lighting in every scene is extremely poor, the backgrounds in some shots are non-existent and the camera compositions are ultra tight and very, very cramped making the film visually claustrophobic. With community theater level performances by the mostly unknown cast and shoddy production values (special effects shots of the blob range from not bad to horrible) THE BLOB is an ugly mess of a movie.

A sequel, BEWARE! THE BLOB was made in 1972 and the film was remade in 1988. Thanks solely to the presence of Steve McQueen, THE BLOB has achieved a sort of cult status among film fans. There are many, many far better science fiction films from the 1950s and honestly, there are just as many that are as bad as or worse than THE BLOB.

I'm glad I've seen it but it's not something I'd ever watch again.
 

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