Title: The Blob
Year Of Release: 1958
Running Time: 82 minutes
DVD Released By: The Criterion Collection
Directed By: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
Writing Credits: Kate Phillips, Theodore Simonson, Irving H. Millgate (story)
Starring: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut
1. It crawls....It creeps....It eats you alive!
2. Indescribable...Indestructible! Nothing Can Stop It!
The Glob (working title)
The Glob That Girdled the Globe (working title)
The Meteorite Monster (working title)
The Molten Meteorite (working title)
The Night of the Creeping Dead (working title)
Review Date: 9.21.07 (updated 1.1.10)
Title: "Meteor Shit!!"
This Film From Amazon
The Old Man – He lives out by himself in a simple wooden cabin in the woods. His only companion is a small dog. He gets a little too curious when checking out a meteorite and winds up with an organism from outer space stuck on his hand that despite his best efforts, cannot be removed.
Steve Andrews – Your average teenage male. He loves his car, tries to be cool and digs the chicks. Never mind the fact that he looks like he is old enough to run for the state senate. He and Jane spend most of the film trying to convince the foolish adults that a monster is in town.
Jane Martin – Jane here is a goody-two shoes if ever I saw one. Sure, she goes with Steve to a remote location where he can put the moves on her…and sure, she even kisses the guy, but it’s obvious that this girl’s motto is “properly wed before take me to bed.” Even worse, her dad is the Principal!
Dr. Hallen – Talk about being just a few seconds too slow! He was almost gone for the weekend when Steve shows up with the Old Man and his Blobbed-up hand. The Doc does his best to help the old guy, but a klutz of a nurse and just plain bad luck led to him being eaten like a cheap fast food meal.
Nurse Kate – This walking catastrophe works with Doc Hallen in his home-run practice. Yeah, she is kind of cute, but don’t let that sway you. I think I’d rather have a team of asthmatic epileptics on my side during a crisis...at least they could handle pressure better than this woman. Gobbled.
Tony Gressette – One of the local teens. He seems to hang around with two other guys, Al and “Mooch” Miller, quite a bit. He and the others help Steve and Jane spread the word about the blob, even if no one listens to them aside from other kids. He's more help than most of the town cops.
Lieutenant Dave – Dave here is the head of the local police force, which seems to consist of him and two other guys. Either the crime rate is really, really low in that town or those three guys are run ragged. Dave is a pretty decent guy, willing to listen to the kids and even cut them a break.
Sergeant Jim Bert – “Bertie” as the kids call him, doesn't have much patience for the teens. Indeed, to say that he dislikes them is like saying Fred Phelps finds the gay lifestyle somewhat distasteful. He goes out of his way to give them a rash of shit, convinced he is right and they're wrong.
Danny Martin – This annoying little brat is Jane’s brother. I really don’t know what I found to be more grating on the nerves, his inability to shut the hell up when told to be quiet or his trouble at pronouncing certain words. Then there is the fact that he tried to stop the monster with a toy gun.
The Blob – The amorphous life form from outer space that does nothing but ooze around endlessly and then eats and eats and eats and eats, getting bigger and bigger and bigger as it absorbs countless people. Even Jerry Lewis didn't get that big, that fast.
Plot Hold your cursor over an image for
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There is only one way to describe how this film starts out: hip. Even as we see the Paramount and the Tonylyn (so named after producer Jack Harris’s two kids, Tony and Linda) logos, the music has kicked in with a guitar and drum-produced samba-like rhythm, the kind that makes you want to jump up and dance. Either that or jump up and leave the room. What really drives the tune, however is the saxophone, which soon has the melody squawking away in a Tequila-like (the song not the liquor, you drunks) theme that could easily be regarded as the quintessential 1950’s teen party anthem. A red dot on the black screen soon expands into a wobbly circle. As it grows, another one appears within it. Then another within that one. And so on and so on. The credits unfold as the music plays and the Blob-like circles continue to appear and expand. And then…holy crap! There are words to this music! Some guy launches into some goofball lyrics and now I find myself desperately wanting some Tequila…of the alcoholic variety. The following stanza gets repeated several times before the title finally appears in bright glowing letters, the music fades and things go black.
of the Blob!
Are you ready for some tequila now? I thought as much. So the narrative now begins. We fade in on Steve Andrews and Jane Martin in the middle of a great big smooch. Remember that this is the 1950’s and they’re supposed to be teenagers, so a smooch is about all we see, the producers trying to keep things halfway chaste and all. There is no heavy breathing, no lips smacking against one another and certainly no tongue action of any kind. It’s almost like kissing one’s grandma. Well, your grandma. Don’t ask about mine…trust me, you don’t wanna know. Anyway, the kiss ends and Jane looks away from Steve, rather than into his eyes. Guys, you know as well as me that that is a bad sign. A really bad sign. Did she think the kiss was poorly executed? Does she not find him attractive? Was the moment not romantic enough for her? Did he let out a righteously wicked fart in the middle of things, causing her eyes to water? Who the hell cares? The point is, when a women looks away from you after you’ve just planted a big wet one on her, it means your chances at scoring a home run just went from good to lousy. Never mind first base, you’ll be lucky to even get another turn at bat. The sad truth is, you’re the only one likely to be handling the old bat and balls after such an incident.
We hear crickets in the background, so we know that they’re outside somewhere. Steve mentions a shooting star and they talk briefly about wishing on such celestial objects. He mentions how many can be spotted in their present location and digs himself further into a hole by implying that he brings a lot of girls to this spot, which is somewhere out of town and at a higher elevation. From this exchange we can deduct that these two are at some local lover’s lane type spot, used by amorous couples as a place to neck and do other things. He tries to convince her that she has the wrong impression of him and calls her “Janey Girl.” She seems annoyed by this and insists that her name is just “Jane.” Um…if her staring off into space after the kiss seriously crippled his chances at anything more that some liplocking, calling her by a demeaning nickname pretty much just flushed them down the crapper. She thinks his reference to a shooting star was just a line and that he says it to all the girls he brings to this place. He explains that it is not a line and that he never has brought a girl to this location.
Amazingly enough, she believes him! Those chances just shot right back up! Sadly, a meteorite has chosen this very instant to come crashing to earth. The two teens look up and see the flaming rock streak across the sky to land beyond a nearby hill. We also now see that the two of them are sitting in a car – a convertible that has its top down. I cannot tell you the make or model of the car, but my dad, who was nineteen the year this film came out, could probably do it in a heartbeat. Hell, he probably had one of them. Steve notes how close the meteorite was and wants to go find it. I guess he realizes his shot at first base just went down in flames…literally. He starts up the car and away they go. Note how the entire scene up until now was shot on a studio set that made it look like it was quite dark outside, yet when we see the car pull away, its an obvious day-for-night shot…and a bad one at that. It looks more like a day-for-day shot.
Now we see a wooden shack somewhere in the woods. A dog is barking nonstop, but we can still hear the sounds of crickets and bugs. At least, I think that is what those sounds are supposed to be. They don’t remind me of any cricket I’ve ever heard, unless it was someone walking on a bunch of them and crunching the little buggers underfoot. Maybe they’re not crickets! Could it be some other type of insect? I live in the San Joaquin Valley in California, so the only bugs I’ve ever heard at night are crickets chirping. What other noisy bugs are there? Cicadas? I know there are many different types of Cicadas and different species have differing songs, so maybe it’s one of them making those sounds. I suppose it really doesn’t matter. What was that? The movie? Oh, yeah! Let’s get back to that.
So there is this shack in the woods. An old man emerges from within and scans the trees but sees nothing. He has a dog that is still inside and is barking up a storm. Apparently what the dog is saying is something along the lines of, “Grab a lantern and go look in the woods for something odd,” cuz that is exactly what the old man does. When he goes to leave, we actually see the dog in question, but only its front half, which is sticking out the door. The back half is obscured by the wall. I’m guessing that there was someone on the other side of that wall holding the dog and preventing it from bolting, because the poor animal is about to scratch the floor up something fierce, so frantic are its efforts to claw its way through the open door.
The old man slowly makes his way through the darkened trees with his meager light source, and between the creepy bug sounds reverberating through the woods and the eerie music that fortuitously kicks in, I must admit that the scene effectively conveys a slightly creepy feeling. Walking in the forest at night can be spooky enough when you let your imagination get the best of you, but when scary music suddenly pipes in during your excursion, that is just super freaky! Eventually the old guy comes across a small crater in the ground, in the center of which is a round rock. This must be the meteorite! Odd how the impact crater is so small, especially when taking into account the size of the meteorite itself (it looks to be about seven or eight inches in diameter). I’d think something that size – and which was most likely much bigger before encountering the planet’s atmosphere – would create a bigger hole after crashing to earth at a high velocity. Then again, I’m no rocket scientist. This could be very well within normal parameters. Though I am pretty sure that so soon after impact, the darn thing would be a lot hotter than this one appears to be.
The old guy stands there and stares at the perfectly round meteorite (albeit with a pocked surface) and then does what any sane, rational person would do: he pokes it with a stick. After a few soft stabs the still-smoking rock breaks apart. Watch closely and before the old man even pokes it, you can spot the “seams” where the rock will crack and break. Pieces of the rock fall away and reveal that the center of the meteorite contained something…something that looks like a giant piece of gum. The old guy now pokes that with a stick and we see that it is quite soft and squishy. Having impaled this mystery substance from outer space on the end of the stick, the old guy now holds it up and examines it closer. As gravity takes hold and the stuff slides down the length of the stick, it now resembles the world’s biggest booger. As the meteor shit is about to touch his flesh, the old man turns the stick upside down, so it will slide in the other direction and he won’t get any of it on him, but surprise, surprise, surprise…the stuff quite suddenly and most unexpectedly defies physics and zooms up the length of the stick to engulf his hand.
Apparently, having this space goo pressed directly onto one’s flesh is not a desirable situation at all, since the old guy drops the stick and then begins trying desperately to remove the blob from his hand. The stuff no doubt is causing him quite a bit of pain, for he begins making sounds rarely heard outside of prostate and colon examination rooms. Since the Blob is not coming off, he turns and runs, forgetting his lantern in the process. Indeed, who needs light to see by when an amorphous jelly-like substance recently arrived from beyond the stars is consuming one’s hand, one greasy finger at a time? Either that or the new addition to his hand has somehow bestowed night vision on him as a temporary trade off for eating him alive.
We now cut back to Steve and Jane. Steve has pulled the car to a stop and is scanning the horizon, but cannot locate where the meteorite landed. He thought it was near by, but Jane likens it to lightning: it looks close but is really miles away. She asks if he wants to drive down another road and continue the search, but he says no. He apologizes for the bumpy ride and offers to take her back to town and buy her a sandwich. She agrees, so he starts up the car and drives away again. As they’re cruising down the narrow road, it suddenly becomes a day-for-night shot. The old man comes barreling out of the woods on the left, running across the road and waving his right hand around in the air like he was leading a gay pride parade. Steve has to brake hard and swerve to avoid hitting the old timer. Not that we see it. We just hear the squeal of tires and then see the car at a full stop.
Steve gets out of the car to find the old man stretched out on the side of the road, moaning up a storm. He asks the old man if he is ok, but the poor guy can only beg to be taken to a doctor in response. When Steve asks him what the problem is, the old man moans, “I can’t get it off!” Let me tell you, I had that same problem once, but it was not concerning something attached to my hand. Anyway, Steve helps the old guy up to his feet and then into the car’s back seat. He hands over his jacket and implores the old guy to put it on. Turning to Jane he says, “Boy, I hope the Doc is in.”
On that note, we jump to Doc Hallen’s office. He is currently on the phone with a Mrs. Porter and informing her that he is now leaving. He says that he will be back the following night and asks her to keep an eye on his house until he has returned.
Turning back to Steve, Jane and the old guy – better known as ‘not long for this world’ – we see that Steve is doing his best to hurry to the Doc’s place. There is a car in front of him going slower than he would like and after honking a couple of times and not getting a response, he decides to floor it and pass the other vehicle. In that other car are three more teen males: Tony Gressette, who is driving, “Mooch” Miller and Al (last named unknown). In typical fashion, Tony isn’t too thrilled about being passed by somebody else in a hotrod. The other two point out to him that it was Steve Andrews who just blew past them, so Tony decides to follow Steve and see why he is in such a rush.
We return to Doc Hallen’s place and see him heading out the front door. Just as he is folding up a note of some kind and tacking it to the doorframe, Steve arrives. He and Jane help the old man out of the car and lead him towards the front door. Steve tells the Doc that the old guy has been hurt, so Doc Hallen tells him to bring the guy on inside, which they manage to do even though the old guy is moaning and whimpering more than a kicked dog. He has his Blob-covered hand wrapped up in Steve’s jacket so the Doc doesn’t see it at first. They take him to the examination room where they have him lie down. Then Steve explains how they found him outside of town screaming about something on his hand. The Doc asks what it is and Steve can only describe it as a big blister on his fingers. So, the Doc removes the jacket and takes a closer look.
Low and behold, the Blob has gotten bigger. Steve notes how it was just on the guy’s hand before, while now it has encroached onto his arm. It’s almost like some sort of funky rash one would get through questionable practices! Uh…not that I would know anything about such matters. No. Anyway, the Doc has Steve cover the old timer with a blanket while he gets something to give the old dude for the pain. While he is getting the shot ready, he asks Steve if he knows who the old guy is, but Steve has no idea. Then Doc gives the old man the shot (it’s about damn time, too. The old guy was really starting to go overboard with the whole moaning thing). Hallen now asks Steve to return to the area where they found the old guy and see if they can locate any other people, especially someone who may have any knowledge as to what happened to the old fart. Hallen has Steve and Jane turn off the outside light when they leave so he won’t be disturbed. Yeah, nothing like people requiring medical care arriving without notice to make a nuisance of themselves. As the teens leave, we see Hallen pulling a textbook from a bookcase, no doubt hoping to find something that may help him with this puzzling patient.
Outside, Steve and Jane find that Tony, Mooch and Al have arrived and are waiting for them to emerge from the Doc’s place. The trio greet Steve like a champion, referring to him as the king (not Elvis!) and even bestowing upon him one of his own hubcaps as a makeshift crown. When Steve asks what the fuss is about, they reveal that it’s for his driving performance earlier on his way into town – when he flew past Tony. Steve tells Tony that he can keep his title of champion racer, but the other teen isn’t keen on the idea of Steve giving up without “meeting a challenge” first. Steve says he has nothing to prove. Tony says that he isn’t asking him to prove anything, as they could beat Steve’s “kiddie car” going backwards. Long story short: after more trash talk, Steve agrees to a race…backwards.
They line up for the race and soon are off, flying down the street in reverse. There is one shot that really does look like two cars driving forwards, it’s just that now the footage has been sped up and run backwards. As they roar down the street, they are all unaware that Lieutenant Dave is sitting in his car on a side street (enjoying a donut no doubt) and sees them fly past behind him. He is soon in motion, heading after the two racing vehicles. Steve and Tony finally ease to a stop, the former the clear winner. He makes faces and blows kisses at the others (who ended up stopping several dozen yards to his rear) However, Steve’s celebration is cut short when Dave pulls up in front of him, the police car nose to nose with his own. Seeing that Steve has been busted, Tony kills the lights on his own car and tries to keep a low profile by not moving the vehicle or making any sounds.
Dave gets out of his car, approaches and asks what is going on. Steve tries to play it cool and act like nothing is amiss, but cannot hide the fact that they are on the wrong side of the road and the light he has claimed to be waiting for is quite some distance down the street. Dave mentions both his dad and Jane’s father, wondering what they would think of his reckless driving. He eventually manages to determine that Steve was driving backwards. He wonders what he is going to do with “you kids,” adding that he can’t haul them in. Steve promises to not engage in any more horseplay, so Dave let’s them go. As they pull away, Dave has a smirk on his face. No doubt knowing how kids can be and recalling his own wild youth.
Steve and Jane now rendezvous with Tony and the others, who ask if it was Sergeant Bert who confronted them. Steve says no, that it was Dave. The others agree that Steve was quite lucky that it was not Bert he encountered. Tony goes on to relate a story about a prank they pulled on some guy called “Gig” when Sergeant Bert came along and gave them trouble. Apparently this Sergeant Bert is the one local police officer that really cannot stand teenagers and is always quite hard on them when forced to deal with them. Lieutenant Dave on the other hand, is a pretty decent guy and the kids all agree that they’ve been giving him too much trouble lately. Mooch mentions the burnt rubber outside of Doc’s place and this reminds Steve that he was supposed to go check on the old man’s origins for Hallen. He asks the others if they want to come along, but they say they’re heading to the midnight spook show at the movies. He convinces them that it won’t take too long and they can still make it to the show, so they agree.
Back over at Doc Hallen’s place, the old man has fallen asleep. The Doc pulls back the blanket and sees that the Blob is now covering the poor guy’s entire right arm, from the fingertips all the way past the elbow. Hallen covers him back up and then gets on the phone, trying to contact a Doctor Gilpen, but this other doctor is not available. Then he calls Nurse Kate and requests that she come back over as soon as possible, saying that he has a man here with some kind of parasite on his arm that is assimilating his flesh at a frightening speed. The Doc may have to amputate the arm and needs the Nurse’s assistance. While he is on the phone, we see the old guy sleeping in the other room. There is a strange movement under the blanket. The Doc sees this from his desk in his office, but after removing his glasses and looking again, probably passes it off as normal movement from the old man. He mentions to Kate that he has no idea what this parasite is or where it came from…
…and on that note we see the impact crater where the meteorite landed. Steve, Jane, Tony, Mooch and Al gather around it. Mooch jokes that they must be pretty close to the front lines, while Tony wonders why anyone would leave a lantern in such a spot. My guess is, they were in a real hurry to leave! Steve reaches into the crater and pulls out a piece of the meteorite. Jane wonders if it is the shooting star they saw earlier. The others say that they saw it, too about an hour earlier. They toss the fragment back and forth to one another, theorizing on the origins of the rock and how big it was when it first started its cosmic journey.
A dog can now be heard barking from some place not very far away. Jane thinks that there must be a house nearby, so the group goes stomping through the trees until they come upon the old man’s shack. Naturally, there is no one around except for the old guy’s little dog. They open the door and let him out, Jane picking him up and holding him. Figuring that there isn’t anything more to turn up in these parts, Tony, Mooch and Al decide to head for the spooky show. Tony tries to get Steve to come along, but Steve declines. Jane suggests they take the dog with them, as the little guy would starve if left alone. Steve agrees and the group leaves.
Over at Doc Hallen’s place, the Doc is washing his hands when Nurse Kate arrives. She asks him what he wants her to do. He says to take the old man’s pulse, but warns her not to touch the stuff on his arm, as it absorbs flesh on contact, like an acid. So Kate walks into the examination room and finds…no one. The table where the old man was passed out is curiously empty. Did the old guy get up to go pee? Was he unhappy with the treatment he was receiving? Kate asks the Doc where the old man went and then turns to her right and spies something on the floor…something that makes her withdraw in terror. It’s the Blob! It’s just sitting there wiggling around like fresh Jell-O.
The Blob is right by the door, so Kate is trapped within the examination room with it. Doc Hallen is right on the other side and can see the creature. He theorizes that it must have completely absorbed the old man. He warns Kate to stay as far away from it as she can. Naturally, Kate is beginning to get quite frightened and panicky. Hallen says that they’ve got to kill the thing before it can get any bigger. He directs Kate to a bottle of trichloroacetic acid on a cabinet behind her. Then he tells her to open it and to throw the contents on the Blob, taking care to not let any of it touch her skin. This she does, but the Blob does not seem phased at all by the acid, absorbing it as easily as Louie Anderson would an entire rack of lamb. Doc Hallen says that he needs to go for a gun in his den and tells Kate to stay absolutely still, then runs off. Of course, Kate begins to freak out, calling for the doctor to not leave her. She tries to avoid the Blob, but (naturally) trips and falls, causing a lamp to fall and break. This seems to have blown a circuit in the house, as it suddenly goes dark. Hallen tries the light switch, but nothing happens.
Having retrieved his rifle and box of shells, he calls for Kate, but there is no answer. He stares down the hallway into the darkened examination room, which is as still and quiet as a tomb. CREEPY! Then there is shadowy movement from something out of sight. Hallen watches in horror as the Blob rolls into view, now noticeably much bigger, having just absorbed one panicked and klutzy nurse. He aims his rifle and fires twice, scoring a direct hit both times, but the Blob is not affected at all by the projectiles. The Doc now rushes to his den, closes the door and grabs the phone. My guess is that he is not ordering a pizza.
Now we see the outside of the house as Steve and Jane roll up. They notice that the lights are all out and wonder if the Doc took the old man over to the hospital. Jane stays in the car with the old man’s dog while Steve goes up to the front door. He tries the doorbell, but that and knocking produces no answer. He comes back to the car and then tells Jane that he is going to check the garage to see of the Doc’s car is there. He heads around towards the back of the house where the garage is and when he gets part of the way there, a sudden sound draws his attention to one of the house’s windows. He turns and looks on in horror as the Doc, covered with the Blob, struggles to get out, but is consumed in an instant before his very eyes.
In shock, Steve rushes back to the car. Jane sees that he is very upset and gets out, dropping the dog to the ground in the process. The little mutt quickly scampers away. She asks Steve what happened and he stammers out, near incoherently, about the stuff that was on the old man’s hand now being bigger and absorbing Doc Hallen. He tells her to get in the car. He plans on informing the police as to what just occurred.
Down at the police station we see Lieutenant Dave doing some paperwork and looking for some staples for his stapler. Sergeant Bert directs him to another officer’s desk drawer, where Dave finds a chessboard, complete with pieces set up. He asks the other officer, who is named Richie, about it and Richie tells him that it’s a hobby he has taken up to make the late hours that he spends alone in the office go by more quickly. I guess reading a book is out of the question.
Right about now Steve and Jane rush in, the former yelling that Doc Hallen has been killed. He wants Dave to come with them right now, but Dave wants to hear what happened first. When Steve tries to explain about “the thing” that has killed the Doc, he has trouble. Sergeant Bert asks him if it was a “monster” and when Steve grudgingly says yes, the officer dismisses the entire affair as some teenage prank. However, Dave says that they have to check it out, so they leave Richie to mind the office while they accompany the teens back to the Doc’s place, Bert looking extremely annoyed by the prospect. No sooner have they all left than Richie breaks out his chessboard and starts trading moves via radio with another officer in a nearby town. Alas, Richie sucks at chess.
We now zoom over to Doc Hallen’s house, where Steve, Jane and the cops are arriving in a police car. We get a wide view that shows the entire house – a beautiful place, if I might add – but there is something freaky going on in the sky! There are lots of clouds and they seem to be changing shape very rapidly before our very eyes. I’m thinking this shot of the house was taken during the day with a day-for-night filter, considering the sheer amount of light seen on the house, as well as the long shadows cast in some areas. It almost looks like the sky was replaced as well. In today’s movie-making world, that would be a simple task to achieve with computers, but back then, it must have taken some real skill and innovative thinking to accomplish it and still have it look so good.
So the teens and the cops get out of the car and head to the front door. Sergeant Bert points out the note we saw Doc Hallen pinning to the doorframe earlier. It informs any visitors that the office will be closed all day Saturday, which must be the next day. Dave tries the doorbell, but there is no answer. Dave then opens the front door, which was apparently unlocked. Steve cautions him against going in, as “that thing” might be inside waiting for him. Dave does not let this deter him and heads on in, followed by Bert and the kids. In the foyer they manage to get the lights on, but in the rest of the downstairs floor, the electricity does not work. Dave calls out to the Doc and they slowly explore the place, Bert using a flashlight to help them see. Everything seems to be fine. There is no sign of any trouble.
Steve then points to a door and says that it was the room beyond in which he saw the Doc through the window. Bert tries to open it, but it is locked from the other side with the key still in the lock. Bert knocks on the door and calls out, but no one replies. Dave now has Bert head around to the outside and try to gain entrance via the window, telling him to break it if necessary. While Bert heads off to do that, Dave looks for the fuse box, leaving Steve and Jane alone momentarily. She wonders what became of the little dog and then the lights come up, Dave having found the fuse box in record time.
With the light now on, Dave checks out the examination room, where he finds the light that Kate knocked over, noting that it must be what blew the fuse. However, there is still no sign of any people. They hear some glass breaking and Bert emerges from the locked room, which was the Doc’s den. Inside is quite the mess, and not just from the broken glass he just deposited all over the floor. There are definite signs that a struggle of some kind occurred here, with overturned furniture and things scattered about. Still, there is no sign of the Doc. Steve is positive that this is the room where he saw Hallen, but he cannot explain what has happened there tonight. Dave finds the Doc’s rifle and notes that it has been fired, but notices that there are no shot marks anywhere.
Bert now begins to espouse his own theory as to what happened. He thinks Steve and some other kids decided to pull one over on the police, so they broke in while the Doc was away, made a mess and concocted a story to lure the cops down there. Dave, however sees that such a story is not plausible. He points out how both the window and the door were locked from within the room. Bert just thinks they pulled it off with some string. Dave asks if anyone else was with Steve earlier and he says no. Dave then asks about earlier when he caught him racing backwards and Steve says that the other kids involved with that – Tony Gressette and Mooch Miller – could not have had anything to do with this. Upon hearing the names of the other teens, Bert almost comes unglued, shouting that they are the exact types to pull a prank like this. If you’ve come to the realization that Sergeant Bert here does not like teenagers a whole lot, then you’re not alone.
Right about now we’re in for a horrifying surprise. The Mummy itself comes lumbering into view, its decayed and ancient form a ghastly sight to behold! It’s almost too much horror for one film. The Blob and The Mummy! When will the terror end? Oh, wait a sec. That’s not The Mummy. It’s just Doc Hallen’s neighbor, Mrs. Porter. The old gal wants to know what is going on and remarks that the Doctor is going to be in for a surprise when he gets back and sees this mess. Dave asks where the Doc went and is told that he went to some type of medical convention in Johnsonville. Mrs. Porter is chalking up the mess to burglars, but Steve insists that the Doc never left. Mrs. Porter, who is quickly becoming as endearing as a tick bite to the balls, says that the Doc has no idea what has transpired here this evening, having called her right before he left and asking her to keep an eye on the place. Steve says to check and see of the Doc’s car is still in the garage, but the old Bat AKA Mrs. Porter, says that won’t prove anything, as the Doc often attends these conventions by riding with Doctor Gilpen over in Grovertown. Dave has Bert head to the other room and call Doctor Gilpen, but Mrs. Porter assures him that he won’t be home.
Dave now asks Mrs. Porter if she heard any gunfire earlier in the evening. She says yes, and attributes it to some neighbors who have a television and who are constantly watching some “old movies” where there is a lot of shooting and screaming. She then bends down and starts cleaning up the mess in the room. Dave says he doesn’t want anything touched, but she refuses to stop. He has to physically pull her off the floor and tell her that she cannot disturb anything because they may need to check for fingerprints and other evidence later. Personally, I was hoping Dave would have hauled out his billy club and whacked her hard across the back of the legs. That would have convinced her to get out of the police business! Better yet, the Blob could have dropped onto her from the ceiling and absorbed her, but that would drastically alter the flow of the film. Oh well.
Sergeant Bert returns and says that he could not reach Doctor Gilpen, as the Doctor had already left for the convention, but his wife did note that Doc Hallen had called about 11:00 PM. She was under the impression that the two physicians would be traveling together, but did not say where they would be staying in Johnsonville. Mrs. Porter chimes in with the name of the hotel in question. Dave figures it will still be a couple of hours before Gilpen arrives there, so they will leave word at the desk to have him contact them when he checks in. That’s pretty much all they can do for tonight. Steve says that things are all wrong. Bert jumps on his case, telling him to drop the act. He asks Steve that if things happened like he said they did, then were is Doc Hallen and more importantly, where is the big, bad monster? “I don’t know,” answers Steve.
Well, I have the feeling that we are about to find out! We jump over to some sort of garage in town where two mechanics are still working at this late hour. Seriously, we just did learn that Doc Hallen originally called Mrs. Porter at 11:00 PM. That had to be damn near an hour ago and these guys are still working? They must have a total slave driver for a boss! One guy is under a car that is up on jacks and asks the other guy, who he calls Marty, for a hammer. Marty wonders why he just doesn’t finish working on the car tomorrow, but Mr. Grease Monkey says that he won’t be there, as he is going on a hunting trip. Unknown to anyone but the audience, the Blob has entered the building. When we see Mr. Grease Monkey under the car, in the background the creature can be seen sliding in under the big roll-up door that is currently closed (the effect for which seems to be achieved by inflating some type of balloon under the door). Mr. Grease Monkey blathers on about his plans to get rip-roaring drunk and what he is going to say to the boss come Monday if his return is met with any kind of unwanted response. Little does he know that his co-worker has left for the night and the Blob is oozing its way closer and closer. Before you know it, the thing is upon him. All we see are his legs, which are sticking out from under the car, as they begin to contort in pain while he makes a sound like that of a man on the crapper, desperately trying to pass a brick and getting it stuck halfway in and halfway out.
We turn our attention to the police station, where the cops have returned with Steve and Jane from Doc Hallen’s place. Lieutenant Dave somewhat believes Steve, but thinks the teen is not telling him all that he knows. Steve thinks Dave should be doing more and isn’t happy about the officer calling his and Jane’s parents over the matter. Speaking of parents, Jane’s father picks this moment to arrive. He is naturally upset, but seems concerned over how it is going to affect his image as principle of the high school more than anything else. When he sees Steve, he promises him that it will be the last time the youth takes his daughter out. Jane tells her old man that Steve has done nothing wrong and then Steve’s own father appears. Steve tells his dad that he saw something terrible earlier (no, not a naked Dom DeLuise) and Jane adds that no one will believe them.
Lieutenant Dave informs the two fathers that Doc Hallen’s place was vandalized earlier and Steve and Jane seem to know something about it. He adds that the police are not accusing them of anything at this time and hopes to get things cleared up when they are able to reach Doc Hallen in Johnsonville. Steve chimes in now and tells his father that it wasn’t vandals that tore up Doc Hallen’s place and that the poor Doctor is dead, having been killed by some kind of a monster. A monster he admits to having seen. Mr. Andrews (Steve’s dad) says that his son is not in the habit of telling lies, so if he says he is not mixed up with the vandalism, Dave should believe it. Then Mr. Andrews asks Jane if she saw the monster in question, but she is forced to answer no.
At this point Dave suggests that everyone go on home and get some sleep. Things can be sorted out in the morning, he figures. The fathers agree and as everyone moves towards the door, talking at once, Steve makes plans with Jane to secretly rendezvous with her later that night. When they have all gone, Richie, the chess-playing cop, suggests that maybe Sergeant Bert is right and this is all nothing more than a teenage prank. However, Dave doesn’t think that it is a joke of any kind. Just then the phone rings. It’s Sergeant Bert out at Doc Hallen’s place, locking it up until morning. Dave tells him to check in and when Bert mentions something about the kids, Dave informs him that he sent them home for the night. Bert doesn’t like that, but Dave pretty much tells him to shut up and deal with it before hanging up. It seems that ever since a kid drove into his wife’s car on the turnpike, Bert has had a rager for all teens. Dave admits to Richie that he doesn’t know what it going on with the kids, but he wasn’t about to lock them up. Better that they go home. At least the cops will still know where they are…
On that note, we see Jane sneaking down the stairs in her house, heading for her late night meeting with Steve. Now, nevermind The Blob, the possible appearance of The Mummy or any other monster that may spring to mind. The true horror of this film is about to be thrust upon the audience with all the mercy of a quick kick to the balls by a kangaroo on steroids. As Jane descends the stairs, a voice suddenly pierces the silence. “Hey! Where are you going?” Jane nearly jumps out of her skin in surprise. She turns around to see her younger brother Danny on the stairs behind her. He’s dressed in one of those blue one-piece sleeping bag/pajama combo things that poor kids are forced to wear to bed (like me when I was a Lil Shadow) and clutching a teddy bear. She gets the little bugger to quiet down before he wakes the dead let alone their parents, and explains that she has something very important to do and is going out. He offers to come along and guard her (more like “gawd” the way he pronounces it) but she says he has to stay there and guard their mother and father. She tells him that if he shuts the hell up and goes to bed, she will bring a dog home for him. This seems to brighten the little bastard considerably, who asks what the dog’s name is. She says that he can name it anything he likes. He proposes the name of William but thinks better of it. She finally convinces the little loud mouth to get his ass back in bed before the entire town knows he is getting a dog. I don’t know about you, but I find kids to be more terrifying than amorphous blobs from outer space, resurrected Egyptian princes or most other monsters you could name.
Over at Steve’s house, we see him asleep in bed with the blankets pulled up to his chin. The door opens and light shines into the room. His Father calls to him twice, but there is no reply. Convinced that his son is asleep, Mr. Andrews closes the door. As soon as it is closed, Steve jumps up and we see that he is fully clothed. He starts putting on his shoes and jacket, and as he does so, we can hear the voices of his parents discussing things. They don’t know what to make of their son’s behavior and feel like he is keeping something from them. They figure it will all be sorted out in the morning so they go to bed. We can hear them talking quite clearly. Frighteningly clear if you think about it. Over the years, what other sounds did Steve hear coming from his parents’ bedroom at night? Not just the squeak of a mattress and bedsprings or the creak of a floorboard, but the euphoric cries of two people in the throes of passionate lovemaking. Old people at that. The mere idea is enough to induce nightmare imagery capable of reducing one’s mind to oatmeal. It’s a miracle that Steve has not been in need of some serious therapy for years now.
Meanwhile, Steve climbs out his window and makes his way to the ground below. As he backs his way towards the garage, his eyes still on the house, he bumps into Jane. Now it’s his turn to nearly jump out of his skin. They walk a few feet away and discuss the evening’s events. Steve lists off the things he knows for sure happened: finding the old man, seeing that thing that was on his hand, taking him to Doc Hallen and going back at the Doc’s request to check on the old man’s origins. Steve is pretty sure he saw that same “thing” all over the Doc, dissolving and absorbing the physician. Jane believes that he saw this happen, but Steve is beginning to doubt it himself. She tells him that he isn’t the type of person to turn his back on something that he knows to be true. She convinces him that the two of them have to try and warn people of the truth.
He then opens the garage door, timing the movement with a passing vehicle to better disguise the sound, then they push the car out and down the driveway. Once on the street, he asks her if she is sure that she wishes to go with them in search of something that may very well kill them if they were to find it. She says yes and adds that it was too bad that they could not find someone to help them. She thinks for a second and then suggests Tommy, Mooch and Al. Steve thinks that enlisting their help is worth a try.
We now jump over to the midnight spook show at the Colonial movie theater. The marquee shows that the film Daughter of Horror is playing along with something starring Bela Lugosi. Inside we see Tommy, Mooch, Al and some teenage girls watching the film amongst the crowd of people. We also get a quick peek at the movie itself and all I have to say is DAMN! That sure is a small movie screen! It seems the entire wall is nothing but a huge curtain except for one small area where the screen is located. I think modern plasma TV screens have more surface area than that thing. You’ve heard of Imax? This must be Iminimal!
Steve and Jane now enter (I wonder if they paid to get in). They quickly locate Tony and Steve says that he needs to see him outside. Tony and the others are not too keen on moving, but Steve finally convinces them to get up and leave. It’s a good thing, too. They were making a lot of noise. I HATE people who talk in movie theaters. I was half expecting one irate old man in the audience to whip out some nunchucks and beat the hell out of all the annoying loud mouth teens, but all he did was tell them to “knock it off.” Once outside they all want to know why they just threw away their eighty cents (damn, that won’t even buy half a candy bar these days at the movies). Steve asks them if they would believe him if he told them that there was something in that meteorite they found earlier…something that could wipe out the entire town. This provokes laughter from everyone except Tony, who tells the others to quiet down so Steve can continue. Steve says that he saw this thing kill Doc Hallen. The others ask what they are supposed to do and Steve says that they are going to find this thing and make people believe them.
At the police station, Dave is having Richie try to reach Johnsonville again. Sergeant Bert comes in and says that he just saw something strange. On his way back to the station, he ran into a local businessman who had just stopped by the bar he owns, only to find the place completely empty. Bert checked the place out for himself and found the TV playing, the register full of cash, but no patrons or bartender. Bert suggests that Dave go home and get some rest, and seeing as how Richie has had no luck in reaching Doctor Gilpen in Johnsonville, Dave agrees and heads out the door.
Elsewhere, the kids are trying to warn the townsfolk and are having about as much luck as George W. Bush at finding those Weapons of Mass Destruction. Tony and his girl knock on one door where there is a party in progress, but the folks are too drunk off their asses to care about anything other than where the next shot is coming from, while Mooch and Al are wandering through the trees somewhere and come upon a couple necking. Another young teenage couple tries to warn some bartender, but he just blows them off.
Meanwhile, Steve and Jane drive by the grocery market that his father owns and spot the Old Man’s dog that escaped from Jane earlier. The poor pooch is sitting in the doorway of the store and when Steve walks over to pick him up, he steps on the mat that triggers the automatic door, which promptly opens. Steve notes that this is odd, since the store should be locked up at this time of night. It being a Friday night, an older guy that Steve’s father employs to clean up is usually about, but never this late. Sensing that something is wrong, Steve hands the dog to Jane and then they both cautiously enter the darkened store. Steve calls out to the cleaning guy, a Mr. Wittermeyer, but as you no doubt have surmised, there is no reply. Jane waits at the front of the store while Steve heads down one of the aisles towards the back, in order to turn on the lights. After he disappears from view there is a loud crashing sound. Jane calls out to him, but he is ok. He yells back that he just tripped over the broom and cleaning equipment normally used by Mr. Wittermeyer.
Jane takes a few steps closer, so that she is now at the end of one aisle. She looks over towards her left and to her horror, there is the Blob! The thing has gotten pretty damn big by this time, having absorbed a number of people. Jane screams, tries to back away and just collides with a display of cans, sending them…and the poor dog she was holding, into the floor as she falls. Steve hears the ruckus and looks up just in time to see the back end of the Blob sliding out of view at the end of the aisle. He runs and rather than head to the end, he just climbs over the shelves and jumps down into the adjacent aisle, where Jane is strewn out on the floor. He quickly picks her up and rushes down the aisle towards the back, since the Blob is blocking the front end.
He runs into the back of the store, where the butcher’s department is located. He drops Jane to her feet and grabs a cleaver, using it to hack at the chains locking the rear door, but it’s no good. The chain is too thick and the Blob is oozing ever closer. So he throws the cleaver at the monster and then rushes with Jane into the freezer, where large sides of beef hang from the ceiling. Jane starts to spaz out and cry, noting how no one knows where they are at and that their parents think they are at home, asleep in their beds. Neither of them notices the Blob sliding under the door to gain entrance to the room. Jane does notice that the little dig is barking up a storm out in the store and begins to worry that the Blob is going to get it. Steve does his best to calm her down and manages to do so without resorting to shaking or slapping. Pity.
Steve now notices the Blob coming in under the door, grabs Jane and pulls her to the back of the freezer where they try and hide behind all that hanging meat. They watch as the jelly-like monster oozes part way into the room and then unexpectedly oozes right back out. The dog is heard barking and howling again and then all is silent. Jane worries about the canine (and so did I the first time I saw this film) again, but Steve tells her that there is nothing they can do about it. He takes off his jacket and gives it to her then says that they need to make a break for it before the monster comes back for them. They slowly and carefully open the freezer door. Seeing no sign of the creature, they make their way from the back into the store itself. Still no monster. From there it’s a mad dash to the front door.
Just as they emerge from the store Tony, Mooch, Al and the others come running up. Steve tells them that the monster is in the store. Jane adds that it got the little dog, but Mooch informs her that they just saw the dog running down the street scared stiff. I guess the poor pooch managed to step on the right door-opening mechanism within the store, seeing as how it would be utterly incapable of using the handles. Steve says that the next step is to call the police. All the evidence they’ll need in order to believe the monster story is in the store. I just wonder…how does Steve know that the monster is still in the store and if it is, why does he think it will stay there? He has seen firsthand that it can slide under closed doors, so it could easily escape the place. After all, it did manage to get in somehow. Plus, I don’t know how far the store is from Doc Hallen’s place, but it’s clear that the beast has traveled quite some ways tonight. Assuming it is gonna stay put seems a wee bit shortsighted.
Anyway, they all run down the street to a pay phone, but given how Steve is supposed to be home asleep, he asks that Tony make the call. Al thrusts some change into Tony’s hand and Steve pushes him into the phone booth. I guess there is no way Tony could refuse at this point. Tony wants to know what he is supposed to say, so Steve tells him to ask for Dave and to tell it to him straight: that he needs to get down to the store with every cop and weapon available. Unfortunately, Dave has gone home as we saw earlier, so when we cut over to the police station, it’s Sergeant Bert that answers the phone. Quite naturally, he doesn’t believe the story he is told over the phone and begins yelling at Tony, who wisely enough opted to not identify himself. Frustrated, Steve says that now that they tried warning everyone through the proper channels and got laughed at, it’s time they wake the town up in their own way. When asked how, he just says, “any way we can think of.” I’d suggest blasting a few Yanni albums. That would wake the dead.
Back at the police station, Sergeant Bert starts whining to Richie about the local teens. He thinks the kids have got it in for him because they learned about his war record. They want to break him down and see what makes him tick. I think the moron has got a screw loose and is developing some major paranoia. Maybe he got some shrapnel lodged in his brain during the war. As he sits there and stews about it, with Richie trying to defend the teens, the sound of car horns can be heard starting up in the distance. “It sounds like New Year’s Eve,” Richie notes. Within seconds what sounds like the local fire department’s alarm is heard, followed by what can only be an air raid siren! The phone calls start flooding in at this point and Bert straps on his gun, no doubt intending on heading out to see what is going on…and possibly shoot someone.
Elsewhere in town, an old couple awakes in bed from all the noise. The old guy recognizes the air raid siren and rushes to his closet for his civil defense outfit. No sooner has he donned the helmet and started pulling his pants on, that he hears a fire engine outside. “Fire!” Now he removes his civil defense helmet and grabs his volunteer firefighters helmet. “This has never happened before! What am I going to wear?” he asks his bewildered wife. Hahahahaha! I don’t suppose he has an “Annoying Old Fart Brigade” uniform stashed in that closet somewhere? Why don’t you just go back to bed, grandpa and let someone else worry about it?!
At the Martin house the racket has awoken Jane’s parents. Mr. Martin is downstairs making a phone call when his wife calls out from upstairs that both Danny and Jane are gone. She comes running down the stairs in a near panic. He says that maybe their two kids are downstairs. He walks into the living room, turns on the light and sees Danny asleep on the couch. How that kid can sleep with all the racket outside and his parents loud talking is beyond me. They rush over to him, wake him up and Mrs. Martin asks what he is doing down there. “Gawding you” is the near incomprehensible answer. When asked what he is supposedly guarding them from, his answer is the typical, “I don’t know.” They ask him where Jane is and he says that she is “just gone.” Mr. Martin stands up and in a firm voice announces that he is going to get to the bottom of this right now. No doubt he is planning a few phone calls and a firmly worded letter or two. Maybe even a leaflet campaign.
Down at the supermarket, people are beginning to converge on the spot, where Steve and the other teens are laying on the car horns something fierce. After finally killing all the noise, Steve addresses the crowd, warning everyone that the town is in danger and that this was the only way to get people’s attention. One older man wants to know where the police are at. Right about now Sergeant Bert comes marching up and boy, he looks fit to be tied. I would not be surprised if he took his gun out and shot someone before this was all over. Steve just wants a chance to talk to people but Bert says that whatever game he is playing is going stop right now. This is when Lieutenant Dave shows up and wants to know what is happening. Steve informs him that they saw the monster again and that it is now bigger. “You’re story has gotten bigger,” remarks Bert. Steve again says that he is telling the truth and is far too scared for someone playing a prank. Dave believes him, much to Bert’s annoyance. Bert starts lecturing him on making a fool of himself and the police force, which prompts Dave to tear him a new one, reminding him just who is in charge.
Dave now turns and address the throng of people, telling them that this is an emergency situation, but that people need to go home and stay there. The authorities will keep everyone informed via the radio station. People start to disperse and Mr. Martin arrives wanting to know what is going on. Dave just tells him to ask his daughter. Then Dave gets the guys from the fire department to help with crowd control.
We now jump back over to the midnight spook show at the movie theater. Daughter of Horror seems to be in its final moments. Up in the projection room, the projectionist sits reading a book, blissfully unaware of the Blob easing its way into the room through the grill that covers the air vent. There is a chime, which probably denotes that it will soon be time to change the film reels, so the projectionist gets up and peers out at the movie, the Blob rising up behind him. He finally notices some movement out of the corner of his eye, but it is too late. The Blob is all over him like jam on toast. It even looks like jam on toast. The poor schmuck doesn’t even have time to scream before he’s engulfed by the monster. Out in the theater, the patrons are laughing up a storm at the cheesiness of the movie (Oh, how I can relate). Their laughter dies when the film suddenly stops, Mr. Projectionist never having had the chance to change the reel. Alas, the laughs will soon turn to screams, for pouring out of the projection room behind them is the Blob!
Back at the grocery store, Dave is asking the boys from the fire department to move over by the door and shine their big light into the market. This is when the lights within the place come to life. Steve wonders who is in the store and a few seconds later Sergeant Bert comes out. “There’s nobody in here but us monsters,” he says sarcastically. Dave looks like he might be doubting Steve’s tale when screams can be heard down the street. Everyone looks and sees a crowd of people hauling ass around the corner in an obvious day-for-night shot. “The theater!” Steve remarks.
At the theater, people are pouring out of it in sheer terror. I mean screaming and hollering and whooping up a storm. They’re tripping and falling all over each other in their haste to get out. I haven’t seen a crowd exit the movies like that since Battlefield Earth! The sad thing is, much like the frightened citizens of Copenhagen in Reptilicus, the throng of horrified people here is filled with too many that seem to be laughing and smiling. Damn extras! Can’t they look scared for the ten seconds (or less) that they are on screen? That’s all I ask! Just ten seconds worth of scared! Also, it seems half the bloody town was at the spook show! I swear that about five times as many people come racing out the door than what we saw sitting inside in earlier shots.
So Dave fights his way inside the theater past those folks trying to get out. That’s another sign that the place was packed. Dave had time to see the people who initially escaped from the theater as they ran down the street, then make his way here and inside…all while people are still trying to get out! Bert arrives and we hear shots fired from inside. Dave emerges and tells him not to go in as the gun won’t do any good. He adds that it is “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Um…question: is he referring to the monster or the movie that was playing? He quickly orders the area cleared and as the last escapees run for the hills, the Blob comes rolling out of the theater’s entrance. It has gotten pretty damn big now. Big enough to fill several swimming pools.
As the giant mound of goop sits there, young Danny Martin emerges from his hiding place near a diner. How he got there is anyone’s guess. You’d think his parents would be keeping a better watch on their kids with all the activity going on. Armed with his toy revolver (I think every kid had one in those days since westerns were so popular) and still dressed in his sleeping attire, Danny wastes no time in squeezing off several shots at the monster. When his gun has run out of rounds to fire, he does what any person with a real working gun would do: he throws it at the monster. Then he runs and hides in the diner, despite Jane calling for him not to do so. She and Steve follow him in there, but before they can get back out, the Blob launches itself at the diner and almost instantly has the entire structure covered with its mass.
Trapped along with Steve, Jane and Danny are the two people that were working there, a waitress and the short order cook. Naturally, Steve has to physically restrain the cook from opening the door and letting the Blob sweep over them all. Outside, Dave has the phone company patch him through to the diner. When Steve picks up the phone, Dave informs him that they are going to drop a power line on the Blob and the electrical juice flowing through it should be enough to fry the thing to a crisp. He tells Steve to get everyone down into the cellar within sixty seconds. They had better hurry! The Blob is starting to squeeze in through the cracks and under the door! Steve leaves the phone line open and rushes with the others below.
Outside, Sergeant Bert readies his rifle. Tony, Mooch, Al, some other kids and the fire department all arrive and use their headlights to illuminate the area. The huge Blob can be seen covering the diner, the features of the building seen through the creature’s semi-transparent body. Everyone waits nervously, including Jane and Danny’s parents. Richie informs Dave that he can no longer hear anything via the phone line. Dave tells him to keep his ear open. When the sixty-second time limit is up, Dave informs Bert, who takes his shot. He manages to hit a power line and break it. The line falls and lands on the Blob sending sparks everywhere. This entire sequence was accomplished using the state of the art FX technique known as…animation.
Unfortunately, the Blob is not affected by the electricity. The Fire Chief notes to Dave that the ploy did not work. Jane’s mother begins to spaz, calling on them to do something. The Chief then points out to Dave that the electrical discharge has caused the diner to catch on fire. Dave wonders if they can put it out, but the Chief says that there is not enough oxygen in the place to keep a fire going for more than ten minutes. In the diner’s cellar, the group notices that there is something burning. Steve then sees that the Blob is beginning to drip down the stairs towards them all. With no other way out, things seem pretty bleak. Jane comforts Danny by telling him to lay down and go to sleep. I suppose she’s gonna snap his neck before the Blob can get to him? She and Steve share a look, a smile and then an embrace, knowing that their proverbial goose is cooked. Outside, the Martins, the teens and the authorities can only watch, powerless to do anything.
Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of the Walk-Thru.
Within the diner’s cellar, the cook is using a hand-held fire extinguisher to put out some of the flames. Steve notices that the Blob retreats when the spray hits it. He grabs the extinguisher from the cook and sprays it directly at the nearest chunk of Blob, which promptly backs away. He realizes that the creature cannot stand the cold and this was the reason it did not follow he and Jane into the freezer at his dad’s store. He sprays the beast some more, but the extinguisher is running low. He yells up the stairs to the open phone, informing Dave or anyone else on the other end that CO2 fire extinguishers are the weapon of choice.
Out in the police cruiser, Richie hears his voice and hands off the phone to Dave. After hearing Steve’s message, Dave quickly calls for every extinguisher that can be found…but only the kind with Carbon Dioxide. He has the Fire Chief round up the ones owned by the Fire Department and orders them to start hitting the Blob where it is covering the cellar windows. Mr. Martin approaches and says that he knows where there are twenty extinguishers of that type: at the high school. He just needs help in retrieving them. This is where Tony and the other teens offer their help. They pile into their cars and race away.
In the cellar, Steve’s weapon is about empty, but he continues to call up the stairs to Dave. At the high school, the fleet of cars arrives and everyone runs for the door, but it is locked. Mr. Martin checks for the key but does not have it. With a slight bit of reluctance, he picks up a rock and uses it to smash the glass encased in the door. Oddly enough, the rock that he grabs seems to be the only one on the entire lawn area, almost as if it was conveniently placed there. Mr. Martin then reaches through and unlocks the door. They all rush in and seconds later emerge with the extinguishers.
Back at the diner, the Fire Department dudes arrive with their extinguishers and begin putting them to use. Richie informs Dave that he has gotten through to Washington D.C. and help should be on the way. The kids return at this point and join the Firefighters in spraying the Blob with the CO2 extinguishers. The creature withdraws from the cold, gradually uncovering parts of the diner. As the crowd works to freeze the monster, Dave speaks with some military bigwig on the phone. He outlines their plan to freeze it, but reiterates that they need help moving the frozen monster as the sun will be coming up in a few hours. Whoever he is talking to has the bright idea of blowing it up, but Dave says that will just spread the creature across the countryside. He suggests getting a big transport plane and taking the thing to the arctic where it will never thaw out.
At this point, the creature has withdrawn enough to uncover some of the cellar windows. Steve, Jane, Danny and the others come crawling out (good thing Jane didn’t snap Danny’s neck after all). Mr. and Mrs. Martin rush over to hug their kids while Dave comes up to congratulate Steve on some “nice work.” Steve thanks Dave for getting them out of there. He admits that he thought their number was a up, a sentiment Dave shared for a moment or two. Steve asks what they are going to do with the monster. Dave informs him that the Air Force is flying in a Globemaster to transport it to the arctic. Steve notes that it is not dead, just frozen. Dave thinks the thing cannot really be killed, but at least they have it stopped. “Yeah, as long as the arctic stays cold,” Steve adds.
With that we see a field of ice. It’s the arctic! A large container of some kind, no doubt dropped by a plane passing overhead, slowly drifts down to the ground, three large parachutes slowing its progress. It seems the Blob has reached its final resting place. The words “The End” appear but then transform into a large question mark.
In 1948, the Hollywood Antitrust Case brought before the U.S. Supreme Court forever changed the way movies were made and marketed. Whereas, up until that point, the major studios relied on their own contracted talent, both behind and before the camera, to produce the films and then relied on their own wholly (or partly) owned theaters in which to exclusively screen the movies; it was decided that such a system violated the anti monopoly laws and the studios were required to divest themselves of their theater chains. Films now had to be marketed, promoted and distributed in an entirely new way, since the studios could no longer automatically rely on their own theaters to run them. While the major film studios still had the ability to distribute nationally, the smaller companies found they did not have such resources to draw upon when a distribution deal with a big studio could not be made. Enter the independent distribution companies. These were a network of film distributors across the country that worked to promote and distribute films within a given geographic region.
The owner of one such company was Jack H. Harris, who operated in New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania. Harris had started as an usher and manager before making his way up the cinematic chain to distributor. At a meeting in the mid 1950’s to discuss the upcoming slate of films for distribution, which were mostly westerns, Harris noted that they all stunk. A contemporary of Harris named Bob Lippert, who owned his own chain of theaters and who had gotten into the film producing game, asked what he would do given the chance to make his own movie, and noting the current success of juvenile delinquent films such as Blackboard Jungle (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in addition to teen-oriented horror films like I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Harris replied that he would make a Sci-fi film in color, with a sincere story and something to which the public would respond. Harris would leave the meeting determined to make a movie. He would ultimately get the idea for his film from Irving Millgate, a liaison to the Boy Scouts of America and with whom Harris distributed a film for the organization as well as touring together in support of it. Millgate outlined his idea for a film called The Molten Meteor and Harris was soon sold on the concept of an amorphous creature of extraterrestrial origin that absorbed and consumed every person it encountered. Setting out to make the movie, they had a script within seven months by Theodore Simonson, which was later polished by Kate Phillips. Alas, every major studio passed on the film when Harris attempted to sell it, so he set out to make the film on his own.
Being a native of Philadelphia, Harris was familiar with the Valley Forge film studios, a small outfit located in a small town about an hour away. This was the home to a group of religious filmmakers who were turning out quality 35mm inspirational short subjects and were led by a minister named Irvin S. Yeaworth Junior, a man committed to spreading his beliefs via film. Yeaworth came aboard during the scripting phase and would serve as the film’s director while many of the studio’s production crew joined the project as well. In order to raise money for the film, Harris took out a second mortgage on his home and also borrowed as much as he could against his and his family’s life insurance policies. Still, he came up quite short. This was when Alan Friedman at Deluxe Lab helped him find some private investors, under the agreement that Deluxe would be awarded the job of producing the film prints. Now, armed with a budget of one hundred thousand dollars, Harris and Yeaworth set out to cast the film. Steve McQueen was brought in after Harris spotted him in a stage production of Hat Full of Rain. Aneta Corsaut was brought in literally the day before filming was set to start. Rounding out the rest of the cast was much of the local acting talent, with some drawn from the nearby Hedge Row Theater Repertoire.
The film was shot in the neighboring towns of Chester Springs and Phoenixville, Pennsylvania over a thirty day period. Since Yeaworth was a minister, he required time off each Sunday in order to fulfill his duties at church. He and Harris had a rougher relationship during filming than during the scripting period, with Harris wanting things to be more scary, but the two got along well enough for the most part and would go on to make two more films together, 1959’s The 4D Man (which originally was meant to be a vehicle for Steve McQueen before the actor became popular and too pricey for them) and Dinosaurus! in 1960. An additional six months were required to complete the film’s FX, which caused the budget to go over by thirty thousand dollars. Distraught by this fact, Harris was assured by one of his investors that the film was still brought in for an amazingly cheap price. Having intended to change the film’s title from The Molten Meteor to The Glob, Harris learned that the latter was already copyrighted, so the name was changed again to The Blob.
No distribution deal had been made prior to the start of production, but since Harris owned a distribution company, he was not concerned and figured this was one aspect of the film he could easily handle on his own. Eventually he would screen the finished film to some Paramount executives, but they refused to pick the film up, only to later show interest in it when feeling uncertain about their own I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958). They bought the film, paying Harris well in excess the amount he had spent on producing it, and intended to run The Blob as the second part of a double feature. However, “Monster” was not shipped to many of the test theaters and The Blob ended up playing alone to some big bucks. Seeing its success with test audiences, the suits at Paramount knew the movie would have to go out on its own and soon a trailer, posters and pressbook were in circulation. The rest is, as they say, history. Paramount ordered three hundred copies and the film went on to be a big financial success, aided in part by the attention it received from comedians of the day. It helped to jump start Steve McQueen’s super stardom and would cement itself as a classic of 50’s genre filmmaking. Not bad, considering the entire project was undertaken and completed by little more than amateurs far removed from the Hollywood way of doing things.
The Blob seems to be a movie that people either hold in high regard, or just shrug their shoulders over when asked about. Perhaps because of the type of movie it is and the time period in which it was released, many viewers automatically assume it is another one of the low budget, bad movies with atrocious acting, silly FX and a horrible looking monster that people associate with science fiction and horror films of the 1950’s. For many people’s standards, this may very well be true. The truth is, no matter what one thinks of it now, it was one of the more polished genre efforts of the decade, even if it was the product of a group of people that had limited filmmaking experience. It might not have had the budget of a big studio release, but the end result easily competed with such fare. Proof in the pudding, so to speak, that skill and talent will win over inflated finances and spectacle.
For the most part, the title monster was something new in the worlds of cinema, though slightly similar creatures appeared in Hammer Studio’s 1955 film The Quatermass Xperiment (known in the U.S. as The Creeping Unknown) and their 1956 effort X The Unknown. The same year that The Blob hit the silver screen, 1958 also saw the release of Toho’s Bijo to Ekitainingen AKA The H-Man, which featured Blob-like monsters that were radiation-mutated people and who absorbed those they killed. Of course, in literature and comics such creatures had been popping up for years, such as in Slime by Joseph Payne Brennan, which first appeared in a 1953 issue of Weird Tales. A monster that more closely resembled the Blob appeared in Caltiki – The Immortal Monster one year later in 1959 (which featured cinematography and partial direction by Mario Bava). The Blob eventually inspired a sequel: Beware The Blob AKA Son of Blob in 1972 and a remake in 1988 (both of which were produced by Jack Harris as well). Other films in the last fifty years have also featured Blob-like monsters, including The Stuff (1985) and Phantoms (1998), the latter an adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel of the same name (and a kick ass one, if I may add).
Now there is talk once again of another remake. I really don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I guess time will tell. Until then, I’ll stick with the original, and to a lesser degree, the 1988 remake. For me it’s a slice of American life in the 1950’s, even if it is presented somewhat ideally and glosses over some of the social concerns of the time. Hey, if I wanted reality, I’d walk out my front door. No, I want a film that will transport me to another place and time…and do it without reminding me too much of how the world sucks. For me, The Blob is such a movie, so let me delve further into why I like it so much.
Like many of the horror and science fiction films of the late 1950’s, The Blob chooses to use teenagers as its central protagonists and viewpoint characters. This trend was pioneered by Sam Arkoff and James Nicholson over at American International Pictures, who recognized the ticket buying power of the teenage audience. Blob producer Jack Harris, who worked in film distribution and promotion before getting into the movie making business, also saw the potential of this demographic and crafted his movie accordingly. However, unlike other youth oriented films of the time, the teens in this film are not the wild, unlawful hooligans that maintain no respect for authority. In The Blob, the opposite is true. While they do engage in their fair share of horseplay and recklessness (and truthfully, what generation of teens did not?), they are shown to be good-natured, honest and most importantly, misunderstood. Try as they might, the adults seem to never believe them or take them seriously. While this generation rift doesn’t explode into violence, the friction is there, fueling in part the actions of Steve, Jane and later on, the other youths. With just about every teenager feeling at one time or another as if no one truly understands them, this subtle bit of angst helps the audience cheer them on in their efforts to warn others and ultimately, to be vindicated. Since teens made up the bulk of the viewing audience, this part of the film was no doubt intentional, making the leads even more appealing and relatable. Having the two generations come together at the end and work cooperatively towards a common goal is a nice way of putting across the idea that adults should not be so quick to judge the youths, while teens may want to remember that in order to be treated as an adult, one must act like one.
Another aspect of the film that in hindsight seems common in 50’s horror and science fiction is the idea that the entire film takes place in a small town and over the course of a single night. Given the fears of communism and the Red Menace that ran rampant during that decade, it is not entirely impossible to see the reasons for these elements. The idea that a festering evil that could spring to life in our very midst and quickly get out of control, steamrolling across the land until our very way of life was destroyed, was not unique to the cinematic worlds of monsters and science gone awry. The search for communists and sympathizers was everywhere and no place – not even small town U.S.A. was safe from the dangers they represented. Was the creature in The Blob an allegorical representation of some political fear? Who knows for sure, but a correlation can be easily drawn, whether one truly existed or not.
Disregarding the notion that a living organic creature encased in such a small shell could survive the fiery heat of atmospheric re-entry, the movie takes the alien visitor motif and turns it on its ear. Rather than making the extraterrestrial an advanced creature from another world, the film goes in the exact opposite direction and presents to us a monster from the other end of the evolutionary ladder: a creature than is nothing more than a giant one-celled animal. Possessing no brain, and thus no ability to think or reason, the monster is a life form that responds to pure stimuli and nothing more. This makes it even more frightening than the most dangerous predator, which will employ tactics in pursuit of its quarry and at least realize when it is in danger, backing off when need be. With such a beast you know there is a mind at work, no matter how primitive and instinctual, that can be relied upon to act within certain parameters. With the Blob, you have a monster than does not think, only responding to external stimulation as a basis for its actions. It will relentlessly pursue its prey with no care given to its own well being. Its physical nature makes it difficult to hide from or avoid, so while it may not be as ferocious or as physically intimidating as a “solid” animal, it is scary none the less. Factor in its sole purpose to exist, to absorb food and its resistance to numerous forms of attack, and you have a creature straight out of a nightmare. No explanation is given as to the Blob’s origins other than it comes from outer space and nothing more is really needed. It is such an elemental and basic form of life, it is enough that it just is.
Speaking of monsters, it is interesting to note that the movie theater has a coming attraction poster for a film called The Vampire and the Robot. Needless to say, this movie is quite fictional and astute viewers will note that the image is just a mock-up of the Forbidden Planet poster. Speaking of the movie theater, Tony reveals that the admission price was eighty cents! Sheesh, I wish that was still the price! The lowest price my memory recalls is about two dollars. I haven’t been to a full price movie in years, so I don’t even know what it is these days. Twelve bucks? Fifteen bucks? Twenty? Nothing would surprise me. BTW, am I the only one who thinks that the title The Vampire and the Robot is the perfect name for a film focusing on the 2000 presidential election?
We’ll start by looking at Steve Andrews. Through his drag race with Tony, Steve is shown to possess some of the reckless qualities that afflicts damn near every teen at one time or another. Yet, despite this he is shown to be an honest person who wants to do the right thing when a desperate situation calls for it. On Doc Hallen’s request, he returns to the woods to check on the Old Man’s origins, immediately goes to the police when he sees Doc Hallen killed and then refuses to let things go when no one believes his tale of a monster. He recruits his friends and again tries to warn the town using the proper channels, but when rebuffed by the authorities yet again, he takes matters into his own hands, a sure sign of his integrity and willingness to step up when a wrong needs to be righted. Really, who is going to root for a main character that is something of a jerk and delinquent? Oh, the teens in the audience might, but even though the movie is geared towards them, I guess the older folks need to have something about the protagonist that they can view in a positive light…and Steve’s honest nature is just that thing. So the character is just wild enough for the youths to appreciate, but still well mannered enough for adults to like. Talk about hitting all your demographic groups!
As for his portrayal of Steve Andrews, actor Steve McQueen really does give a great performance. Never once does he look like he is phoning in it or just saying the lines in order to get the job over and done. He truly does give it his best, which is why the character works so well. He invests the part with the right balance of youthful arrogance and emotional vulnerability. The audience shares his frustration with the adults around him and wants to see him succeed. Especially since the character is such a clean cut kid. The fact that in real life, the actor was known for being somewhat unpredictable and a troublemaker at times, really shows the stark contrast between the real Steve and the reel Steve. Nevermind the fact that he looks old enough to be the town’s mayor. He still comes across as genuine, even if the character he is essaying is just a bit on the idealized side. But then again, aren’t most of our heroes?
Next up is Jane Martin. For being the female lead in the film, Jane seems overlooked and underused at times. Maybe it is just my perception of her and the way the character does more reacting to events than actual decision making. While she supports Steve in his actions, she doesn’t take any sort of leading role and just seems to tag along for the ride. It’s a pity, because she is one of the stronger female characters to grace a 1950’s horror flick. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still decades away from the fearless, gun-toting Meg Penny of The Blob remake in 1988, played so well by Shawnee Smith, and on whom I had such a fanboy crush…but that is a topic for another day. No, Jane Martin is more the typical 1950’s teenage girl, at least by the preferred cinematic definitions of the term: she is wholesome, demure, chaste and maintains high morals. She also lets the men take the lead, but doesn’t collapse into a screaming wreck when the going gets tough. Well, almost. She does get a little panicky when she and Steve are trapped in the market’s freezer. Like Steve, she is shown to be a person who wants to do the proper thing when trouble arises. She compliments Steve’s character quite well and one definitely gets the impression that long after the events of the film, the two teens have cultivated a life-long relationship of some sort.
Jane of course, is played by Aneta Corsaut, who is best known for her role as Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show. Like co-star Steve McQueen, Corsaut was several years removed from being a teenager when she landed her role in The Blob (she was in fact about twenty-three or twenty-four, depending on exactly when in 1957 the film was shot). The part of Jane was her first role in a film or television show and the small town values that the character exemplifies was probably second nature for the actress, having grown up in small Kansas town herself. She endows Jane with a subtle mixture of innocence and fortitude. It seems obvious that Jane has never “parked” with a boy before, yet she is firm in demanding that her date address her properly. Corsaut plays this well and this sets the stage for her performance throughout the film: an odd blending of naivete and stalwart readiness. Though the part is more a support for the Steve Andrews character, Corsaut does a good job making Jane just as willing and brave as her male counterpart.
Now we come to the parts of the two main police officers in the film, Lieutenant Dave and Sergeant Bert. While they both represent authority as well as the often unbelieving and uncaring world of adults, they differ from each other quite drastically. Where Dave is willing to listen to the teens, cut them a break on occasion and even go to bat for them when everyone else is against them, Bert is more likely to condemn them all outright, regardless of the circumstances or the situation. He displays no patience when dealing with them and convinces himself that the kids are out to get him. Then again, Dave actually tries to get to know the kids while Bert seems more likely to strike up a conversation with a wall than seek out teens with which to chat. I can almost hear teenagers at the time booing Bert or making snide comments when he was on screen, very much in the same way my friends and I did, almost thirty years later with the unbelieving adults in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. The only bad part is that once the teens are vindicated, there is no scene with Bert having to admit he was wrong. That would have been a nice bit of closure to some of the movie’s themes. At least the character wasn’t killed, which is what would have happened in a more predictable film. As for the two actors playing these parts, they do a fairly good job. Neither had what could be deemed a lengthy career in television and movies, and probably spent much more time on stage than in front of camera, which often shows in The Blob when they inadvertently look at the camera a time or two. Still, they play their parts well enough that the audience will like and/or dislike them.
Finally, we’ll talk about everyone else in the film. The actors playing the teens, and whom were actually around nineteen or twenty years of age, do a decent job. When Robert Fields, as Tony Gressette, relates a story to Steve about the previous night’s shenanigans, he tells it like a real person would, with unexpected pauses and additions to the story, and not like an actor delivering a rehearsed speech. The group comes off as real kids, interested in cars, movies and girls. In fact, their antics in this film have always endeared me to the idea of being a teen in the 50’s. If I had a time machine and a way to make myself twenty years younger, my first destination (after getting the winning lotto numbers of course) would be the 50’s. The characters seem more like the memories I have of my friends and I as kids than young hoodlums. Their frustrations with adults called back many memories of my own. In addition to them, we have Olin Howland, who played the ill-fated Old Man that first discovers the Blob. He is not around for very long, but he plays his part well, making us feel sorry for him and the hideous death he must endure. This was his final film and he passed away in 1959 at the age of seventy-three.
Then we come to the monster FX. The titular monster doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on screen, but when it does it at least looks convincing. The first few times we see the creature, what we are really looking at is colored silicone gel, which certainly is effectively “goopy” enough to help sell the audience on the nature of the monster. In a few subsequent shots, a modified weather balloon is utilized in order to bring the gelatinous alien to life. This is most noticeable when the monster enters the auto shop. While one mechanic is under a car, working on it, we see the creature come in under a big roll-up door that is closed. This single instance may be the least convincing monster moment of the film, as the nature of the prop is pretty obvious. On the positive side, the shot is very fast and the audience is not allowed to scrutinize it too much. Another quick shot using the balloon method shows the monster in the background as it closes in on the unwary mechanic.
For the remainder of the scene and the movie, the monster is brought to life once again with the silicone gel. Since silicone gel does not perform on command, the producers had to get inventive in order to realize many of the ideas they hoped to get on film involving the monster moving about. This was solved through the use of miniature sets made to resemble the life-sized sets and locations used by the flesh and blood actors. These sets, along with the camera, were mounted onto a table that was fitted with hydraulics. Onto these miniatures the Blob AKA a big pile of gel, was placed. When the table was moved, gravity would pull the blob in various directions, but since the camera moved in tandem with the set, it gave the impression that the amorphous creature was moving. While this approach certainly makes the monster look life-like and credible, it is sometimes very easy to tell that the background is not a real one. Perspective plays a big role in these particular shots and some of the miniature sets did not always translate well to the big screen where even small movements could betray the lack of size.
In spite of whatever inherent drawbacks may exist in the FX methods, the film manages to make the monster look frightening. This may stem from its simple nature. The Blob is just that…a blob of goo. Breathing cinematic life into such a monster did not require a man in a cheap suit that photographed poorly or looked silly. No, the producers managed to use something real and tangible. This makes for a better monster in that the threat it represents seems much more real. No matter how great a modern CGI monster may look, or how much is spent on a great costume or make-up, there is something to be said for the simple approach.
Of course, we cannot discuss the film’s music and fail to mention the opening rock ‘n’ roll song. Both Carmichael and director Yeaworth were not overly thrilled when producer Jack Harris decided to replace the theme music that ran over the credits with the song in question. Eventually they would grow to like it. In our modern age, the song is one of the initial elements people think of when recalling the film and it really helps to anchor the movie within a specific time frame of American history. The writer of the song, Burt Bacharach, went on to no small amount of success, himself.
The sound FX in the film are pretty good as well. That is, when they are used. In the aforementioned scene with the Old Man in the woods, the sounds of the crickets (or whatever kind of bugs those are) is almost deafening, Yes, they might have turned the volume on that down just a little, but it still contributes to the eerie feeling of the sequence in general. Conversely, I wish the filmmakers had used sound FX in a few other areas, most notably the Blob itself. The creature is virtually silent throughout the entire film. While we expect as much from a brainless mass of tissue, I still think it would have been creepy to hear some sort of squishy sound as it rolled around or as it engulfed some poor sap in its gooey embrace. Maybe that would have been deemed too graphic or unsettling in those days. Then again, maybe they just forgot about it. I suppose that is why we have imaginations…we can just mentally add such details as we watch.
When taking a closer look, one can see signs of the film’s low budget. For one thing, film stock was at a premium during the shoot, so director Irvin Yeaworth did not have a lot of it to shoot multiple takes or film from more than one angle. He was forced to get creative with the limited resources he had and very much like martial arts films would do in later years, much of the film was “edited in the camera” so to speak. In other words, rather than shoot many scenes out of order and edit them together later, key segments are shot in order with a single camera, which sometimes requires a lot of leg work on the part of the film crew in order to get the proper sequence of angles and location shots. The lack of multiple angles is apparent in several scenes when two or more people are talking, with at least one of them with their back to the camera. Most directors with a single camera would shoot the scene many times, each time focusing on a different character. Here, Yeaworth had to just point and shoot, later relying on dubbing to make the scene work.
Another result of the movie’s meager resources is the film’s slower pacing. The funds were just not there to put a rollercoaster ride of a film on the big screen. Yeaworth had to draw the story out a little more and gradually build up to the climax, rather than offer thrills, chills and spills throughout. Personally, I like this approach. It opens opportunities for the writer (or writers) to develop the characters more and show them as real people and not just one-dimensional imbeciles drifting through the movie and reacting to events in a ludicrous fashion. Yes, it is the monsters and the horror that draws us to these films, but who hasn’t rolled their eyes in disgust at a movie character that behaves like an utter moron? These films may feature some very unreal elements, but in order for us to have fun, they need to be grounded in reality, and having the film filled with believable people is one step in that direction. In fact, I’d say it was the anchoring aspect to it all. The Blob takes the time to showcase both its characters and its monster, which in my opinion makes for a more satisfying film experience.
One aspect of the film that may or may not turn off some people is the intensity – or lack thereof – of the scare moments. During the filming period, director Yeaworth and producer Jack Harris often disagreed when it came time to decide how much to show. For example, in the scene where Steve sees Doc Hallen being killed by the Blob, Harris wanted the sight of the unfortunate physician to be more visible and exposed for the audience to see, overwhelming them with the horror of the moment. On the other hand, Yeaworth felt a more subtle, slightly obscured view of the Doc would be eminently more frightening, as the fleeting glimpse caught by the audience would leave them pondering what they did manage to see and thus, forcing them to use their imaginations to call forth their own ideas of horror. Which works better? I suppose it really is up to individual taste, but seeing a man covered in goo might not be as frightening as imagining what that goo may be doing to him.
This approach for utilizing the monster is used throughout the film. In fact, after the death of Doc Hallen, we do not see the Blob physically attack anyone again until it enters the movie theater’s projection room, and that instance is the final time we will see it. All the other deaths in the film occur offscreen. Even the grease monkey dies mostly out of view, his spasming legs the only sign of what is happening to him. Again, this helps to fuel our imagination. We know that the Blob dissolves flesh like an acid, absorbing people in what is no doubt a hideously painful way to die. So we don’t really need to see it happen in order to be horrified by it. The mere thought is enough to send chills down the spine.
No doubt, imagining an attack by the title monster was high on the list of things to think about when the monster invades a movie theater in the film’s final ten minutes. The correlation between the theater in the film and the real-life one in which the viewers were sitting was probably intentional on the part of the producers, who most likely had people looking nervously around them, trying to spot the Blob before it could get them. Of course, William Castle took this concept to a whole different level the following year with The Tingler. When the title monster in that movie attacks a film theater, selected seats in the real world, which had been electrically wired to emit a slight shock, zapped viewers. Between that and Vincent Price exhorting everyone to scream for all it was worth, people no doubt opened up and really let loose. In The Blob, the urging of the audience to scream was not as overt, but as one who did not experience this film in the theater in 1958, I cannot help but wonder what it was like at that particular moment.
If you are already a fan of 50’s monster flicks (and I commend you on your impeccable taste), then this is an absolute must see. Then again, if you really do appreciate such films, you have probably already seen it multiple times and own a copy of it in one form of media or another. If you have not seen it, then what are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy ASAP! On the flip side to that coin, if older films are not your cup of tea, then this might not be the film for you. While it is in color and closer to modern cinematic styles than that of a film from the early 40’s or 30’s, it is still a product of a bygone age. There is no swearing, no naked chicks (or dudes for those who want to see that) and no gore of any kind. Also, the pacing is slow by current standards and jaded viewers will not find it scary or creepy at all. So, if that sounds positively dull to you, by all means, don’t bother. I doubt that me recommending it would change your mind.
Love it or hate it, this film will always be considered one of the quintessential teen horror films from the 1950’s. Some people will find it long-winded, glacially paced, filled with cheesy FX and boring as hell. Others will find it fun, with subtle scares, a frightening monster and a story that will have them glued to the screen for eighty-two minutes. If you consider yourself in the former category…then what in the hell are you doing here, this far into this review? Go rent a Rob Zombie film or something. Needless to say, I count myself in the “love it” category.
Aliens – One gelatinous one-celled organism that reacts to stimuli and does not have any thinking or reasoning capabilities at all. Just like movie studio executives!
Annoying Kids – Jane’s younger brother Danny. Not too bad, but if I had to hear him say “gawd” rather than "guard" one more time, I think I was going to scream.
Forest Hijinks – Lots of running around in woods during the film’s first third. While the locale is quite creepy, with eerie sounds echoing in the dark, nothing much happens there.
Giant Monsters – As the Blob makes its way through the film, absorbing people left and right, it gets bigger and bigger, though not quite expanding to Marlon Brando size.
Haunted Houses – There are two places that get the spooky treatment: Doc Hallen’s house and the supermarket. Both play upon that fear of what may be waiting in the dark.
Hotrods – Every teen male in this film races around in a hotrod. We even get a drag race, though the participants opt to race backwards rather than forwards.
Stock Footage – Very little of this. Just a single instance: the very last shot of the film, when we see the Blob being deposited somewhere in the arctic.
Violence – The violence comes from people being eaten alive by the Blob, but this is never shown directly and always takes place off screen. We do see people covered by the blob.
7 confirmed, 40 to 50 estimated
Cigarettes smoked: 9
Times Jane loses old man’s dog: 2
Bad day-for-night shots: 4
Instances of people using phone: 20
Actors who look like teenagers: 0
Instances of Blob wrestling: 2
Car races: 1
Finger snaps in theme song: 38
Seconds to find fuse box in strange house: 16
Film crew who show up on screen: 2
Co2 extinguishers owned by fire department: 0
mins - Old man in the road! 20 points!
Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time Sergeant Bert grouses at or about teenagers, take a drink.
for larger image
Steve encounters the Old Man.
Man: “Take me to a doctor!”
Shadow’s Comment: This is the tragic result of foolishly mixing up Krazy Glue and personal lubricants.
Dave stops Sergeant Bert from storming the theater with his rifle.
Dave: “Don’t go in, Jim. This won’t do any good. It’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Comment: Uwe Boll has struck again!
Film & Me
Boy, oh boy. Where to begin? My earliest memories of this film are from the early 1970’s, when I was a wee lad of about four or five. I can recall watching the film at home with my older sisters and plainly remember looking at the Blob after it emerges from the movie theater, trying really hard to grasp what its shape was supposed to be, as I was expecting it to be a normal “solid” monster of some kind. This was a movie that I saw several times by the dawn of the 1980’s, when I began entering my early teens. The film was aired often in our area and since this was before we had a VCR, let alone Tivo or a DVR, we had to watch things when they aired or we were pretty much SOL. There was one instance that I will always remember.
The way our house was set up, the kitchen was adjacent to the family room, where the television was located. A small wall, about three and a half feet high separated the two rooms, so it was easy for people in either room to converse back and forth. Plus, from the kitchen table, one could see and hear the television. It was from this location that my mother would sit and work her crossword puzzle magazines. She wouldn’t have to be too close to the TV, but was still able to monitor anything I was watching. Mom tended to frown on anything that seemed supernatural in the slightest sense of the word.
On this one occasion, my father and I were in the family room, stretched out on the couch and floor, respectively. The moment came near the middle of The Blob when Steve and Jane go to the movie theater to enlist the help of Tony, Mooch and the others. At this point the movie shows us a clip of the film within the film, Daughter of Horror. During this particular moment, the narrator of that film says, “Yes, I am here. The Demon who possesses your soul.” Upon hearing this, my mother instantly called out, “Timothy, what are you watching in there?” I told her that we were watching The Blob. She didn’t believe it. My dad confirmed to her what we were watching. She still didn’t buy it, having just heard a reference to demons and soul possession, and said as much. At this point my father and I began laughing our asses off and had to explain to her about the old film that was playing in The Blob. Eventually she understood and let it go, but for years after that (more like decades) the incident was something the three of us would laugh about. Often, when tuning into to some movie, my father and I would repeat that line of dialogue from Daughter of Horror, only to get my mother to roll her eyes at us. Sadly, my mother has been gone for several years now and my dad moved out of state, so such memories are mine and mine alone to recall and enjoy.
In the twenty-five years or so since that fateful night (damn, has it really been that long?) I have seen The Blob countless times. It ranks in my top ten favorite films from the 1950’s and I can practically recite the dialog from memory at this point. Oddly enough, the film has inspired many nightmares over the years where I am being pursued by such a creature and cannot seem to get away from it. The Blob is a relentless monster because it reacts to nothing more that stimuli. Such mindless and relentless monsters are the type that frighten me most (well, ok, not frighten…more like unnerve). When I first saw the price of the Criterion DVD for The Blob, I balked, but I knew I had to have it sooner or later and went ahead and plunked down the cash for it. I have no regrets...
Shadow's rating: Nine Tombstones
This review is part of The Blob Family Picnic Roundtable. Be sure to click the banner and read all the other great reviews.