1. Film (1958). Tonylyn/Paramount. Directed Irvin S Yeaworth Jr. Written by Kay Linaker, Irving H Milgate, Theodore Simonson. Cast includes Aneta Corseaut, Steve McQueen and Earl Rowe. 86 minutes. Colour.
An Alien Blob which grows by absorbing flesh reaches Earth in a hollow meteorite – whose impact is witnessed by the young hero Steve Andrews (McQueen) and his girlfriend Jane Martin (Corseaut) – and duly begins to consume the inhabitants of a small US town. No one believes Steve's and Jane's report until the Blob's set-piece invasion of the local Colonial Theater during a showing and its consumption of some of the audience. Constantly enlarging as it gorges, it is finally defeated by Andrews's discovery that extreme cold renders it harmless: frozen solid with CO2 fire extinguishers, it is eventually airlifted to the Arctic. The special effects are by Barton Sloane.
Simple and moderately well made, The Blob is now affectionately remembered as one of the definitive Monster Movies of the period. A belated novelization is The Blob (1982 chap) by Julian May writing as Ian Thorne.
A 1971 sequel, Beware! The Blob (1971; vt Son of Blob; vt The Blob Returns), was directed by Larry Hagman, better known as J R of the television soap opera Dallas. A black-comedy spoof, it is only mildly amusing. [PN/DRL]
2. Film (1988). Palisades California/TriStar. Directed Chuck Russell. Written by Russell, Frank Darabont. Cast includes Del Close, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch and Shawnee Smith. 95 minutes. Colour.
This remake, which nowhere credits its 1958 predecessor (see above), follows the original story quite closely. Proficient and exciting, with good and expensive state-of-the-art horror special effects (imploding faces, a man sucked down a plughole) and a spunky heroine (Smith), it is nonetheless rigidly formulaic. All the main changes (the Blob is now the result of a US Government experiment in biological warfare) are derived from other films, notably The Crazies (1973). Distance may have lent too much charm to the original; this has none at all. The novelization is The Blob (1988) by David Bischoff. [PN]
see also: Cinema.
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