Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Blob (1958): The Blob and I Both Hate the Cold- Nifty!

I'll admit it. I was always extremely dubious of the Blob and what power it would actually have to cause me to shake in my boots. The idea of the monster being a ball of jelly just never seemed like something I wanted to admit to being scared to. Now I realize the 1958 version is pretty tame compared to the remake- but before I feast my eyes on the remake I must of course watch the original (I learned that lesson the hard way when I saw Cotton Weary in The Omen). As it turns out- a giant rolling ball of raspberry jam is actually kind of scary. I'm not sure how it would feel to be killed by it- but I'd imagine it's not a far cry from being slowly digested for over a thousand years in the belly of the Sarlaac.

Now right off the bat I noticed a striking similarity that many of the movies I have watched recently have. A strange shooting star type of object crashes and someone goes looking for it- resulting in some serious trouble. People... stop going to investigate a fallen shooting star!!! Worst case scenario you'll find a giant circus tent with Killer Klowns
OR creepy crawly slugs looking to fly into your mouth rendering you into a zombie! Then there's also the off chance that you'll turn into a giant plant after touching said fallen star
or even that some sticky raspberry flavored jam will attach itself to you and then slowly take your entire body over!!! It's just not safe no matter how you look at it. So please stop doing it.

Now anyways- The Blob begins it's reign by crashing down to earth and then sticking itself on the hand of a nice old man. "This is the BLOB?" I thought to myself. It was so small, so harmless- how could this be? Don't worry though because as time went on that little piece of jam start absorbing that poor old man more and more- until through his absorption- the blob became an even bigger ball- that now had the power to roll. Yes that's right it's mobile.

I did happen to love the scene in the doctor's office- when the doctor realized what the blob was capable of. Unfortunately the nurse had to ruin it by being a complete moron--but anyways- I was surprised at the decent amount of tension that that scene created. Slow moving ball of sticky goo or not- one wrong move and your body is feeding that sticky goo and making it larger. Even more awesome was the movie theater scene- the classic movie theater scene of unsuspecting movie goers suddenly being taken over by "the monster". I couldn't believe how much I loved seeing that scene because of how iconic it really is. People screaming and running away- and then the blob just blobbing behind them? Brilliant!

Now certainly the effects leave little to be desired-
but it's a movie from the 50s and although the miniaturized versions of the town and the blob taking over are very obvious (I personally like when the force of the mini blob makes the mini diner kind of move by accident) the actual scenes still have some impact. I think what works well is being shown the blob when it first started it's assault. Then seeing it completely take over the diner is terrifying for two reasons; because it's completely ridiculous size is now capable of pretty much anything and because you know that it's massive size is due to all the bodies it has absorbed and killed.

The other part that really surprised me- was how morbid everything seemed at the end. Not to be a complete loser but that scene reminded me of the end of Never Been Kissed.
When she's standing on the pitcher's mound just waiting- and the time runs out and he doesn't come! And everyone sits back down and is sad. Yes that is exactly what was going through my mind- when all hoped seemed lost and our main characters were trapped inside the diner waiting to die and be absorbed. Complete and utter depression. Phew my coolness is taking over- I need to sit down.

Parallelled to Drew Barrymore or not that scene was very surprising to me. I did for a minute there think that that was it- it's over. Good try Steve McQueen but you are done for. And then of course we get that great moment of realization and understanding and tada! The blob gets taken care of. Happy endings seemed to be much more prevalent back in the old days- man usually always being victorious and usually due to the fine art of Science. Now however our emotions are toyed with and we leave the movie theater feeling as though a ball of jelly has absorbed our hearts. It's a cruel world.

I also wouldn't be opposed to the idea of remaking the Blob (again) but having it be called THE BLOG.
(Which someone cooler and smarter already thought of) This is actually what my typo kept being when I'd type too fast. At first I was annoyed- but then it totally made sense. My blog will probably one day absorb me- and I'll be lost forever amongst these pages. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be smushed on a page with John Landis but with my luck I'll probably be stuck in a room with someone ugly and uninteresting like Brittany Murphy (whoops too soon?) Sorry.

Buy The Blob at Horror Movie Empire


The Mike said...

YES! The Blob pretty much made me the monster movie geek I am. Glad you dug it.

The remake is pretty good, too. Not looking forward to Rob Zombie's attempt.

William Malmborg said...

I saw this movie with my grandmother when I was really little and it freaked me out. Afterward I always made sure to know where the red fire extinguishers were anywhere I went just in case, and to keep an eye on the vent covers.

the ringmaster's realm said...

Last year I was able to watch The Blob inside the Colonial Theatre where it was filmed when I attended Blobfest and it was AMAZING! Great Movie!

The Vicar of VHS said...

You may think the effects leave a little to be desired, but in the 1950s (and beyond) that shit was CUTTING EDGE. In fact I loved watching the making-of featurette on the Criterion release where they talked about how they made the blob move, which was by putting the red silicone in a miniature shoe-box version of the grocery store affixed to a camer, turning the whole apparatus (so that it appeared to be stationary) so that the blob "rose up" thanks to gravity, then turned again so that it oozed back down. (Then, of course, speeding up the film.) That kind of ingenuity, where you basically had to INVENT something in order to get the effect you wanted, seems largely lost today in the age of CGI software suites that a 13 year-old can use to make giant monsters destroy his school. :P

And call me an old fart, but I think the stop-motion Harryhausen stuff and the oozy blob effects here are more effective in their "object"-ness than any CG stuff we see these days. If that makes sense.

oducerproducer said...

Gotta love the Blob's theme song.