Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Blob (1988): Shawnee Smith DOES Have Feelings!

I wasn't surprised that The Blob was a special effects spectacular because I had been told so countless times. I also wasn't surprised that the 1988 remake would surpass in many ways its predecessor because again, I had been told this countless times. However, I WAS deeply surprised that no one bothered to mention the little fact that Shawnee Smith was in this.

Well, Shawnee Smith AND that guy who played Babe Ruth in the Sandlot.

Mostly the Babe Ruth guy, but Shawnee Smith? You mean her career didn't start out in Saw? Yes, yes I know I'm sadly misinformed but I blame all of you who didn't tell me sooner. I also blame whoever decided that that haircut was a good choice for Kevin Dillon. Christ, the number of times I kept asking myself who on earth that woman in the leather jacket was!

Sticking mainly to the story of the original, 1988's The Blob puts emphasis on improving what most of us found comical in the 1958 classic--the gelatinous ball of jello. Personally I got a great kick out of that jello ball--but for a ball of jello that absorbs human beings, it was in retrospect quite tame. In 1988 however, things have changed and the Blob finally becomes what we had all been hoping for: a giant sack of blood and guts. A Christmas tree of intestines!

It actually looked and felt repulsive which is perhaps what I loved most about this. It turned something slightly comical into something absolutely terrifying, while at the same time offering up an explanation for the blob's existence. In other words 1988's The Blob is the true meaning of a great remake. Taking something to be improved upon, making it better AND adding a little dash of originality.

Watching The Blob is like wanting to know how babies are made and then being shown a birthing video. When Steve McQueen and his lady friend were screaming about the blob and the blob was lazily rolling on top of people and "eating" them, we came to wonder "Hmm but what does that actually look like?". Then we were shown "the birthing video" and suddenly we regretted ever wanting to know. Seriously, have you ever been more disgusted and terrified then when you saw this?

And yes I was seriously debating whether or not to trick you and put a baby coming out of a vagina there. Consider yourselves lucky.

But really? It's quite possibly the best special effects and makeup I have ever seen in my life. The extent to which that blob was detailed--especially when it tended to spread out and look like an actual ball of guts and repulsiveness was astounding.

The live moving, action shots however well ehhh we'll just gloss over that for the time being.

Yet another fine point of recognition was how even though the blob typically kills through absorption--this blob killed with a surprising amount of versatility! People weren't just oozed on... people were fucking pulled down sink drains,

snapped in half,

and completely pulverized.

It was like a legitimate party for my eyes and face. Also notable however is the film's courage. Instead of showing the death of a poor defenseless cat (there were a few cats I should add) a little boy was eaten instead. Few films I think would try out that little experiment. It was especially shocking and at the same time immensely rewarding, as that little shit annoyed the crap out of me.

And then clearly The Blob cannot be talked about without mentioning Shawnee Smith. As I said before, she really surprised me. I was truly inspired when she grabbed that machine gun and started screaming things on top of that truck!

"Who was this person?" I thought to myself. Surely not the ever stoic and painfully dry host of Season 1 of Scream Queens. Well hot diggity dog it IS Shawnee! think I'm kidding but I'm serious, I really got a kick out of her performance and I'm a little surprised that it isn't talked about more. In fact, I think she just inspired a future post that I will make about chicks with guns.

Kevin Dillon on the other hand is ehh a little too ugly for me to care about.

But I did love how the lover boy football player was so rapidly taken care of. A true deviation from the original, where letterman jackets were in their prime. Once again 1988's Blob turns conventions on their heads while still managing to pay decent respect to the film that it owes its origins to. These kinds of remakes are very rare and it's time people started realizing what RESPECT is, fool.

I was shocked before I had even seen this that there was talk to remake a film that was already a remake. But you have no idea how completely appalled I am now. I imagine the driving force is to improve upon the live action blob that I glossed over. With the sudden out pour and peacock strutting that CGI is producing it is no wonder that someone wants to get a moving blob to look believable. I would also imagine that the government conspiracy theme is a driving force since a lot of people tend to hate the government--think The Crazies remake as well. Yes, I think the untrustworthy nature of the government is our country's latest big "fear", and therefore the latest new prototype of villain. But that doesn't mean you have to remake The Blob again. No siree......blob......!

Speaking of versatility I'm awarding this blob the Versatile Blobber award!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.


The Mike said...

BLOB!!!!!!!! Good stuff Andre! While I will always deeply entirely love the original, I totally respect the heck out of the remake. I love the birthing analogy, too. And Versatile Blobber? Too awesome!

The Mike said...

Oh, and sorry you never heard about Shawnee Smith in this. She's so awesome.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

I love this remake. Definitely one of the horror movie highlights of the 1980s. Sorry you didn't know Shawnee Smith was in this. She and Kevin Dillion do a great job here. And the special effects are pretty rad.

Yeah, Rob Zombie's remaking The Blob - without the actual blob in it, as he has claimed. I guess instead of jelly, he'll have some really obese guy stabbing people for minutes on end in some redneck town where "fuck" is the most common word. Sad really.

And I love the Versatile Blobber thing. Hilarious.

Dorian Gray said...

Love the Blob '88-- it's one of the few remakes that gets it right. I've gotta agree with you on Kevin Dillon's god awful hair (not to mention the weird pirate looking white shirt that he wears--eww). I do like how Kev and Shawnee team up and become friends by the end, rather than forcing them to become romantically involved, which is what I kind of what I expected when I watched it for the first time. Anyway I've been a fan of this movie for a long time so I'm glad that you were finally able to see it and that you enjoyed it!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

It was the most influential horror film of my life. It's not just about the effects but it also had a point about the Cold War... which was a year till it was over. Chuck Russell really made something out of the original material. Glad you had a chance to experience it!!

Strange Kid said...

I have to admit that when I saw the first Saw, it completely went over my head that Shawnee Smith had been in The Blob until a friend pointed it out to me. To be honest, I actually prefer The Blob over saw... the effects are just stellar!

Andre said...

Thanks all!

The Mike- thank you for your condolences. I hope in the future people can keep better track of letting people know about Shawnee Smith.

Fred- No actual blob!? That just blew my mind. Ugh yes the white trash, off the walling swearing montage is close. Sigh.

Thanks Dorian good point that they do seem more like friends. Although I'm sure they ended up in the sack anyways, even though Kevin Dillon is ugly.

Rick- You are a wise Blob sage. I didn't have the brain power to engage in the comparison to the Cold War aspect! Maybe next time when I'm used to the effects I can fix that.

Strange Kid- I prefer ANYTHING over Saw. But especially, The Blob!

Scare Sarah said...

Loved this film. Always made me want a shower though..

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

Andre - HAHA!!! First time I didn't have the brain power either. I only noticed it after my... lets see... 25th time seeing it. ;)

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Shawnee Smith (as she was in 1988 when she was 18, not as she is now obviously). By the way, "THE BLOB" is a fantastic film and one of the most ludicrously under-rated horror films of all time but another reason it holds a special place in my heart is that when principal photograghy was taking place at the beginning of 1988 Heather O` Rourke was still alive (literally the last few weeks of her life in fact) so whenever i watch this movie its like i`m actually bringing Heather back to life and it is such a magical feeling.

Pearce said...

This was the #1 must-see movie for me & my friends when it came out (I was thirteen) and yeah it did not disappoint. I had a crush on Shawnee Smith for quite a while afterwards - she's the reason I watched the remake of Carnival of Souls.

I put this up there with The Thing and The Fly for excellent '80s goop remakes. Proof that remakes don't have to suck, and that '80s gore was the best.

Daniel Danny Dan said...

I flappin love this movie and even moreso that you touched on all the reasons why; Shawnee's badassery, awesome FX way better than they had any right to be and killin' some kids over kitties is always preferred in my movies. Additional squish for calling out Kevin Dillon fug. I mean, you can expect Matt to lend him some cred in casting but how much must we endure? *blech*

-Lou said...

I tend to shovel sewage onto most any remake just on general principle, but this is one example of a remake that vastly improved on its source material.

Still, we don't need a third Blob. Rob Zombie is really starting to annoy me.

Thomas Duke said...

I was a fan of this movie and of Shawnee, so I had the reverse reaction watching Saw, thinking "what the hell?!? Shawnee Smith is in this?" I think this is one of the best remakes better, pretty easily surpassing the original.