The Blob remake from 1988 is a bit of a forgotten film these days. Directed by Chuck Russell, it took the Steve McQueen starring original and brought it bang up to date for the late 1980s. But is it actually a good film, or is it a waste of your time? Well, read on fine Fiends, to find out…
In a tiny California town, high school students Brian (Kevin Dillon), Meg (Shawnee Smith) and Paul (Donovan Leitch) discover a strange, gelatinous substance that melts the flesh of any living creatures in its path. The deadly substance gets into the town’s sewer system, where it begins growing uncontrollably, occasionally emerging to feast on unsuspecting townspeople. A military clean-up crew is sent to eliminate the menace, but it may end up doing more harm than good.
So, that’s the plot. A very standard 10950 sci fi plot indeed. But this version moves the action to the 1980s, and adds a layer of Government conspiracy theory (which was becoming far more popular at the time) to proceedings. It’s a thin premise, sure, but it really does work effectively.
The Blob was a reasonable hit back in the 1950s. Most notable for being the big screen debut of legendary actor Steve McQueen, it rode the wave of 1950s sci fi monster mania. 30 years later, Chuck Russell, and scriptwriter Frank Darabont (who would go on to later success with the Shawshank Redemption) took the core idea, and updated it for modern audiences. Now, the lead characters stayed as teenagers, and naturally they save the day when the combined power of the adult population (the local Police, the military, scientists) are unable to prevent the titular creature from destroying everything in it’s path.
The acting is the film is uniformly good. You will spot plenty of familiar character actor faces popping up in strong support roles, and the young leads hold up their end of the deal quite well also. Sure, some characters are clearly marked as “cannon fodder”, but that is generally the case in horror films, especially from this period.
The films real star though is it’s wonderfully gross and gloopy special effects. The titular creature is brought to life through a mixture of on set practical effects, and some pretty good stop motion work. In the pre CGI era, if you made a film like The Blob, you’d better have made sure your effects guys were up to the task. Well, Tony Gardner and his crew were more than capable. Each death by The Blob is suitably gruesome, and the creature itself is bizarrely effective, oozing around the films sets with a disconcerting amount of speed.
Shot on a modest budget, the film looks pretty good. Yes, it is quite grainy in the many darker scenes, but this is to be expected for a film from this era. The transfer to Blu Ray is pretty decent, but could be a bit better, especially when it comes to the grain.
This Australian release is a pretty basic set. the only extras you get are as follows:
- Directing The Blob: An interview with Chuck Russell.
- Theatrical Trailer.
And that’s it.
The Blob: The Verdict:
Overall, The Blob is a much underrated and underseen film. It ticks all the boxes you could want for an enjoyable night in, and is only let down by the lacklustre presentation of the disc.
3.5/5 Fiends. Needs more extras.
The Blob Gallery:
Click to enlarge.