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THE BLOB (1988) - 3 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1988 TriStar Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 21 September 2007

The Characters:  

  • Meg Penny - Attractive though she may be (and she does a great 50's "screaming damsel" face), just look at what she did to her mother's cashmere sweater. Society expects more from a varsity cheerleader, Meg.
  • Brian Flagg - "Down with authority! Evel Knievel is my father! Mullets for everyone!"
  • Fran - Friendly woman who either owned or worked at the local diner. I use the past tense, because Fran gets munched.
  • Sheriff Geller - He was interested in dating Fran. Unfortunately, the Blob made that a moot point. The two potential lovebirds do end up together (their constituent parts, anyway).
  • Deputy Briggs - Check it out, foldable deputies take up half the space!
  • Scott & Vicki - The varsity football player considered himself a ladies man. She made the mistake of confusing a mass-produced class ring and alcohol with love. Both of them are consumed, and I don't mean by passion.
  • Paul - He seemed like a decent enough boy. Gets gobbled.
  • The Reverend - Nutty clergyman who failed to notice that someone inserted ten pages from "At the Mountains of Madness" into his Bible. Not many people would confuse a shoggoth with a burning bush.
  • Dr. Meddows - He was involved in the experiment that created the formless devourer. Yet another victim.
  • The Blob - It starts out cute, but quickly grows into a terrifying protoplasmic mass that resembles a spastic stomach. From what I can tell, it is carbonated.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

As I mentioned in my review of the 1958 film, the thought of an amorphous, all-consuming monster is something that actually scares me. To the Blob, you and I are little more than treats - fleshy gummy human snacks to be engulfed and savored as they slowly dissolve. The original movie did not really show anyone being eaten. This, the remake, was released in 1988. You remember the 80's, right? People are dissolved in graphic detail.

Before I get started, I should mention that this film has an astounding number of actors and actresses that I recognized. "Hey, isn't that? I remember seeing her on..." and so forth. It is a good, solid cast.

The movie's setting is a struggling ski resort community in Colorado named Arbeville. Business has dried up after a few years without any meaningful snow and the town is slowly becoming one of those places that kids move away from after they graduate from school. Flagg is the local teenage troublemaker, but not due to being a thief or dangerous type. The problem is that his nonconformist attitude causes him to ride a motorcycle, drink beer, and challenge the law. He must have some redeeming traits, because Moss, the owner of the town's garage, trusts Flagg enough to loan out his ratchet and socket set to the young man.

It might be a small town, but there has to be more than one ratchet in Arbeville. Have you ever met a mechanic with only one ratchet? My mother has more than one ratchet. However, if she continues to insist upon using a ratchet in lieu of a hammer, I might be forced to liberate her tools to a place where they will be cared for by someone who appreciates them.

Yeah, I bought my mother a ratchet set and now she hammers nails with the head of the ratchet. I'm not bitter.

An old coot who collects aluminum cans witnesses the arrival of a flaming meteor and climbs into the crater. He finds a thick mass of protoplasm that attaches itself to his hand and starts dissolving the flesh. As might be expected, having one's hand digested by a shapeless monster is painful. Even cutting off the infected limb proves useless. The Blob just creeps further up the old coot's arm. Sure, it cauterizes the wound; it also exposes more nerve endings to whatever digestive acid the Blob uses to break down living tissue.

One thing that stumbling through the woods at night screaming because a hideous blob is eating your hand will do is attract attention (oddly enough). Ditto with running into the road while acting the same way. Flagg, Paul, and Meg (the latter two on their first date) take the old coot to the local hospital. Though the town's medical facility must specialize in skiing injuries, such as pulled muscles, shattered kneecaps, and removing pine bark from people's faces, the old man is taken to a back room for eventual treatment. The football player and his date remain, while the leather-jacketed rebel takes off.

The doctor waits a little too long to examine the old coot. Paul discovers that they no longer have a whole old coot. What remains is more like half a coot, which is no coot that anyone would want at all. Paul then discovers that the Blob hates varsity football players even more than I did in high school. Meg sees her prospective boyfriend get dissolved and passes out. The Blob, sensing that the police might be coming, leaves the hospital and goes looking for the preferred victims of horror movie monsters the world over: canoodling teenagers.

Ha! "Canoodling!" I told you I would use it, Brother R, and there it is!

Nobody believes Meg's story about a varsity football player-eating blob (insert fat cheerleader joke here), though everyone is of the agreement that the young lady is a little upset. Oh well. Meg's daddy is a pharmacist. She will have plenty of good drugs on hand to ensure that she stays happy.

The whole "take your valium like a good little girl" bit does not sit well with Meg. She sneaks out of her bedroom to find Flagg, who was briefly held as a suspect in Paul's murder until the Sheriff displayed an incredibly reasonable attitude and released the young man. As the two unlikely allies, rebel and cheerleader, talk about the Blob over slices of pie at Fran's diner, Deputy Briggs and some volunteers search for signs of Paul's killer.

Okay, I understand that Arbeville is supposed to be in the middle of an Indian summer. However, if that is the case, why is everyone wearing jackets and sweaters? Don't mind me, just move on. I complain about stuff like this all the time, but my reaction to realizing, "It is awfully hot for this time of year." is not adding another layer of clothing.

The Blob shows up at the diner, where it proves that you can fit a human being down the drain of a commercial deep sink, but they might get stuck at the bend of the s-trap. The teenagers survive by hiding in the walk-in freezer. Fran is not so lucky. She tries using a pay phone. That proves to be a poor choice when the Blob surrounds the phone booth. The glass enclosure implodes when the Blob squeezes it and, damn, the world has one less Fran.

Having sampled the offerings at the greasy spoon diner (try the short order cook; you'll love him) the Blob returns to the storm drains under the town.

About now, the government shows up. Dozens of soldiers wearing biological containment suits begin to scour the woods, while other teams collect the townsfolk and quarantine them at the town hall. The story fed to the citizens is that the meteor may have been infected with an extraterrestrial virus. Meg and Flagg are separated during the quarantine. She joins the rest of her family at the town hall, except her younger brother who is at the movie theater. Our heroic rebel finds Dr. Meddows and hears the true story of the Blob's genesis. It is a biological warfare experiment gone wrong! Meddows and some other scientists said, "Hey, what would happen if we exposed Ebola to interstellar radiation?" and some knucklehead at the Pentagon thought that sounded like a pretty good idea. Russia already has nuclear bombs, but they don't have any weapon in the important all-consuming-blob arena.

The Russian ambassador, when questioned about how his country will deal with the all-consuming-blob gap that recent American breakthroughs have created, responded by saying, "Who the Hell wants something like that? Play with it in your own yard. Potato sushi." or words to that effect.

Meg slips away to the town's theater to find her brother, Kevin, and runs smack into the Blob again (well, almost - she doesn't touch it, because we know what happens then). The amorphous horror has dramatically increased in size and continues to add mass by absorbing a relatively large portion of the audience. Meg, Kevin, and Kevin's friend (let's call him "Fodder Boy" - though his real name is Eddie) are forced to flee into the storm drain to escape. "Fodder Boy," as you might have guessed, does not make it; he is pulled away under the water and digested. Kevin climbs out of a storm drain, but Meg cannot fit and is saved at the last moment by Flagg, who uses his motorcycle to outpace the Blob in the water-filled tunnels.

The military insists on shooting at the Blob. Meaning that we know, sooner or later, the rebel and his cheerleader must find a way out of the drain so that Flagg can challenge the monster with a massive snow making truck. Seriously, Moss has a huge truck in his shop that shoots snow out of a nozzle. Why would the resort have something like that, rather than a bunch of regular snow guns? It is a big, wheeled truck. No way can it drive up the side of a mountain. They must use it to coat the roads with ice and snow (like a snow plow, in reverse). The tourists must love that. Why is this town on the brink of extinction?

That truck is pretty crazy and, from what we see, it uses liquid nitrogen.

Something interesting about this remake is that I had always considered the government conspiracy angle to be superfluous. I thought it was unneeded and detracted from the story. That the Blob should be a completely alien life form was an unalienable truth. Watching it again and thinking my way through the story, I discovered that changing that little detail would dramatically alter the entire film. Flagg's distrust of authority loses its purpose and the military's sudden appearance becomes improbable when you remove the "government experiment gone amok" basis. Remakes are usually something I could live without, but this one is quite good and a worthwhile update to the original. My hat is off to the people responsible.

Banner

The Blob and its kin have been the subject of a number of movies. A couple of the b-movie sites thought that a picnic of reviews was in order. Click on the banner to see the supersoaker page.

The B-Movie Film Vault Beware! The Blob!
Cinema Suicide First Spaceship on Venus
Darksider's Realm The Stuff
Side Order of Ninjas The Green Slime
Shadow's B-Movie Graveyard The Blob (1958)
The Tomb of Anubis The H-Man
WTF Film Enemy from Space
Badmovies.org The Blob (1988)


Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Ski resorts always have access to cold beer.
  • Never buy condoms from the same pharmacy where your priest gets his hay fever medication.
  • Make sure you use a ten-foot pole, especially if what you are poking came from outer space.
  • Mad Dog 20/20 + vodka + Hawaiian Punch = romance.
  • Phone booths are almost airtight.
  • A ratchet is one of the most useful objects in the universe.
  • The military arm of the CDC owns a lot of used bread trucks.
  • LAW rocket launchers are the ultimate drain cleaners.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - The tutorial is about to begin. It teaches you how to manipulate objects and train your creature. The tutorial shows it doing all sorts of cool stuff, because what wouldn't be cool about a twenty-foot tall anthropomorphic tiger? Mine is stupid; it never does anything cool. All it does is poop and eat livestock.
  • 5 mins - Bobby Boucher hates this part of the movie.
  • 19 mins - This could be a little awkward...
  • 31 mins - To this day, I do not trust women with silicone implants.
  • 46 mins - What is the gaff for? Does it look like a fish?
  • 47 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST STRAWBERRY JAM!
  • 57 mins - Is there any reason that our government is sending military working dogs to deal with a viral outbreak?
  • 78 mins - What we have here is a classic Colorado standoff.
  • 81 mins - "Just great, an earthquake. Could today get any worse?"
  • 90 mins - You know, you cannot find canning jars like that anymore.

Quotes: 

  • Flagg: "My bike's broken down in Elkin's Grove. I was thinking, maybe I could borrow your ratchet set?"
    Moss: "The Summit's got me overhauling six damn Skidoos, three Cats, and two flatbed snow makers - by Monday."
    Flagg: "What's the big hurry? It must be seventy degrees out there."
  • Kevin: "Mom, we're in a hurry. We're going bowling with Anthony."
    Fodder Boy: "And then to the movies!"
    (Kevin kicks the other kid under the table.)
    Ms. Penny: "What movie?"
    Kevin: "'Garden Tool Massacre,' it's your basic slice and dice."
    Mom: "Your basic what?"
    Fodder Boy: "Well, this guy in a hockey mask, he chops up a few teenagers...but don't worry, there's no sex or anything bad."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note blob1.wav Meg: "Nobody believes me about what happened tonight."
Flagg: "What did happen?"
Meg: "You were there. You saw!"
Flagg: "All I saw was an old man with a funky hand. That's all I saw."
Green Music Note blob2.wav Flagg: "Well, your meteor brought something, alright, but if it's a germ, it's the biggest son of a bitch you've ever seen."
Green Music Note blob3.wav Dr. Meddows and two others (one a Colonel) discuss the organism.
Green Music Note blob4.wav Soldier: "It got them, Bigelow and Wilson!"
Flagg: "How do we get out of here?"
Soldier: "They were trying to scream...inside of it...trying to scream!"
Flagg: "Listen to me! How do we get out of here?"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipblob1.mpg - 4.2m
Fran is trapped inside the phone booth, until the spastic stomach monster surrounds the glass enclosure and squeezes.

For the longest time, I thought that the Blob suddenly manifested teeth during this attack, but reader Walter Wiggins did a frame by frame and solved the mystery: those are Fran's fingers; they just look like teeth at first glance.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 [3] 4
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #17. Posted on March 07, 2008, 03:42:20 PM by Ted
I remember seeing this movie when I was really young I'm only 21 now but I love this movie.  The 50's through the 80's saw the best horror movies, even remakes were be good.  Now days my generation is stuck unoriginal teeny bopper trash.
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #18. Posted on May 12, 2008, 05:37:10 AM by J.D.
No kidding! Movies these days just seem to crank out sleeze, T & A and CG. As if that's going to make up for lack of entertainment. Far too many movies these days just use lots of CGI to cover weak ideas. Take Riddick for instance. What's so good about it beyond that they poured a bunch of action scenes and CG? A character like Flagg was a misfit that found his moment. Riddick was a glorified criminal. In the model of a Hip Hop gangsta. Really he didn't display any worth while traits in Pitch Black. But then he's some sort of evil hero who saves the universe by Chronicles. I'm of the same opinion of the author Goodkind on such matters. Like: A=A. A society must have values.
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #19. Posted on July 14, 2008, 08:58:13 PM by Jaymes
Okay... The 1958 version was ALOT BETTER! So i have to say the movie not having the Actual Downingtown Diner and the actual Colonial Theater made the movie even worse. And movies like the blob should not be rated R.
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #20. Posted on July 31, 2008, 04:24:56 PM by Rev. Powell
Add me to the list of those who think that this version is better than the original.  That doensn't mean I think this version is great, just that the Steve McQueen version is horribly dull. 

A few more lessons learned:

If Matt Dillon had worn a mullet, he may have ended up like his less succesful brother Kevin.

Alien bacteria killed the dinosaurs.

In the sewers, motocross bikes aren't subject to the laws of gravity.

You can always tell the highest ranking member of a government biological containment squad because his helmet is the only one with a cool green backlight in certain key scenes.



Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #21. Posted on August 20, 2009, 06:56:19 PM by Patrick Jackson
The only thing I didn't enjoy about this movie was that Shawnee Smith's character, for all her advertising, kept getting mercilessly upstaged with Kevin Dillon's. Pretty sexist; the producers should have let her be more the heroine, since the whole damsel bit has been done to death.

Also, most of the supporting cast (save those with stylishly gooey death scenes) are dramatically squandered. You gotta ask yourself why Meg goes to all that trouble for her little brother; not only isn't he very brave, he's obnoxious to boot! Or hardly his sister's brother, at least. (Just try to imagine Tristar Pictures' previous horror outing, THE MONSTER SQUAD, if the kids were like Eddie Beckner and Kevin Penny! Maybe a decent satire, but that's it.) 
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #22. Posted on August 21, 2009, 09:58:53 PM by SkullBat308
Fun little flick.  I am one of the few that actually prefers this over the original.

I agree, much better than the original and that's great too! This is one of my favourite movies.
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #23. Posted on May 13, 2011, 11:59:17 AM by SwimTiger
I'm a big fan of the original and also the remake. Although the remake has much better FX...it's too bad they didn't have a sequel.
Re: The Blob (1988)
Reply #24. Posted on June 15, 2013, 12:46:47 PM by cqmorrell
Used to get nightmares from this all the time in my youth ...

If anyone's curious: Abbeville, Louisiana, the place where this was filmed, looks almost exactly as it did 25 years ago. The theater's apparently closed down, and a walk down the alley beside it reveals that there isn't a manhole cover there in real life. Bummer.
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