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THE BLOB - 3 Slimes
Unrated
Copyright 1958 Fairview Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 1 April 2001

The Characters:  

  • Steve - Steve McQueen! Impulsive teenager who knows what is wrong and right, but sometimes being bad is just too much fun. Has a hard time speaking in complete sentences when agitated.
  • Jane - Gullible girl that thinks Steve is the bee's knees. She is more than a little prude at first, but after he saves the town (and her) I'd imagine a few things loosened up.
  • Lieutenant Dave - One of the most reasonable men to ever wear a badge.
  • Sergeant Jim Bert - Jerk who hates teenagers since his wife was killed or injured by a hot rodding kid. It's easy to ignore your average jerk, but not so easy to ignore one with good marksmanship skills.
  • Mooch, Tony, and Al - Bullies or buddies, it is hard to understand their social interactions with Steve.
  • Danny - Annoying younger brother to Jane, he is not afraid of the Blob. Perhaps watching it dissolve his arm would change that outlook. Stupid kid.
  • Dr. Hallen - Set a fashion statement that Gregory Peck could not ignore, plus he was obviously an NRA member.
  • Nurse Kate - Blob chow! Come and get it!
  • Mr. Old Coot - A balanced part of any Blob's diet.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Primarily this is a story about the establishment not trusting the younger generation. It is apparent the latter are just young and out to have fun, which annoys geezers on principle. Oh yeah, there's also this formless horror from space that can ooze through the smallest opening and dissolve flesh on contact.

As a child I might have respected mommy and daddy, but they didn't frighten me. Not like the title creature here at least. Blessed with a vivid imagination anyway, after insisting (as only children can - we're all brats at heart) on watching "The Blob" I found it the most terrifying movie ever made. For years reoccurring night terrors would send me tearing through the house, fleeing from its hungry protoplasm. Just imagine dealing with a child who is asleep, but screaming at the top of their lungs with eyes wide open. Eventually the thing would corner me (I guess), prompting a gruesome dance that was the sure sign of it latching on with hungry pseudopodia. Years later I would commiserate with Dirk the Daring every time that door opened and a hideous black mass engulfed him.

*Shiver*

Anyway, how about some plot? First off, I have to tell you that the movie begins with an amazingly out of place song about the Blob playing over the opening credits. "Beware of the Blob it creeps and leaps..." I love it! Almost makes you sad when the tune trails off and things get down to business. Steve has just succeeded in convincing Jane that his love is true, which probably earned him a stanza in some teen ballad, when a meteorite lands nearby. Thoughts of baseball jargon are cast aside as they search for the fallen star.

Unsurprisingly, some old coot hears the meteorite and goes to check out the modest impact crater. He uses a stick to poke at the space rock, causing it to crack open. What started my wheels turning is that, despite landing mostly intact, it breaks when poked with a rotten piece of wood. Remember, while there is no speed limit for meteorites, they do reach terminal velocity in respect to their size and weight before hitting Earth. Literature suggests that guessing the rock in question was traveling at one hundred to two hundred miles per hour (normal meteorites travel faster, but they're often made of metal) is safe. Now you understand why poking it with a stick should have done one thing - singed the stick.

Out of the broken shell oozes a thick viscous mass of something. Mr. Coot wisely uses the piece of tree branch to pick it up, but the stuff displays self locomotion and slides up the stick onto his hand. Personally, I would have dropped the stick, quickly and with little regard to decorum. Having your hand slowly dissolved hurts and the old man stumbles his way to the road where Steve almost hits him with the car.

In short order the two kids arrive with their moaning cargo at Dr. Hallen's. Yes, moaning. Either the Coot dropped out of school really early or the intense pain prevents coherent speech. Steve and Jane are sent to get the geezer's friends or family, while the doctor wastes time waiting for his nurse to arrive. When Kate finally does walk in the door they both find a Blob much larger and more mobile than before. The teenagers return just in time for Steve to witness Dr. Hallen's last moments through a window, they look pretty painful to me. Hmmm... ...covered with a thick emulsion and quickly suffocating, plus being digested. Yup, pretty painful.

Consider the Blob's eating habits for a moment. It can dissolve a human body in short order (bones and all) and turns red after its first meal of Homo Sapiens (presumably from the blood). Carpet and wooden finishes seem to be unaffected by this caustic solution though, since the monster never leaves any evidence of a trail. Seems almost like selective digestion, the dream of every Jenny Craig devotee in history.

Steve and Jane have absolutely no luck convincing the police or their parents of what has transpired. The adults think it is a hoax, meant to undermine their authority and make them look stupid. Get a clue dad, the progeny are going to think you look stupid no matter what. Meanwhile, the audience just knows the blob is cruising around and eating townsfolk. Mainly due to the fact that a few scenes illustrate this, whether it be a bar found mysteriously empty or seeing the Blob eat the unhappily married automotive repair specialist.

Rebuked by the governing authority, the teenagers cooperate to make one heck of a big ruckus and warn the populace. That does the trick nicely, but the police are displeased when no amorphous menace can be produced as evidence. Just before you think the Lieutenant might throw some kids in jail for the night luck shines on our heroes. The Blob makes an appearance at the theater where it absorbs the projectionist and sends everyone else running willy nilly. Nobody would scoff at this thing anymore, it is huge! How many people did the Blob eat to grow so large?

Steve, Jane, Danny, and some bit part actors are trapped in a diner by the mindless entity, while the police throw everything they can at it. Bullets are ineffective and dropping a high voltage electrical wire onto the monster doesn't do anything directly helpful. In fact, it sets the diner on fire. Only Steve's fortunate use of a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher (actually he takes it from the diner's cook) provides a clue to stopping the unstoppable. The rest, as they say, is history.

The film is a classic for all the right reasons: good acting, a frightening monster, nice special effects, and a pace that never stops. A great deal of respect should be bestowed upon the camera and lighting specialists. Every minute of this movie takes place at night, with only a few scenes inside well lit buildings, and the shots never lose any detail to the murkiness. I couldn't ask for more, even if it did mentally scar me.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Meteorites have a chewy center, just like a Tootsie Pop.
  • Somebody needs to invent "blob load" shotgun shells in a hurry.
  • Finding the fuse box in a large and unfamiliar house is simple.
  • It is difficult to convince people of your sincerity after they catch you driving backwards.
  • Old people's parties suck.
  • Meat cleavers were not meant to cut hardened steel chains.
  • Firefighters used to carry guns for some reason.
  • Throwing an ineffective weapon at the advancing monster is a natural instinct.
  • Twenty CO2 fire extinguishers can freeze several tons of blob.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - For some reason I'm reminded of my birthday, as in the very first one.
  • 6 mins - You should turn that stick upside down before it reaches your hand. Good job. Hey, that's not fair!
  • 16 mins - Tell the cop about the old man with the stuff on his hand!
  • 37 mins - Let me explain the idea of a "crime scene" to you...
  • 45 mins - Name him whatever you want, now shut up you stupid brat!
  • 52 mins - Check out that poster in the background, it really reminds me of the one for "Forbidden Planet."
  • 63 mins - It's called "paranoia" Jim, go see a shrink. Now.
  • 64 mins - Let me see, the year is 1958 and all the air raid sirens are going off. Now the fire sirens are screaming as well! My butt would be running for the cellar!

Quotes: 

  • Sgt Bert: "If everything happened like you said it did, where's the doctor and where's this old man? And where's the big bad monster?"
  • Steve: "That's why it didn't come in the icebox after us! It can't stand cold!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note theblob1.wav Dave: "Would you think it was funny if your father...if Jane's father heard you were booked for reckless driving?"
Steve: "Okay, don't bring the fathers into this. I'll never do it again."
Green Music Note theblob2.wav Dr. Hallen: "There's a man here with some sort of a parasite on his arm. It's assimilating his flesh at a frightening speed! Now, I may have to get ahead of it and amputate. No, I don't know what it is or where it came from."
Green Music Note theblob3.wav A conversation between the police and the kids about the monster.
Green Music Note theblob4.wav Steve: "Dad, it isn't vandalism! Doctor Hallen is dead, and he was killed by some sort of a monster."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptheblob1.mpg - 3.2m
Kate did a good job of cutting off her only avenue of escape by running directly away from the Blob. Now she must either kill the monster or get et.

(She gets et.)

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 3 4 [5]
Re: The Blob
Reply #33. Posted on July 14, 2008, 09:01:25 PM by James
Come on. The Blob is the best American Classic horror 50's film ever made. Godzilla and The Blob tie.
Re: The Blob
Reply #34. Posted on October 25, 2008, 07:26:02 PM by Roy
I absolutely loved this movie from the first time I saw it. It had everything I ever wanted/expected from a B-Movie and in my opinion it it the definitive example in the genre (at least from what I have seen so far). This movie launched me on a tangent of looking for similarly good B-Movies. I guess the reason why I like the genre is the nostalgic quality of it (even though I wasn't around in the 50's) and the fact that you can laugh at what's supposed to be scary and the then-original cliches of the plotlines. This one has it all.

P.S. The 1988 version is not as good as this one for a few reasons; namely the less-nostalgic qualities and the attempts to make it more of a futuristic Sci-Fi film/action thriller. There were just too many subplots for it's own good. You should definitely see 1958's version first.
Re: The Blob
Reply #35. Posted on October 28, 2009, 07:20:55 PM by D-ster
 the blob was the 1st 50s si fi movie i saw  and really i think that "Them" and the blob are the same. 5 star!

Re: The Blob
Reply #36. Posted on March 05, 2010, 05:25:08 PM by Some guy
I love "The Blob" I think I saw it when I was 10 or 11. I still have the vhs...
Re: The Blob
Reply #37. Posted on July 25, 2010, 04:59:13 AM by judge death
The blob was a hit because it tapped into the zeitsgeist of the day" Commie phobia.

Think about it, the blob was  a red, faceless, mindless mass bent on expanding itself by forcibly absorbing honest, decent americans into itself. Gee, what else in the world did americans have that image of in the 50's?

 It became the perfect commie surrogate.

BTW, McQueen was sure the movie was dumb and wouldn't work for a percentage of the box. (This was before hollywood routinely screwed over the books so no movie ever makes a profit on paper) He took a flat, small salary. The blob became a hit and the people who took percentages made a lot more than he did.

Re: The Blob
Reply #38. Posted on July 25, 2010, 03:00:43 PM by judge death
Note that the 1988 sequal had the government responsible from the blob as no one in america was all that scared about "commies" anymore, but we were worried about our own government. Next blob will have to be a stand in for corporate america.
Re: The Blob
Reply #39. Posted on July 25, 2010, 07:25:18 PM by judge death
Recently got the Criterion Collection DVD, and saw it for the first time. Great movie, although I prefer the remake (I think because I saw it first). Can't wait to listen to the commentaries on the DVD.

Incidentally, I noticed a couple of funny things in the movie I thought might be of interest to some people. Firstly, check out this close-up of the old man's Blob-covered arm:



Except for the actual arm, it's obviously a flat, two-dimensional drawing. They basically just laid the false gooey arm over a painting of the actor's chest.

Then I noticed something about Dr. Hallen's death scene. Poor, poor Dr. Hallen. I think I know why he didn't get out in time. Here he is after locking himself in the den and grabbing the phone:



And here is the quick shot of him getting eaten as seen through the window:



He's got his suit jacket on in the shot of him being devoured, despite not having it on when he came into the room. So obviously, the poor fellow just had to get his jacket before trying to make his escape, allowing the Blob enough time to get in and get him.


Quite a few scenes in the movie involved a blob prop and a still, 2d picture. The scene where it covers the diner, the scene where it's oozing into the diner are both set with 2d pictures.

BTW, to see another masterpiece by the guy responsible for this, see "the 4d man".
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