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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 

ImageImageImage
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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 [2] 3 4 5
The Blob
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Scaarge
The Blob is a great monster, one of the scariest.  Because unlike practically every other monster I can think of, the Blob is totally silent...you never know when it's nearby.  Other monsters roar or buzz or something (the ants from Them sound like car alarms) or at least make some kind of noise when they walk.  

This is one of the reasons I prefer the original to the remake.  In the remake, the Blob squeals and mewls and sounds like a toilet flushing when it moves.  Nice gore effects though.
The Blob
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Mike
The blob song lyrics " Beware of the blob, the blob the blob  the blob blah da da the blob the blob blah da da the blob" Repeat  
The Blob
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Dr. Maniac
    Steve McQueen was 26 years old when he played 17 year old Steve Andrews (whew!  at least they didn't name his character Archie!) and he allegedly told the director "I can't play 17, I'll just be myself." which explains the backwards drag race scene.
   The old man who finds the blob is Olin Howland.  Most of us remember him as Jensen, the likable wino in THEM! who takes his sighting of giant ants rather matter-of-factly ("Well they're gone now!").
    For those who care, if you visit Downingtown, PA today you will find the Downingtown Diner just as it was when the movie was filmed.  Someone bought it and restored it to its old look.  You can enjoy a burger and fries and even pick up a copy of THE BLOB on VHS.  The movie theatre is still there too but it is a multiplex now.  The grocery store is long gone though.
   Speaking of the theatre, freeze frame on that poster.  It shows Robby The Robot from FORBIDDEN PLANET but the title says THE VAMPIRE AND THE ROBOT.  That was one of the titles for Bela Lugosi's movie OLD MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE during its very breif run in this country.  Could it be . . .?
The Blob
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by lostmissy
for the poor lost souls who enjoyed this movie (and who also have a large amount of idle time and alcohol readily available), I highly recommend "the creeping terror" ..words cannot begin to describe that experience!! .
The Blob
Reply #13. Posted on February 26, 2002, 11:14:25 AM by dash riprock
 Ahhhh.... the innocence,the two parent families, the cozy hometown, the friendly hometown cops, makes me want to jump through the tv screen and into the 50`s.
The Blob
Reply #14. Posted on March 10, 2002, 02:14:19 PM by fishmorgjp@yahoo.com
Oh yeah... scared hell out of me when I was a kid, especially when the doctor is seen struggling at the window. I think the blob was made out of food thickener -- bean gum or something.
The Blob
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Swamprat
Classic "B" of the highest order. I don't know of anyone who doesn't remember this one fondly. She calls her car "Elvis" cause it "Shakes and shimmys but can really go."  Who ever wrote this thing had to have done some time somewhere as a gagman. The only hangup I've ever had about this film is Steve McQueen as a teenager...hard, very hard...but Hell! He's Steve McQueen, one of the coolest guys to ever leave a mark in American film. This was one of the few "B" horor movies of its time that seems to have had any real effort put into it. They didn't have much to work with but they did a damn good job with what they had...I love it when a film gives me that sort of feeling...no matter how "bad" the film itself might be. The Blob is not a "Bad" film...it's a fine little B monster movie that can certainly serve as an example of the genre when it's done well. If you ever get the chance to see it in a real theater be sure to check all the fire extinguishers...ya never know.
The Blob
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Rita Fetter
I love The Blob, and live just a few miles from where it was filmed.

I'm looking for anyone who was around when the movie was made, either as extras or bystanders. I'd also like to hear from anyone who had relatives who were in the movie.

I have a Blob Site at:
http://theblobsite.150m.com

and I want to fill out my trivia section. I'd like to make it the authority on the making of the original film. I have the Criterion DVD, but would really prefer to hear some first or second hand stories.

Dr. Maniac's comments are wrong is a few details. The Downingtown Diner does *not* look like it did in the movie, and the Colonial Theater is not a multiplex.

--Rita
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