Retro Reviews: The Blob (1958)

The sci-fi/horror movie, The Blob (1958), is a retro B-Film that’s more comic than scary and still is a treat to watch today. You can’t really take seriously a horror film about a red “jello-like” substance that attacks everyday residents in America.

Retro Reviews: The Blob (1958)

The Blob (1958)

Originally named “The Molten Meteor”, and directed by Irvin Yeaworth, this is classic B-Movie fun at its best. It’s also a huge part of Americana! An early review states that, “The color is quite good (the blob rolls around in at least a dozen horrible-looking flavors, including raspberry). If the acting is pretty terrible itself, there is becomingly not a single familiar face in the cast, headed by young Steven McQueen and Aneta Corseaut.”

The movie also has the distinction of being Steve McQueen’s movie debut and the one that kicked-off his career. McQueen plays a teenager but looks older. He was actually in his late twenties when he debuted in this film. It also helped launch the careers of Burt Bacharach and Mack David, responsible for the catchy title tune that is a surprisingly delightful campy and upbeat start to a horror flick.

The premise of the movie is a simple one. One summer night in small-town America- actually Pennsylvania— a teenager Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend, Jane Martin, (Anita), are kissing in a lovers’ lane when they witness a meteor crash a short distance away. When Steve-also his name in the film, decides to look for it. A nearby older resident (Olin Howland) finds the meteor first and pokes it with a stick.

The shell kind of breaks open and a gelatine substance oozes out and attaches itself to the man’s hand. When he runs out on the road with this new attachment, Steve almost drives into him. Steve and Jane take him to Doctor Hallen who was on his way to a medical conference. The good doctor realizes he must amputate the man’s arm since it is being consumed by the growing Blob. Here’s where it gets a little horrific for 50’ standards: Before the doctor can do a thing, the Blob completely consumes the old man, the nurse, and finally the doctor himself!

Steve and Jane return to the office in time for Steve to watch the doctor’s horrible death. The teenagers then go to the police station but when they return to the house with the police there is no sign of the man-eating jello and the story is dismissed as just another teenage prank. The two stars of the show will not give up though, while the Blob rages on in slo-mo consuming everything with a heartbeat and growing with every meal. To be noted is the fact that when Steve and Jane are approached by the Blob in a grocery store and they run into a freezer to escape, the Blob, which begins to ooze in under the freezer door- quickly retreats. It is at the Colonial Theatre, (which, by the way, still stands in the town of Phoenix, Pennsylvania) is showing a midnight screening of Daughter of Horror where Steve recruits a couple of friends and sets off the town’s fire and air-raid alarms, but after an explanation to the authorities, still is not believed.

Meanwhile, the Blob enters the Colonial Theatre and the movie’s popular iconic scene occurs! The unforgettable scene shows the Blob, after eating the projectionist- and now huge- oozes down the screen into the auditorium snacking on a few teenagers in the process!

We are relieved though because now, at least, Steve is finally believed. But it is only when a diner is next engulfed with the two stars and Jane’s younger brother inside, that any intelligent attempts are finally made to stop the slimy predator.

At this point I will end the narrative so as not to release any spoilers. Suffice is to say that as a sci-fi/horror flick that acts both as a notable B-Movie and a bit of a cult classic, you would be missing out if you do not attempt to watch The Blob. Watch it again or for the first time. I give it a 7/10 for all those reasons.

Postscript: The Blob’s cult following is still going strong in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where The Colonial Theatre is located. Every year at “BlobFest” there’s a re-enactment of the crowd fleeing the theatre as the Blob supposedly oozes down the screen in the background. The night is topped off with a double feature showing of, of course, The Blob (1958), followed by another sci-fi B-Movie.

Sources: https://www.criterion.com/films/630-the-blob
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blob


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3 Comments

    • Lin Jenkinson
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