There have been two versions of The Blob: The first was directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr. and released in 1958; the remake was directed by Chuck Russell and released 30 years later in 1988. If rumors materialize, there could be another reboot hitting theaters in 2018 (30 years after the remake!), but those rumors have been swirling for years. Still, there would be an ironic and somewhat disturbing connection, in addition to the sequential coincidence: 1958 and 1988 were both boiling points in the Cold War Era, and the current global socio-political atmosphere is very reminiscent of those turbulent days.
Despite the title and basic premise of a gelatinous monster, the two Blobs couldn’t be more dissimilar. The 1958 film is a b-movie to the core while 1988’s The Blob is a relentless body horror that one could correctly describe as Cronenbergian. I initially conceived this article as a Top 10 List via Minty Comedic Arts’ latest Top 10 List, but there some much good stuff going on in The Blob, specifically the 1988 version, I wanted to stretch things out a bit.
Related Article: 10 Things You May Not Know About Stephen King’s “Christine”
While it contains the iconic scene of teenagers fleeing the movie theater in terror, 1958’s The Blob is otherwise forgettable. The most intriguing thing about it in retrospect is the ridiculous theme song that actually charted. It’s as catchy as it is laughable but, hey, it really speaks to the essence of the film in all its campy glory. Have a look-see but be warned: You might be carrying this little ear-worm around in your head all day long!
Beware of The Blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of The Blob
The name of the band, by the way, is The 5 Blobs!
Regular readers know we’re huge fans of Australia comic and film critic Mark Bishop, and one of his most recent video lists is, as previously mentioned, the wellspring for this ode to 1988’s The Blob. Though he discusses both films, what ultimately emerges is a stunning endorsement of Russell’s 1988 version, one that has me rushing to my DVD collection to re-watch this oft overlooked gems. While body horror films like The Fly and Re-Animator are praised as the best of the 1980’s, The Blob is forgotten, despite ranking high on the gore factor.
Check out 10 Amazing Facts About The Blob below for a nostalgic and side-splitting trip back in time! If you can’t stream, the 10 amazing facts are listed and briefly summarized below the video. Enjoy!
Blob Fest: The town of Phoenixville, PA (where parts of the 1958 movie were filmed) has an annual 3-Day festival celebrating everything Blob-related. The event culminates in a recreation of the teens rushing from the theater scene—at the actual theater!
The Blob was inspired by true events. In 1950, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story claiming a flying saucer had “dissolved” into the atmosphere, citing Police reports. Many witnesses confirmed that a gooey substance was found at the spot where the object crashed, but that’s pretty much where the story ends.
The original Blob was a Christian movie; Valley Forge Films was a Christian company, but they took a more straightforward horror approach hoping for a financial payoff. (Spoiler: They got one.)
Special FX: In 1958, the titular Blob was made out of silicone and red dye. In 1988, however, the Blob was much more complex; it’s also not a creature from space, rather a man-made virus. For this film, stop-motion filmmaking and puppetry techniques were utilized.
There was a sequel: Son of the Blob aka Beware the Blob was released in 1972. It was eventually dubbed “The movie J.R. shot” as it was directed by Larry Hagman, best-known as J.R. Ewing on TV’s Dallas.
The 1988 remake has connections to Stephen King’s Universe. The Blob was co-written by Frank Darabont, director of The Mist, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption (he’s clearly a King fan). The Blob actually contains several allusions to The Stand, including: The primary antagonist’s name is Brian Flagg (played by Kevin Dillon), the old man at the beginning of the film is referred to as “Can Man”, and lead stress Shawnee Smith went on to play a part in The Stand miniseries. (Okay, that last one is more of a coincidence than a connection.)
A “Wheeler” from Return to Oz appears in 1988’s The Blob: Pons Maar, the actor who plays the lead Wheeler, also played the theater manager in The Blob.
There were plans for a sequel to 1988’s The Blob that never came to fruition. Though the movie ended on a cliffhanger, poor box office returns doomed The Blob II.
There’s a movie within the movie in 1988’s Blob that is clearly a satirical jab at the slasher subgenre, which was dominating the horror landscape at the time of its release.
The 1988 remake kills a kid—something few horror movies have the balls to do.
Which of these facts did you find most illuminating? Are you a fan of 1988’s The Blob and, if not, has this article changed your mind or made you curious? Sound off in the Comments section!
For kicks, check out the trailers and synopses for all 3 Blob movies below.
Official Synopsis: A drive-in favorite, this sci-fi classic follows teenagers Steve (Steven McQueen) and his best girl, Jane (Aneta Corseaut), as they try to protect their hometown from a gelatinous alien life form that engulfs everything it touches. The first to discover the substance and live to tell about it, Steve and Jane witness the blob destroying an elderly man and grow to a terrifying size. But no one else has seen the goo, and policeman Dave (Earl Rowe) refuses to believe the kids without proof.
Official Synopsis: Small-town teens (Robert Walker, Gwynne Gilford) fight defrosted arctic ooze.
Official Synopsis: 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.
About Minty Comedic Arts on YouTube: Satirical, political, and pop cultural look at comedy which intellectually challenges our perceptions.