BLOB, THE (director: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.; screenwriters: Kay Linaker/Theodore Simonson; cinematographer: Thomas E. Spalding; editor: Alfred Hillmann; music: Ralph Carmichael; cast: Steve McQueen (Steve Andrews), Aneta Corsaut (Jane Martin), Earl Rowe (Lieutenant Dave), Olin Howlin (Old Man), Steven Chase (Dr. Hallen), John Benson (Sergeant Jim Bert), George Karas (Officer Ritchie), James Bonnet ( ‘Mooch’), Anthony Franke (Al), Robert Fields (Tony), Elbert Smith (Henry Martin), Kieth Almoney (Danny), Elinor Hammer (Mrs. Porter), Lee Paton (Kate, The Nurse); Runtime: 86; Paramount; 1958)
“The Blob is an inane but entertaining 1950s horror cult-film favorite that was made for a mere $240,000.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Blob is an inane but entertaining 1950s horror cult-film favorite that was made for a mere $240,000; it was shot near Philadelphia and was Steve McQueen’s first-feature starring role, at the same time he starred in a TV episode called “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The snazzy theme song played during the film’s opening credits was written by Mack David and Burt Bacharach. The film is about an alien creature attacking a small-town, which could have Cold War political implications as an attack by the Reds on America’s institutions.
While Steve Andrews (McQueen) and his main squeeze Jane Martin (Corsaut) are out on Old North Road watching the stars, a strange object noisily falls from the sky and leads Steve to believe it’s a falling star. But when Steve goes to take a look, he finds out an old timer (Howlin) picked up a translucent gelatin-like substance on a stick and it grabbed onto his hand so he can’t remove it. Steve finds him by the side of the road writhing in pain and brings him to Dr. Hallen.
Hallen sends Steve back to the location to get more info on what might have happened to the old timer. In the meantime Hallen notices the blob-like substance has grown and turned red, so he calls for his nurse to assist in an amputation. But instead the nurse and Hallen are devoured by the carnivorous blob, which Steve witnesses through the window. But when he tells Lieutenant Dave (Rowe) about the monster murder he is doubted by everyone at the police station. But Dave is more reasonable in his doubting than the others and more willing to keep an open mind.
When Steve believes the Blob is on an eating splurge of his hometown residents, he schemes to get his three ‘chicken racing’ teen friends — Al, Mooch, and Tony — to help him warn the sleeping town that they are in danger. To do this he has to drag them out of a midnight showing of a Bela Lugosi spook pic in which they paid eighty cents to see.
Warning: spoiler to follow in the next paragraph.
The Blob finally gets the town’s attention, even of uptight Sgt. Bert who believed till then that the teens were playing a hoax on the town. The Blob destroys the movie theater, a supermarket, and finally a diner. But it’s accidentally discovered that it doesn’t like the cold, so fire extinguishers filled with CO2 are used to freeze the Blob until the Air Force drops it off on the Antarctic tundra.
The Blob suffers from an unexciting oozing Blob, and the acting could have been less corny and more meaty. After all we are dealing with a meat-eating alien, who could be a dirty Commie rat. This cheesy production tapped into the teen rock’n’roll market and the growing alienation between them and their parents. This establishment-oriented message film gives a nod of approval to both the teens and their folks who want to do right by each other, deeming it necessary that they cooperate to rid their community of outside forces that attack its institutions and culture. The film’s main theme is supplied by the good-guy Lt. Dave, as he comments on the always edgy Sgt. Bert’s anger problem: “Just because some kid smacks into his wife on the turnpike doesn’t mean it’s a crime to be 17 years old.” Translated: Hollywood has discovered teens go to movies in great numbers and they will from now on supply them with enough teen films to keep the balconies packed on weekend nights.
REVIEWED ON 5/15/2002 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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