The Blob is a fun science fiction film that reflects the fifties.
The Blob is a science fiction film that is a typical drive-in movie to entertain the youth. It reflects the fifties, its social issues and themes, fears of the Cold War, distrust in science, fear of a nuclear bomb, and fear of aliens due to the Roswell incident in 1947, also the year the Cold War began.
While the tv was a new upcoming medium and most of the budget was put in the popular musical movies, the drive-in was an excellent medium to attract the young people to the movies showing mostly horror and science fiction. The Blob is the perfect example of such a science fiction movie for the youth. Though it can seem a little outdated, it still is a very fun and enjoyable watch.
When Steve and Jane are in their car they see something fall out of the sky. A farmer also noticed this strange phenomenon and when he goes searching for it, he finds a meteor in the woods that opens and a slimy substance attaches itself to his hand. Injured he is found by Steve and Jane who take him to the doctor but then the Blob devours people and grows and grows and spreads mayhem in the little town. It’s up to Steve and Jane and friends to warn everybody and to mobilize the town to fight this alien danger.
Why you should watch it
While the special effects and the storyline can be a little outdated, the fun isn’t. With lots of social references, and little comical situations, this film is pure entertainment. The plot is explicitly explained to the audience and the Blob hops and blobs around in the town and gobbles everybody up. This is quite implicitly done, keeping it a science fiction film and not turning into a gruesome horror, although there is much screaming, running and mayhem.
The structure is great fun as well, with tension explicitly thrown in to make it all the more exciting. It focuses on the young people, who aren’t the bad boys or rebels everybody think they are. They are in fact the heroes and the elderly are a comical note with some very fun scenes.
The references to the Cold War wrapped up in witty lines are amusing and are a great example of the zeitgeist. Just like the little sneers to the tv. The film itself is rather decent. The kills aren’t explicit, there’s no swearing and the youth and the town together come up with a great plan to defeat the Blob, which makes it a team effort of both the old and the young. It’s rather epic actually.
My favorite part
I really liked the bit with the housekeeper who’s more concerned that she cannot clean the doctor’s office than with his demise. Well, she just has to dust around the fingerprints then, if she has to.
Another fun scene is when all the different alarms go off one by one. So a middle aged man who is a volunteer, has to change in all of his different outfits, from firefighter to civilian watch and so on, so he’s completely stressed out and confused what to wear and what the hell is going on.
The special effects might not meet our contemporary standards, but they are fun to watch. I think it’s probably a little maquette made of the diner where they lure away the Blob to freeze it, and that’s just some little nostalgia. Asides from the whole setting, the clothing, the manner of speaking and behavior that is a little trip to the past.
A fun remark about the ending is what Steve says when the Blob is brought to the Arctic so it can stay frozen. He says: “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.” Little did they know that this is a fantastic but sad line to now introduce a sequel while the Arctic is melting and the Blob is set loose again. It can make a brilliant environmental disaster horror movie. While the 1988 remake is turned into a conspiracy theory movie. Each film staying true to its zeitgeist.
Popcorn factor: ★★★★☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆
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Cast and crew
The Blob is directed by Irvin Yeaworth and written by Kay Linaker, Theodore Simonson and Irving H. Millgate (story). It stars Steven McQueen (Steve) and Aneta Corseaut (Jane).
Duration: 86 minutes. Music by: Ralph Carmichael, Burt Bacharach. Cinematography: Thomas E. Spalding. Edited by: Alfred Hillmann. Produced by: Jack H. Harris. Production companies: Fairview Productions, Tonylyn Productions, Valley Forge Films. Distributed by: Paramount Pictures.