Monday, October 16, 2017


The most successful remakes take the basic bones of an original film and builds, expands, and improves on the original. Carpenter's The Thing, Cronenberg's The Fly, Kauffman's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, and more recently Vogt-Robert's Kong; Skull Island are all perfect examples of this. The first three took classic b-movies and created modern classics that are more than remakes, but integral entries in each director's catalogue and I believe Kong;Skull Island will prove to be a durable, well-loved film for generations to come.

Another remake that nailed the formula was 1988's The Blob, directed by Chuck Russell, who also directed one of the best slasher sequels of all, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3; The Dream Warriors. Russell worked on adapting the screenplay with Frank Darabont (The Mist, The Walking Dead) and what they came up with is a funny, violent, gory, and entertaining under-rated horror film. It's been hard to see since the VHS days, as there hasn't been a proper domestic DVD or Blu-ray readily available the same way that The Thing or The Fly has never gone out of print. That may be due to the fact it only grossed about $8 million of it's $19 million budget. Frankly, I can't understand this at all.

Starring Kevin Dillon (The Doors) and Shawnee Smith (Saw II and III) and featuring Jeffery DeMunn (The Walking Dead, The Mist), Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre II), Joe Seneca (Malcolm X), Candy Clark (Blue Thunder) Jack Nance (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet), and Paul McCrane (Robocop, ER), The Blob had just as strong talent in front of the camera as behind. The original film starred Steve McQueen, but for me, didn't offer much else. It's a very slow movie and The Blob itself just doesn't feel threatening. It's so slow, you feel like people could just run away if it fails to sneak up on them. The '88 version on the other hand, is fast, corrosive, and strikes with a suddenness and an animal cruelty that leans more towards The Thing. 

The gore effects really sale the movie for me. The image of the melting corpses wrapped in Blob goo reaching for help is amazing. DeMunn's distorted face floating in the pinkish slime is awesome.
Melted bodies, limbs ripped away, a body eaten in half-it may not be near as gory as The Fly or The Thing, but it certainly has it's moments. I think perhaps it's stronger as a special effects film than a character film, like the other two are. Not to knock any of the performances, but The Blob simply doesn't have a MacReady or Brundle for us to latch on to and get emotionally invested in. That said, Shawnee Smith as Meg Penny is a great final girl-smart, resourceful, and brave-never letting fear or panic stop her from running headlong into danger. I'd put Meg up there with Jenny from Friday The 13th Part 2 or Kristen from ANOES 3. 

In the last several days I've seen a number people Tweeting or posting on Facebook about watching The Blob as part of their 31 Days of Horror and that is awesome. Those in the know have championed this film all along and I hope it's reputation continues to grow. I remember seeing some behind-the-scenes shots with some interviews on TV before it hit theater and it came out when I was jumping into horror with both feet. I was very excited. When it finally hit VHS and cable I watched it often. It was a lot of fun revisiting it this month with my kids. We all had a blast and I'm already looking forward to watching it again.

No comments:

Post a Comment