Friday, October 10, 2014

Ten Statements About....THE BLOB (1988)

"Hey...someone threw up in the center aisle...a LOT!"
“All I saw was an old man with a funky hand, that's all I saw."
“The thing on that man's hand killed him and then it killed Paul, and whatever it is, it's getting bigger!”

1) Jeez, Chuck sure take your time with starting this party.  That first couple of scenes start out sooooo slowly that I almost gave up on it.  Luckily I remember liking it when I saw it in college because things pick up.

2) I have to give this film props for the sheer ruthlessness of its body count.  While I certainly understand the Janet-Leigh-ification of Donovan Leitch’s Paul, I did not expect the film to follow through with the murder of a number of supporting characters I expected to see last the night--including one child!

3) Maybe it’s me, but I never quite bought Kevin Dillon (who, oddly enough, looks like what would happen if Kevin Bacon and Matt Dillon had a child) as the rebel Brian.  It’s obvious that he is aping Steve McQueen from the original, but there’s something missing that robs him of that quality.

4) I always thought Shawnee Smith was hella cute, but I’m struck by how, even at this early juncture,
Scream, Shawnee Smith...scream like the wind!
she has some real acting skill.  Meg could have been a nothing, cliched character, but Smith does give her life, nuance, and something of a backbone.  As such, she manages to cover for Dillon’s shortcomings and becomes the de facto central character.

5) This film’s major twist would never have worked without Joe Seneca.  Seneca plays Dr. Meadows very, very cagily; I love how, as we peel away the layers to find out what he truly is, we never quite lose the kindly doctor we first meet--and that makes him all the scarier.

6) And speaking of that twist--while I will certainly agree that it’s a reflection of the times in which this remake was made, I do think it’s a great swerve for people familiar with the original, and is another sign of All Bets Being Off.

7) God bless the 80‘s for giving us a horror film that focuses primarily on teenage characters with enough grue and grotesqueness that it garners an R rating.  You know that the studios would never allow that to stand today.  And speaking of the grotesqueness...
There' a phallic symbol joke just begging to be told here....

8) Given that we’re talking about the era of practical effects, this Blob is seriously scary.  It’s got an even more organic look than the original that’s positively disturbing.  Sure, there are a couple of clunky shots (including the one that was used on the film’s posters), but overall there’s a sense of immediacy to the creature.  Even when it switches to being somewhat obviously blue-screened in, it evokes fond memories of Ray Harryhausen.

9)  You know, I sometimes balk at how some horror films aren’t horror films, but are action movies with horror elements.  An argument can be made that this film slides into an action movie with horror elements in the third act...and yet, thanks to the script by Russell and Frank Darabont, I did not mind it.  Hell, I loved the way it sort of mimicked those 50‘s sci-fi films where it boils down to man beating the crap out of a giant monster.

10) Even though the small town is pretty much a cipher--I don’t think the place is even named--but the casting of some major character actors like Candy Clark, Art La Fluer and the great Del Close in key roles help flesh out the world by giving the populace a life of its own.

Overall...a fun, effective and gruesome update on a classic B-movie that’s been unjustly forgotten.

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