Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Blob (1958)

"Beware of The Blob" is right.

Give this film plenty of room.

This 1958 horror film moves as slow as the human eating space creature it depicts.

Yes, there are some spooky moments in one of the few movies directed by Irvin Yeaworth, Jr. But, overall, The Blob (1958) drags. Attempts at humour, including one of a firefighter and civil defense volunteer trying to figure out what to do when both alarms sound, are painful to watch.

Hey, I've enjoyed watching Steve McQueen in other films reviewed on this site, including Hell is for Heroes. But seeing a nearly 30-year-old man play high school senior Steve Andrews is painful to watch. His girlfriend, Jane Martin (Aneta Corasut) is a little better at 25.

Steve and Jane are enjoying some quiet time in the woods. They see a meteor crash not too far from where they're parked. Steve's curious. So is Old Man (Olin Howland). Said meteor crashes by his home. A little poking and prodding add up to his demise. There's something in that space rock, alright, and it loves to feed on human flesh.

Dr. Hallen (Stephen Chase) figures some sort of parasite has attached itself to The Blob's first victim. He and his nurse, Kate (Lee Payton) also meet their fates.

The Blob (1958) is hard to figure out. It seems to either move a) very slow or b) very fast.

How residents of the American small town react to The Blob is also, ah, unusual. Doc Hallen wants Steve and Jane to return to the old man's home and check for clues. That's a pretty important job, but Steve still finds time to jaw away, with no urgency, to some high school classmates. A driving contest follows. Hello! You kids just saw a gooey red mass envelop a man's hand. That's the priority. Wouldn't you share this news with the other kids?

Teens believe in monster, or are at least willing to entertain Steve and Jane's suggestion something is killing people. Adults, including police, are cool to the suggestion. So, The Blob keeps killing and gets larger.

This film does have the odd inspired moment. Having The Blob make an appearance at a midnight horror screening at the local movie theatre is inspired. I could rant about The Blob aiming to take out the projectionist first instead of a packed theatre, but I won't. But watch for The Blob's appearance in the theatre proper. That's pretty cool as is the panic when movie-goers discover the real horror isn't on the screen.

The Blob may be the only creature in film history to be felled by fire fighting equipment. Not that the audience gets to see that. Instead, we watch as a screen filled with towns folk do their civic duty and put The Blob in a deep freeze.

Best thing about The Blob - it looks great. Steve McQueen, in his first leading role, would be a major star in a few short years with The Great Escape out in 1963. And, The Blob is only 86 minutes long.

RATING: 4/10

FUN FACTS: You might recognize Aneta Corasut as Helen Crump from The Andy Griffith Show .

Olin Howland was a carpetbagger businessman in Gone with the Wind.

Stephen Chase was Dr. George Frye in When Worlds Collide.

John Benson, Sgt. Jim Bert in The Blob, was a salesman in Vertigo and guard in Spartacus.

Robert Fields, one of the teens in The Blob, also appeared in Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster.

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