Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: The Blob (1958)

Stars: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut

Budget: $110,000

Directed By: Irvin Yeaworth

It creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor, be careful of the blob!

I had actually seen the 1988 version before this wonder. Traversing the pound shops as a youth I seen this on VHS in one and thought how bad can a 1958 version of a film that properly shit me up and gave me nightmares as a young child be?

Not bad at all, it's almost like watching a different film with the same premise to be honest.
its mostly in black and white but the version i had had the blob, once it had eaten once turn a red colour.
staring A reasonably young faced Steve McQueen in one of his first roles, though looking way older than a school teen as he was supposed to be.
Made on a small budget even for those times all actors were paid little and the effects were made very cheaply yet very practical and looked good for it's time.

These include the blob actually moving through stop motion and it pushing its way through some theatre doors, obviously done on a miniature set.

So McQueen (Steve, yes his character is called Steve) and his girlfriend (Jane) notice when a meteorite crashes into a nearby forest, an old man living near reaches it first only for the rock to split open and reveal a white glutenous gel like creature in it's centre. Poking it with a stick the blob quickly travels up the stick and engulfs the mans hand causing him terrible pain.
Steve and Jane find him crying out and when he shows them his hand they quickly take him to see the doctor. Doctor Hallen is a little flustered as he was about to leave for a conference but once he see's the thing his intrigue takes over.

The Doctor anesthetizes him then sends Steve and Jane to back to the site to see if there's anymore evidence etc. The blob is spreading rapidly so Hallen decides to amputate, unfortunately before he can the old man is totally consumed. His nurse is dissolved too and then Steve and Jane return to see the doctor being absorbed by the creature too.
Both heading to the sheriff  they get lieutenant Dave and Sergeant Burt go with them back to the doctors. Knowing the doctor was off on a conference and finding nothing Burt calls it a prank and gets the kids parents to pick them up.

The Blob has moved on and is clearly getting bigger and redder with every person it consumes adding their mass to it's own. It kills the town mechanic next and moves on again.
Steve and Jane have sneaked out to recruited a few friends to help them warn people of the danger when they are cornered by the blob after investigating his dads shop being open. The only place they can escape to is the freezer where it seems the intense cold is a perfect deterrent to the blob.

Meanwhile Steve's and Jane's friends have set off the towns air and fire alarms so as to get townsfolk's attention, where they promptly disbelieve everything the kids have to say. While this is happening the blob has entered the theatre and consumed many people, the survivors come screaming out of the building proving Steve right. The blob oozes out of the front doors too causing everyone else to flee, including Steve's younger brother Danny who along with Jane and his brother hide in a nearby diner.

The blob is now large enough to easily cover the whole diner, Steve has no plans when Dave patches his radio through to the diners phone. He tells them to enter the cellar as they are going to attempt to drop a live power line on the monster.
Bert shoots the wire once he thinks everyone is safe and it drops upon the blob. Although thousands of volts dance all over the thing it is unaffected by the electricity, which has started a fire in the diner.
Steve quickly grabs a Co2 extinguisher and puts the fire out, not before hitting the blob with it too and causing it to recoil. Steve coupled with the freezer incident finally realises that it's the cold the blob doesn't like.

It's not far from the end here so THN won't spoil no more for you. So whats my overall verdict of this film? For it's 59 year age and relatively low budget even for it's time this film sets up some good tension which i'll add is missing quite a bit from the 88 remake. This is done by the use of more of 'what you don't see' which really works in this film, the only let down is the ending (on both this and the new) THN awards the 1958 version of the blob a solid 3 stars out of 5.

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