I haven’t seen this since I was a kid and I loved it. Would this film still be as enthralling now that I was a world weary and cynical adult?
The film was made in 1958 and concerns a mysterious meteor that crash lands on Earth and releases a gelatinous type living organism that engulfs and eats anyone that gets in its blubberous path.
This film is gorgeous. From the nifty title sequence-
right through the to the locations used-
This film is as 1950’s America as apple pie, Coca-Cola and hamburgers. If Norman Rockwell made a sci-fi film this would be it.
The film also features the debut performance of a new young actor named Steve McQueen. He does a great job as the all American teen who is inquisitive, plucky but considerate.
Whilst the movie and its characters could sound like some kind of 1950s propaganda film regarding the wholesome American way of life the film is never cloying or irritating. The characters are quirky, likable and engaging.
You get the impression that was made for the drive ins and indeed it was. When it was originally released it was released as a double bill with I Married a Monster From Outer Space. But The Blob was quickly given a release all of its own as soon distributors felt that the film merited it. It certainly does- yes its shlock horror from the 50s but its one of the best examples of this and aesthetically its beautiful. It also captures perfectly a time in American history that was truly iconic.
The actual blob could be seen to signify the creeping growth of communism which was seen as the number one evil in America at this time. The most obvious signifier of this is that the blob is bright red. Also the way that the organism engulfs and takes over its prey is testament to that line of thought.
The films ending is also like some kind of wishful thinking- the characters in the film discover that the creatures doesn’t like the cold and so use fire extinguishers containing CO2 to destroy the monster. But the film is left open- there could be a sequel/reappearance of the threat of communism! Be afraid, be very afraid. In fact there was a sequel made called Beware The Blob in 1972 and directed by none other than Larry Hagman.
I wondered about the legacy of this film and if it was well respected in American culture and the medium of film specifically. And then I saw that it was- this is evident because it was released on Blu ray on the prestigious Criterion label in the States. High praise indeed and thoroughly deserved. This film is much more than just a classic movie- its a time capsule.