The Blob (1958) Retro Talk; Grade: C+
Welcome to another edition of Retro Talk! The film we’re going to be talking about today is The Blob (1958)! The Blob was released on September 12th 1958, as it cost $100,000 to make as it earned $4 million at the box office, receiving a well earned $3.9 million profit… Which was a big deal back in those days for sure!
According to Wikipedia: The film was inspired by simply the discovery of star jelly in Pennsylvania in 1950, which then helped Kay Linaker and Theodore Simonson influence them to put it all on paper. The film was originally suppose to play along with I Married a Monster from Outer Space as a double feature special, but it was quickly moved up to be the main feature. As far as the reception: Audiences really enjoyed The Blob (1958), the critics were indifferent with the film.
The Blob (1958) takes place in a small town in Pennsylvania, where suddenly a meteorite crashes down to earth. An Old Man (Olin Howland) comes outside to see what the noise from outside was, as let it be hold a rock like figure stood down a wide gaping hole. As the Old Man pokes at the rock: The Rock suddenly breaks down, to where a gooey like texture lands on the Old Man’s stick. Gooey stuff latches onto the Old Man, as the Old Man is full blown panic mode as the gooey stuff will not let go of the man’s skin. Soon the gooey stuff fully consumes the man, as this gooey stuff will become a major threat towards the town and all the civilians living in it. How can this Blob be stop, as it continues to become bigger and bigger, with every victim it consumes?!
The Cinematography looked pretty good, as I truly adore the simplicity of the visual skeptical of this town. I also adore the set design, you can tell these sets were hand crafted as a fair amount of thought were put into them. Especially the looks of the movie theater: It’s honestly the highlight for me as the sequences unfolding not only looked authentic, but also elevate the terror of the townspeople witnessing this blob figure closing into the scenery. I enjoyed the creature design, though the technology wasn’t advanced in cinema like it is now, there’s something quite admirable experiencing hand crafted effects, especially when it’s presented in a stop slow motion scale. May not be impressive to look at now, but one can simply appreciate for what is was and how it made into an effective told story.
The composed Score was rock solid, it’s always a treat to hear the authenticity of a traditional like score. Sure back in those days the Score can get repetitive in nature, however it still sounds good in quality as you can almost guarantee to experience quality music when experiencing a film.
The cast all in all was solid as a whole. Steve McQueen playing the lead character Steve Andrews had a solid performance, as he was the beloved likable cool guy on the block, whom witnessed the blob doing despicable things where no one believed in Steve. Even though there was minimal doubt towards Steve claiming there was a monster on the loose: Most of the people had slight belief Steve was telling the truth, simply because Steve is trusted amongst the people as he never tells a lie. So yeah even though this cliche has been used many times, it at least is used differently, as even the most ridiculous accusation can somehow come across believable since Steve is a good honest man.
I really enjoyed Lt. Dave played by Earl Rowe, he was a likable law enforcement like character, whom not only took his job rather seriously, but doesn’t abuse his power in any way. He’s a good and reasonable cop, which then leads full trust by Steve and the rest of the town, that they can count on him and to also not to be so hard on the little mistakes the civilians make on an everyday basis.
I can see why this film is divided amongst critics and audiences: It’s a film that is fairly different during it’s time. When you think of horror films, you typically think of a scary premise but it’s taken extremely seriously. I feel The Blob (1958) was a different change of pace, as by the looks of it… It can come across as extremely goofy. Like who in the right mind would be scared of Jello, dragging across the street?! I can see why this can come across not liked from a horror perspective. To me for what The Blob (1958) is… It’s a fairly fine watch.
I feel most of my criticism made towards the film as a whole, is not seeing much of the blob. I would say the blob is in quarter of the run time, as the rest of the run time is mostly centered on the human beings. I understand there are limitations to where the blob can be as much effective as it can be, simply not having the technology to with stand making scary and effective scenes… However sometimes the blob can go MIA, as you want to see more of it than the other characters.
I also felt that’s the other issue: While the characters are likable, sometimes the scenes aren’t as interesting enough. They’ll be a couple scenes here and there where characters are talking, as it’s not as investing as you would hope it to be, as that is critical for a film like this.
When the blob is shown… The film is fun to watch, especially the third act. I felt the third act is by far not only the most effective usage of the blob, but it’s also the most exciting part of the film. A lot is happening between the blob, between our main characters, and also the entire town comes alive as well. I love the whole beginning sequence of the third act where Steve tries to wake up the entire town with cars and alarms, to get the townspeople out and about to warn them about this entity that is causing wreckage amongst the town. It’s then followed up by an epic blob sequence at the theater, as many people flee in terror, which then leads to a very satisfying conclusion where the town works together in full harmony in a very crucial situation.
There’s also a couple fairly crafted humorous moments in this film as well. I genuinely loved the part, where they’re in the movie theater, as one audience member got aggravated with them interrupting his movie… That man is a whole ass mood! I wish the film tried to be a little more campy in presentation, however they still managed to get a couple jokes in which was fine enough.
I feel for a film in which was thought of simply by the creation of star jelly: It’s a nice little work of art. It also has wholesome feel to it especially, simply because it was thought of in this small town altogether… May not be the scariest film you ever seen, however you can at least appreciate the likeness of it all while delivering some entertainment value to it.
Overall, The Blob (1958) was a perfectly fine film. I recommend checking this one out, was a nice theatrical experience as well, the sound system sounded really good with this one! -Mitch Smietana