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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Original 1958 classic – The Blob


By Steve D. Stones

Actor Steve McQueen was just 28 years old when he played his first screen role as a teenager on a date tracking down a giant cherry colored blob that comes to earth from a meteor crash. His girlfriend, actress Aneta Corsuat, -- misspelled in credits as Corseaut -- would later appear as Helen Crump on the 1960s TV series – The Andy Griffith Show. The Blob has everything a low-budget 50s sci-fi movie could offer – poodle skirts, Brill creamed hairstyles, classic cars and dopey, untrusting cops.

While necking in a car high in the neighborhood hills, McQueen and Corseaut witness a meteor crash nearby. They track the meteor to the property of an old farmer. The farmer cracks open the meteor to discover a Jell-O-like substance that consumes his arm.  Writer Stephen King pays homage to this scene in Creepshow (1982) – by also playing the role of a curious farmer who finds a meteor in his backyard.

McQueen and Corseaut take the farmer to a local doctor, where his body later becomes fully consumed by the Jell-O growth on his arm. The farmer transforms into a giant blob and consumes the doctor and his nurse. McQueen reports this incident to the local police, but they have a tough time taking the report seriously, even after investigating the scene of the crime at the doctor’s office.

Meanwhile, the blob grows larger and larger as it consumes more victims in the town. McQueen and Corseaut track the blob to a local supermarket and are forced to barricade themselves in a meat locker. Here they discover that the blob does not like the cold as it tries to slither under the meat locker door but is repelled by the cold.

In a scene shown at the drive-in from the movie Grease (1978), dozens of teenagers run out of a theater as the gooey blob slithers through the theater doors and out into the street. The marquee on the theater advertises the film – Daughter of Horror and actor Bela Lugosi’s name.  

After warning many local teenagers and attempting to warn local police again of the blob menace, McQueen and Corseaut become trapped once again, but this time in a local diner. The blob has consumed the entire diner, trapping everyone inside. McQueen sprays a CO2 tank on the blob as it crawls down the basement stairs of the diner.

The local high school principle, Mr. Martin, assigns the teenagers to gather up fire extinguishers at the school. The extinguishers are used to freeze the blob – allowing the victims inside to escape.
The film ends abruptly with a shot of a parachuted crate landing in the snow of the frozen arctic. The viewer has to assume that the blob is contained inside the crate. The shot is likely stock footage because it is grainy and out of focus.

In 1972, a sequel was made entitled - Beware! The Blob (aka Son of Blob).  A 1988 remake of The Blob was also made. As remakes go, this 1988 version is not too bad, but does not reach the level of a drive-in classic of the original 1958 version. Happy viewing!

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