Friday, March 10, 2006

The Blob

Or, "Why poking things with a stick is a bad idea"

As long as you don’t take this movie too seriously, it’s a good watch. Though it claims to be a horror movie, the passage of time has dulled the impact of The Blob’s special effects and ploys for shocking the audience, and as a result the movie is no longer as frightening as it might have once been. It does, however, continue to excel in keeping the gore factor up, with dismembered body parts and decaying half-alive victims galore.

Most of the allowances for this film have to go towards the plotline and characterizations, most of which seem cheesy by today’s standards (and probably by 80’s standards, as well). The basic story is as follows: a “meteor” crashes to the earth, and an unknown, amorphous life form from within quickly starts taking out townspeople, starting with the unfortunate homeless man who first discovers it. The trio from the beginning of the movie – a jock, cheerleader, and rebel (you can tell by his leather jacket, cigarettes, and motorcycle highjinks – sans helmet), brought together by their discovery of the infected and soon to be devoured homeless man – is soon whittled down to the unlikely duo of the cheerleader and the rebel. Together, they have to rid the town of the blob attacking it, as none of the adults believe their tales of imposing danger.

Some thinly veiled ethical warnings are thrown in haphazardly, as is common in horror movies. The blob immediately goes after the parked couple engaging in underage drinking and the beginnings of premarital sex, and eventually takes out the evil government officials who lose sight of the value of individuals when dealing with national security. In fact, after those deaths, most all of the characters introduced in the beginning of the movie quickly die off, leaving no doubt as to who would end up still alive at the end of the movie.

Oh, did I mention the evil-government subplot? Apparently, the blob isn’t a random alien attack (as I think happened in the original movie), but instead a botched attempt of the US at a biological weapon to use against Russia. The rebel of the movie thus becomes the hero on two fronts, as he not only helps physically take out the blob, but his inability to trust authority figures also saves the town from being wiped out by cold-hearted generals only interested in containing their “weapon” for future use.

If you watch closely (and even if you don’t), almost everything shown briefly in the beginning of the movie comes back to play a part later on, ad infinitum. It becomes a game to predict what will happen next. If something is mentioned and doesn’t seem important, e.g. a jacket zipper getting stuck, you know that somewhere along the line that zipper being stuck will play an integral role in building suspense.

All in all, The Blob is not good horror movie, but it is a good movie to watch and laugh about with friends.

Best quote:
Cheerleader: The front door's locked.
Rebel: [picks up a brick] Don't worry, I got a key.
The trailer (on the left hand side of the screen):

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