Directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. [Other horror films: 4D Man (1959)] & Russell S. Doughten Jr. [Other horror films: N/A]
Few movies are as nostalgic for me as The Blob. Ever since I was a kid, my family has owned this one on an old Goodtimes VHS tape, and I cannot even begin to guess how many times I’ve seen it. I won’t pretend that to a modern-day viewer the film wouldn’t have problems (one of them being that Steve McQueen doesn’t much look like a teenager here), but to me, the movie’s perfect.
Watching this now, after seeing much more that the genre has to offer, the first thing that strikes me is the fact that it’s in color, and it’s even pretty decent color. Most American horror movies didn’t switch over to color until the 1960’s, so the fact that this one was color just impresses me more than it might others who already prefer the 1988 remake.
Another thing – the catchy number at the beginning. The credit to the song goes to The Five Blobs (which is a funny artist name to begin with), and while I understand that a song like that might not seem appropriate before a horror flick, I always thought it was a lot of fun, and that song has graced my iTunes for many years now.
The story here isn’t that different from other alien invasion movies of the 1950’s, the only real difference being that the alien here is an amorphous blob as opposed to some type of bipedal humanoid. Design-wise, the blob is pretty simple, but I always liked that purpleish-pinkish shade, and the fact that it’s pretty unstoppable is also impressively horrifying.
Steve McQueen (who famously screwed himself when taking $2,500 for the film, as opposed to 10% of the film’s profits) may not be the best-cast here, but I still love what he brings to the film, and his sometimes overly-dramatic performance (“He was just gone. Just gone”). Aneta Corsaut wasn’t necessarily special here, but I still love her for her unending concern of the old man’s dog.
Earl Rowe and John Benson both brought something to their roles, Benson an authoritarian, teen-hating cop, and Rowe a cop with a bit more of an understanding nature. Their mild conflicts throughout the film were interesting (more so when we found out Benson’s character was in the war, most likely Korea), and Robert Fields’ (Tony) story about moving a friend’s car was pretty funny also (I never quite understood the exact nature of McQueen’s and Field’s relationship, but it always had charm).
I understand that some of my views are purely nostalgia, and I suspect that some people might not be able to take me seriously as a reviewer given I’m perfectly okay with allowing nostalgic value to help guide my rating (though if they’ve been reading my reviews for a while, this definitely isn’t the first time nostalgia has played a role). I maintain that there’s not an issue with that, though – most people have those movies that they’ve loved since childhood, and I certainly have loved this one for a long time.
A great piece of 50’s horror, The Blob has been a long-time favorite of mine, and I’m not the least bit guilty for giving this one the highest of ratings.