I have a fondness for old movies.
Side note: I also have a fondness for saying “I have a fondness” for things. I feel like I’ve done this a million times in a million different posts. Sorry about that.
A week ago, I spent a happy evening on the couch with the boyf watching The Blob. For those of you who haven’t heard of this gem, it’s a campy old horror movie from 1958 about a (I kid you not) gelatinous blob that attacks a town. As you can guess, the movie is utterly ridiculous, but I had a fantastic time watching it.
I mean, seriously, it’s a blob. It’s a gelatinous blob. It starts off about the size of my hand, and it eventually grows to be the size of a local movie theater. The origins of the Blob remain largely unclear. You know it came from space, but that’s about it. What also remains unclear is how exactly it consumes its victims.
At the beginning of the movie, it attaches itself to this old man’s hand, and thanks to the power of editing, it starts growing larger and larger. We never see it grow though. It’s like you blink and it’s suddenly larger.
We rarely see it move either. You’ll see it pulse or edge forward, but there’s never really a good time where its motion is captured on video. (Except for this one scene where it seeps under a crack in a door. That was awesome.)
This adds to the hilarity, because all the townsfolk who encounter it have to be on the ground for it to get them. I know it’s a horror trope to trip at the most inconvenient times, but this movie makes it even more ridiculous. At least two women trip on nothing. They’re indoors, for crying out loud. There are no leaves, roots, or sidewalk cracks to mess with their shoes. And when they’re on the ground screaming, they don’t even try to crawl away. They just keep shrieking.
Eventually, the Blob gets big enough to swallow buildings, and that’s when the movie reaches its climax.
However, before I dive into the finale, I should probably spare a thought or two to our completely forgettable cast of characters. The Blob introduces us to Steve and Jane, two “teenagers” who should win awards for looking 20 years older than teenagers. They are purportedly two sweethearts in love, but the movie opens up in an incredibly off-putting fashion. Jane is uncomfortably telling Steve she’s not ready to move so fast (they’re kissing in a car), and Steve awkwardly agreeing to slow down.
And then we cut to a meteor falling and Steve suggesting they go investigate it.
Couldn’t they have come up with a better way to start the story?
What then follows is some of the strangest dialogue I’ve ever heard in an old movie. I’m normally fond of that affected accent you hear in old-timey films, but in The Blob, that accent is coupled with the weirdest non sequiturs I’ve ever heard. It’s like the writers didn’t know how people talk. Or maybe I’m just not used to white man colloquialisms. Who knows?
Steve and Jane are joined by some raucous young boys (they’re men, seriously, they look so old) and some small-town cops to comprise the main cast. Steve’s fellow teenage males all give off this macho vibe, so much so that you can’t tell if they’re angry at him or if they’re best buds. And the cops are either down-with-all-teenagers or I’m-your-best-friend-you-can-trust-me types.
Side note: There’s this pretty hilarious moment where one of the cops looks right at the camera when he’s talking, and it’s a gut-bustingly incongruous action.
Anyway, the Blob ends up being averse to cold temperatures, as Steve and Jane find out when they hide from it in a meat locker. They notice that it retreats from attacking them. This information comes in handy later on when they’re trapped in a diner that the Blob has enveloped. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, they realize they can chase it off of the building by spraying fire extinguishers at it.
An army of local teenage boys who were not there for the entire movie show up to break into the high school, steal a bunch of fire extinguishers, and help free Steve and Jane from the diner.
The Blob shrinks down a bit, and the movie concludes by showing a helicopter traveling to Antarctica where it’s going to drop off the Blob so it can never hurt anyone again.
Which is one way to deal with a piece of jelly from outer space.
The Blob is not the best old movie I’ve ever seen, but it does have its moments. It’s an enjoyable watch, but you will have to remember that it is a campy movie not meant to be taken too seriously.
However, I do think it would be really cool if someone made a modern-day reboot and turned it into a legitimately scary movie. Like if that game Carrion were to be mashed together with The Blob and The Thing, I think we’d have a whole new classic on our hands.