Release Date: September 12th, 1958
Directed by: Irvin Yeaworth
Written by: Kay Linaker, Theodore Simonson
Music by: Ralph Carmichael, Burt Bacharach
Cast: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland
Fairview Productions, Tonylyn Productions, Valley Forge Films, Paramount Pictures, 86 Minutes
“[after throwing acid on the Blob] Doctor, nothing will stop it!” – Kate, the nurse
If that Burt Bacharach theme in the opening credits doesn’t lure you in, you’ve got no musical soul.
Beyond that, this film rests on the shoulders of Steve McQueen, who was pretty young here but still the coolest guy in the room by far. He is a juvenile delinquent but not really. He just falls victim to the prejudices of a cop that hates the youth and his girlfriend’s judgmental father. Sure, he races a car backwards but that’s what cool people do. Regardless, he saved the damn town and was the hero of the movie.
The threat in this picture is a blob. Yes, an actual blob. But that should have been apparent by the title of the film.
Are blobs scary? Well, not really. But a lot of people get killed by this murderous Jello mold, which keeps growing, kill after kill. When we first meet the monster, it is a tiny little jelly ball that hatches from a small meteor. It attaches itself to a curious old guy in the woods and devours him in the local doctor’s office. It then eats the nurse, the doctor and eventually tries to eat the people inside of the small town’s movie theater. In the finale, the blob is big enough to engulf an entire diner.
At first glance, this may seem like typical ’50s sci-fi schlock. However, there is just something strangely magical about The Blob. It is a really good looking film for what it is. Considering it was produced on the cheap by an indie studio, the final product is impressive. It had the look of a major studio horror picture and even then, the special effects were maybe even better. Sure, an actual blob is probably cheap to make but the way that it moves and is shot, is more dynamic than what one would expect for the time.
The colors of this film are hypnotic and it just enhances the overall experience. This would not have been the same movie had it been presented in black and white.
The movie is short and straight to the point. It isn’t close to being the best picture of its time but it is solid and holds up as well as it can. Sure, it looks and feels dated, it’s 1950s science fiction, but it looks better than similar films from its day.
The Blob is a motion picture that’s better than it should be and that’s probably why it has stood the test of time and is still beloved by a lot of people. It also spawned a fairly okay remake in the late ’80s.
Pairs well with: The 1988 remake, as well as Them! and the original versions of The Fly and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.