Current wisdom holds that Hollywood is a giant engine that functions entirely on recycling old ideas and churning them out hoping we’re too dumb to recognize that we’re being fed the same thing over and over and over again. Invariably, whenever you see a remake coming down the pipeline, people will puff out their chests and say that these movies are destroying entertainment and they must be stopped. Right now, I want to call that kind of thinking bullshit. Selling the same stories over and over and over again has been going on since Ancient Greece, so it’s hardly a new trend and while for the most part most remakes you find out there, particularly within the horror genre, are of subpar quality, every so often you’ll find remakes like The Thing or The Fly or Dawn of the Dead, remakes that are often argued as superior to their originals. The successful remake is one that either takes a basic concept and takes it in new, over the top directions (Dawn of the Dead), or takes a movie that was unexceptional to begin with (The Fly) and just decides to see how crazy they can go with it.
One of the best examples of this second kind of remake is 1988’s The Blob.
The original Blob was little more than a vehicle for a young Steve McQueen (well, not that young), where he fought a semi-conscious blob of strawberry jam from space that ate people. Also, it had a really goofy theme song.
Flash forward to the 1980’s, the decade that decided to ignore subtlety in all its forms, and The Blob is transformed into an over-the-top gorefest as the titular monster makes its way through a small town, devouring men, women, horny teenagers (and even children, for a goofy movie it broke this standard taboo nicely) left, right and center in the most gruesome ways possible. Of course we have our requisite young people who are ignored while trying to warn people (including a young Shawnee Smith), but the real star in this movie is the titular Blob. People aren’t just eaten by The Blob, they are dissolved, they are broken, they are devoured in the worst ways possible, and the special effects are some of the most impressive the decade has to offer (especially in the standout scene where a guy is pulled headfirst down a sink after trying to plunge the Blob). And just when you think it hasn’t gone off the rails enough, they decide to toss in a last minute government conspiracy plotline at the end of the movie. It’s stupid, cheesy fun of the best variety, and actually has some of the better special effects the period had to offer (so long as you ignore the obvious blue screen shots toward the end of the movie).
The Blob is not a serious movie, not by a long shot, but it’s a fun ride and a guilty pleasure that I have no problem watching over and over again.
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-- Matt Carter
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