The Blob (1988)
The Blob (1988)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: August 5th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Chuck Russell Actors: Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark, Joe Seneca, Del Close, Paul McCrane, Sharon Spelman

 


 

A

t a high school football game, star player Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) finds an opportune time to ask out cheerleader crush Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith): just after he catches a long shot and is tackled across the water table by two opponents. Meanwhile, rebellious motorcyclist and juvenile delinquent Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon) crashes his bike (something like karma for failing to recycle), forcing him to barter for help from mechanic Moss Woodley (Beau Billingslea). At the same time, local sheriff Herb Geller (Jeffrey DeMunn) attempts to romance waitress Fran Hewitt (Candy Clark), who doesn’t offer any real disinclination.

In the nearby grove, a meteorite explodes amidst the dense trees, alerting an eccentric vagrant. Exhibiting expected curiosity, he pokes at the hole with a stick, disturbing a gob of pinkish goo emerging from some sort of alien sac. As he flees in pain and fear, he stumbles upon Brian fixing his ride, before sprinting across the roadway right into the path of Paul and Meg’s car as they head out for their date. The three kids take the vagabond to the hospital, where the staff seems inexplicably unconcerned as the bum’s abdomen is dissolved by the acidic gunk. In short time, the deadly slime starts attacking and consuming the townsfolk to grow exponentially in size, leaving a terrified group of survivors to desperately fight for their lives.

Like many horror movies of the time, no one believes that an extraterrestrial villain (here, the amorphous blob) is wreaking havoc on citizens (or that it can sneakily hide behind a door and produce tendrilous appendages for easier ambulatory movements). But in a welcome twist, the cast is dispatched in a most unexpected order, making the scenario of dwindling targets an unpredictable ordeal (even young children aren’t safe). Concurrently, a government-sanctioned biological containment team offers up farfetched explanations of xenomorph bacteria having wiped out the dinosaurs, while a willingness to sacrifice innocent people to get the upper hand on U.S. warfare – along with an evil company man like something out of “Aliens” – provide undeniable amusement. Additionally, uncommon excitement comes from explosive escapes and victims being rapidly assaulted, each granted increasingly more mutilative, bloodthirsty demises.

The blob effects are sensational, taking the icky substance concept to gruesome new extremes. In the same way John Carpenter’s “The Thing” drastically outdid Howard Hawks’ “The Thing from Another World” in shocking visuals, this 1988 update of the 1958 Steve McQueen cult classic has become supremely over-the-top. Not only has the look of the enormous mucus transformed into a more believable monster, the wonderfully repugnant special effects by Tony Gardner, Lyle Conway, and Stuart Ziff (along with the crew of Dream Quest Images) demonstrate some of the most outstanding examples of body horror and fleshly destruction on film – which would make even David Cronenberg proud.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10