The Blob. 1958. 7/10

The Blob is probably the best of the teens & monsters sci-fi movies of the 50s. The ‘crazy-mixed-up-kids’ focus actually helps the plot; the teens are an integral part of the community, they might be a nuisance, but can’t be ignored.

It’s almost as though the blob is sort a device for the Steve McQueen-led high-schoolers to win recognition and respect from the adults. It’s the elephant in the room which literally becomes too big to ignore. At the same time the menace the blob represents could be evil incarnate. A reminder, perhaps, that out of nowhere (outer space, in this case) evil is ready to destroy us, and nothing is an effective barrier to its invasiveness until it’s believed and reckoned with.

I think the deadly force of the blob contrasts well with the everyday fun–the hot rod set messing around, pulling pranks, making out, watching creepy films, etc.. The adults have their nutty moments too–the ‘way-out’ party of ’50s yuppies that one teen happens upon; not to mention the earnest old guy genuinely bewildered about whether to put on his Civil Defense or Volunteer Fire Department helmet when things start going bump in the night.

The pacing is pretty good, McQueen’s restlessness becomes contagious in this isolated town, leading to the iconic blob-bust at the theater and the diner.

I would like to have seen a more elaborate set-up to the Blob’s appearance. A cocoanutish meteorite in a tiny crater is about as other-worldly as coals in a campfire pit. I realize there wasn’t much budget to work with, but couldn’t they have made the meteorite bigger? With its majestic trail across the sky before crashing, one expects something at least as big as McQueen’s Plymouth.

The flip-side to McQueen’s star performance is the generic nature of virtually all the other characters. At least Aneta Corsaut has a demure presence, but her younger brother is so wooden that I kept hoping the Blob would get him. Still, his buddies ‘make the scene’ convincingly with their cool rods and custom cars. Well worth more than one look, The Blob does the job for me. 7/10.

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