The Blob

the_blob_1988_theatrical_posterDirector Chuck Russell is the guy behind one of the Top 3 horror sequels of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. So it’s no surprise that his directorial fineries heighten The Blob, a practical effects-a-palooza and fitting tribute to its 1958 predecessor.

A remake of the seminal cheap teen drive-in Steve McQueen starrer, 30 years after the fact we realize that Kevin Dillon (as Flagg) is no Steve McQueen. But hey, few are.

And while the Blob creature’s origins are outer space, what’s truly otherworldly is Dillon’s mullet, an entity unto itself that looks like it could become sentient and float into orbit at any moment.

Most people know The Blob story already. It’s a 50s set-up that’s been told time and time again: a meteorite crashes into the California countryside. And inside the space rock, is a slime mold (interested readers may want to check out the piece we wrote for Daily Dead: Unforgettable Ooze: A look back at horror movies and slime).

A hobo goes to investigate, at his own peril. Soon, the transient’s extremities are melllllllllting….like the Wicked Witch of the West and the goo is spreading all over town. And it’s up to some teens, including rebel without a cause (or a competent barber), Flagg to fight it off.

We soon find out that the slimy stuff’s origins are Cold War-related…a germ warfare experiment gone awry, much like the plague that had residents running for the hills, who were subsequently killed or quarantined, in George Romero’s The Crazies.

the-blob-phone-booth

And much like that film, there’s a lot of guys running around with machine guns and NBC suits in The Blob, but it’s not ammo that can tame the title beast.

It’s the deaths that make The Blob so memorable. It features some incredible gooey tentacle-kills. Particularly noteworthy: the garbage disposal death scene – one for the ages. But there’s also the diner owner’s demise, getting crushed inside a phone booth, a death which exploits claustrophobia to its compelling conclusion.

Chuck Russell, who calls the original “a real shocker” says “a lot of heart and soul” went into the remake. And you can tell. The touches of humor are an added bonus, particularly the prophylactic procurement scene (“ribbed!”), one-upping Jason Alexander as the condom wrangler in The Burning.

***1/2 (out of 5)

[*Candy Clark plays victim Blob Fran Hewitt (pictured). She received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her work in American Graffiti, and was (briefly) married to noted weirdo and B-movie hero, Marjoe Gortner (The Food of the Gods/Starcrash/Hell Hole)]

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