Readers’ Choice: The Blob (1958)

“You know, plenty of people in their right minds thought they saw things that didn’t exist. You know, like flying saucers. The light was just right, and the angle, and the imagination. Oh boy if that’s what it is, and this is just an ordinary night, and you and I are going to go home to sleep. And tomorrow when we get up, that sun’s gonna shine, just like yesterday. Good old yesterday” – Steve McQueen, The Blob (1958)

My to-watch list for horror films gets shorter and shorter every week, but I still have a few iconic flicks to experience for the first time. This week, I reached out to my readers on social media with a few titles I have never seen before. I asked for their votes in the comments to select the subject of this week’s blog post. The choices ranged from popular slashers, to iconic psychological horror films, to…The Blob. To my surprise, The Blob won the most votes, overwhelmingly, across all platforms. As unprepared as I was, I ended up enjoying this venture even more than I anticipated.

First of all…I was screaming with laughter before the first scene. The title sequence consists of a very Hitchcock-esque, moving geometric figure meant to represent the Blob. To my surprise (which was the real source of the laughter), there appeared a jazzy theme song for the Blob itself. If you have never heard it, I implore you…have a listen courtesy of the video below.

The film begins with the main characters seeing a “shooting star” fall in their small Pennsylvania town. Inside the foreign object that is found by a local is a gelatinous parasite that attaches itself to his hand. When he is found by the protagonist teenagers, Steve and Jane (I’m assuming they’re supposed to be teenagers…they all look like they’re in their thirties) in their search of the fallen object, he begs them to take him to a doctor. The doctor is stumped by what he sees and asks the couple to return to the place where they found the man to try and find more witnesses. Since this is a horror movie and questionable decisions must be made, they end up drag racing with some fellow teenagers in their thirties instead after some minimal peer pressure. They do what they’re supposed to right after, but I just had to point that out.

Meanwhile, the doctor calls in a nurse for some help. He warns her not to touch the material on the patient’s hand. When she enters the room to check on the patient, she sees no one. However, in the patient’s place, rolling on the floor, is a being that resembles the inside of a raspberry jelly donut. The doctor figures out pretty quickly that the being has consumed his patient. He warns the nurse not to touch it. The Blob helps itself to the two colleagues, becoming larger in the process. Steve and Jane come back just in time to see this happen from outside the doctor’s office. At this point, things really get rolling in the town with their hungry visitor.

A series of events leads to the iconic movie theater scene (this was without a doubt my favorite part). The audience soon finds the mobile jelly filling that is quickly expanding the theater much scarier than the movie the recently departed theater staff had playing, and they run screaming from the building. This attracts the attention of the people looking for signs of the menace, leading to a stand-off between the people of the town and the Blob as it begins to devour a diner where the main characters are hiding.

Steve discovers through experimental self-defense with a fire extinguisher that the Blob is weak against extreme cold. After connecting with the police force on the scene, they come up with a plan to freeze the Blob with more fire extinguishers. In the end, since the chemicals are only a temporary solution, it is decided that an airplane will transport the incapacitated Blob to the Arctic, where it may never thaw out and cause more destruction. This was the point of a an eerily timely line for a movie from the 1950s: “As long as the Arctic stays cold.”

The movie ends with a charming clip of the Blob floating down onto what appears to be an Arctic landscape via large, billowing parachutes. This encouraged one last peal of laughter from me, and I had watched The Blob at last.

I do not watch a lot of science fiction because it is not really my thing, but I really enjoyed watching this. Not only was it hilarious to me, but I also recognized the tropes of invasion horror that were common during this period in American cinema. Science was becoming more advanced and more accessible to the masses in the mid-1900s, and filmmakers knew how to take advantage of the fears of the unknown felt nationwide. There are so many examples of this in both horror and science fiction, and I plan to do more research and write about it in more detail.

I truly enjoyed watching this for the first time. I definitely see why so many friends online wanted me to check it out.

More than anything, I just love that Blob. Any antagonist that resembles a fruity confection and has its own catchy theme song is a winner in my book.

I really enjoyed going with the readers’ choice this week! There will definitely be more posts like this every now and then. While we’re here: What horror film would you like to read about in the future? Comment below or connect with me on social media.

Until next time,

Jordan

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