The Blob (1958)
“Beware of the Blob! It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides across the floor.”
Director: Irving S. Yeaworth Jr.
Cast: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe
Synopsis: An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.
There are two ways of looking at The Blob, a typical 1950s monster movie which, compared to its contemporaneous peers, has somehow found an elevated status amongst horror buffs. The first is as an allegory of the Communist threat on the American way of life, and the blindness of society to its dangers. The second, less obvious, allegory is that the blob represents the banality of life from which we all, at one time or another, attempt to escape but which, more often than not, ends up consuming us all sooner or later. Of course, it could be that we’re attributing too much to the motivation of writers Theodore Simonson and Kay Linaker, and that all they were trying to do was make some money out of scaring a bunch of teenagers…
Steve McQueen made his screen debut with The Blob – and was already something of a handful on set, apparently, because it was the only movie of a proposed three-movie deal that he made for producer Jack H. Harris. He plays Steve, a typical teen trying to get his hands inside the blouse of his girlfriend, Jane (Aneta Corsaut) in some dark lover’s lane when a shooting star falls to earth nearby. Steve and Jane drive the short distance to where it landed and come across an old man (Olin Howlin, coming to the end of a 200+ credit career that began in 1918) whose hand is encased in an oily blob which emerged from the meteorite that fell to earth. They drive the old boy to the local doctor, who is unable to save the old man before he is completely consumed by the ever-growing blob and then become a victim himself. Steve witnesses the attack, but has the devil’s own time trying to convince the town’s adults that anything is amiss, and has to rely on the help of his teen chums to alert the townspeople to the danger that is threatening to engulf them.
The Blob is a pretty bad movie. Director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. really doesn’t have a clue about how to organise a scene, and falls back too often on simply filling the screen with close-ups of the face of whoever happens to be reciting their lines at the time. The first half of the movie is filled with endless amounts of padding that is incredibly dull, and the monster is just a big mass of red silicone gel. The acting, apart from McQueen, is routinely awful, and the effects are strictly third-rate. But then, allegorical intentions or not, this is a 1950s monster movie aimed at the drive-in crowd so to expect anything better than ordinary would be unrealistic.
(Reviewed 27th July 2012)