Why You Should Watch: The Blob (1988)

Image result for the blob

If it had a mind, you could reason with it. If it had a face, you could look it in the eye. And if it had a body, you could shoot it.

The Blob (1988) Trailer

The Blob is a real gem of an 80s horror film. It’s a great example of a few different things: a blend of horror and science fiction; a remake that honors and builds upon its predecessor; a great display of practical effects. It’s silly, scary, gross, and thrilling. It really should not be missed but is an especially great watch if you want to see an exceptional horror film that is lesser known but worth the watch.

The Blob has been a personal favorite of mine since childhood so it’s hard for me to list some coherent, intriguing reasons as to why I believe you should watch it but I will try:

  • Watching this movie is thrilling. It starts with scenes of a mysteriously abandoned small town and after introducing you to its key characters it doesn’t relent in creating an exciting experience
  • Fantastic practical effects. This is the type of movie that makes you sad over the dominance of CGI
  • Includes one of my favorite jabs at another popular franchise – a movie within a movie scene making fun of the Friday the 13th franchise.
  • One of the few horror films to kill a child. This movie often has some cynical humor but it also isn’t afraid to go there to ramp up the suspense
  • An unforgettable garbage disposal scene
  • It honors its 1958 predecessor with characters coded to look like preps and greasers based on their clothes

You may be thinking the obvious: how scary can a giant blob that consumes people possibly be? But being killed by the blob is easily one of the most excruciating deaths a horror film character can befall. It is basically liquidizing your organs slowly over the course of hours. A popular horror film podcast did a death match bracket with horror film villains and the blob decimated everything else to become the winner.

The titular character also has some personality and intelligence about its mission. When not just rolling down the street like Katamari, the blob likes to stage jump scares and sneak up to people. Which makes no sense but is nonetheless delightful – especially when some of those people include a sleazy attempted date rapist.

For those interested in examining American History reflected through horror media it would be worthwhile to watch 50s and 80s Blobs back to back to note the significant departures in the origins of the blob. Like other horror films which get reimagined, this remake reflects the differences even a few decades make in social norms. Unlike the 50s film in which the antagonistic goop truly is an alien life form which accidental crashed to earth in a meteorite, the 80s version sees a much darker and more cynical origin for the blob which reflects a post-Watergate and Vietnam War America (while also managing to still be anti-Russian because we are still talking about the 1980s…). Ironically the 50s film inadvertently makes a statement that seems to ominously allude to the threat of climate change in the current decade:

Dave requests authorities send an Air Force heavy-lift cargo aircraft to transport the Blob to the Arctic, where it is later parachuted down to the ice and snow pack. Dave says that while the creature is not dead, at least it has been stopped. To this, Steve Andrews replies, “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold”.

The film ends with the words “The End” which then morph into a question mark.

The Blob (1958)

The 80s version takes a different twist – its ending an ominous commentary on religious fanaticism.

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