The face of drive-in horror turned gooey in 1958’s The Blob. Actually, the title creature had no face at all – or arms, legs or any other appendage for that matter. The Blob had only two distinguishing characteristics: its insatiable appetite and its reddish, gelatinous appearance.
This faceless terror not only turned into one of the biggest low-budget horror films of the late 1950s, it also helped propel a young Steve McQueen to stardom.
McQueen plays Steve Andrews, a teenager who likes to race hot rods and make out with his best girl, but otherwise has a pretty solid and law-abiding record.
That small-town idyll gets turned upside-down, however, when a strange meteorite crashes in the woods nearby. An old hermit goes out to investigate, becoming the first victim of the oozing, flesh-eating Blob.
Steve and his buddies discover the Blob, which grows larger with each victim consumed, but unfortunately, the local authorities don’t believe their far-fetched tale. Terror is piled upon terror, and soon the Blob is too big to ignore. But is it too late to destroy it?
The Blob may have been the perfect drive-in movie, combining its ‘misunderstood teen’ elements with creature feature horror. Audiences ate it up, turning The Blob into one of the most successful films of the drive-in era.
Shot in colour, the movie was a change of pace from most low-budget, black-and-white horror, and the presence of Steve McQueen helped make it a reissue favourite for years afterwards.
Fourteen years after the original, Beware! The Blob was released to cinemas in 1972. Directed by Larry Hagman (I Dream of Jeannie‘s Major Nelson and JR from Dallas), the film was more campy and silly than the original, featuring cameos from Dick Van Patten, Cindy Williams and Burgess Meredith, among others.
The film went back to its horror roots for a 1988 remake, also titled The Blob. This 30th-anniversary do-over added late 80’s special effects and new levels of gore (enough to earn an R rating) but garnered little attention in cinemas.
Nostalgic fans of the original were content with video viewings of their old favourite, and their kids were too enthralled by Freddy and Jason to pay any attention to a mass of carnivorous goo.
Dr T. Hallen
Sergeant Jim Bert
Irvin S Yeaworth Jr.