Let’s get stuck.
The Blob is a classic horror film worthy of any fan’s collection. I mean that wholeheartedly. In this odd mix of creature-feature, horror, and action we end up with an enjoyable yarn that knows what it wants to do and does it well.
Our titular blob crashes from outer space and the strange organism attaches itself to other living things (though not plants) and feeds upon them. Each time it feeds it gets bigger until it becomes a threat to our small town.
We follow Meg (Shawnee Smith) and outcast Brian (Kevin Dillon) as the two are forced together once things go awry. The film presents the characters in familiar ways. Our cheerleader is not as vapid as initially presented, and our outcast criminal is not a bad person. By presenting the characters as simple archetypes, and then breaking the mold, we get decent character development in a 90-minute film.
The effects range from still impressive today to completely awful. The practical effects look good, and the gruesome acidic deaths hold enough of a bite to be entertaining. Why of how the police believe that Brian might be responsible for melting a classmate is a plot hole I have never understood…
Characters have to have a certain level of stupidity in the horror genre. I hate this rule and honestly believe that it can be broken, but the reliance on human idiocy is a major driving factor of horror. The notion that a young person (Meg) who has no sign of mental illness (which would have to be serious to have hallucinations) or a history of drug problems is suddenly making something up for no reason, or that she is simply in shock, doesn’t hold water. I’ve seen people in shock, and I’ve seen real reactions to horrific events, but I’ve never seen anyone misreport what happened to the level of a monster attacking when it was a teenager. True crime holds numerous examples of people seeing horrific and shocking events and remembering them clearly, or at least fragments of them.
I know that railing against people being dumb in a classic horror movie is perhaps not the best use of our time, but I want to see a movie where people don’t make stupid mistakes to propel the plot.
Here, the film does throw us some curveballs. The Blob actually has the guts to kill off characters who are seen as more important. We don’t get many cannon-fodder kills as things progress, and the stakes are much clearer. A lot of new horror could take a lesson from this one. No one is safe in this narrative and that tension has been largely lost in recent years.
The Blob is its most successful due to clever pacing and a willingness to throw curveballs at the audience. The film won’t shock you, but it is entertaining enough for a lot of fun. Strong characters and a comfortable setting allow the events to progress naturally. I’m not sure why older horror films seem to have a better grasp of this than newer ones, but as said above, this one should be on everyone’s shelf.
An imperfect classic of the genre. Worth seeing.