STARRING: Shawnee Smith, Donovan
Leitch, Ricky Paull Goldin, Kevin Dillon, Billy Beck,
Candy Clark, Joe Seneca, Del Close
1988, 95 Minutes, Directed by:
It is instructive to watch this 1988 remake back to back with the 1958 original
version of The Blob; not only to see how much
movie-making techniques (editing, cinematography, soundtrack music, etc.) have
changed in 30 years’ time, but also how much societal attitudes and values have
changed in that period.
In the original movie the Blob
is an alien organism from outer space. Like Venom in
Spider-man 3 it hitched a ride on a meteorite that crashed onto the Earth.
In this post-Watergate remake the Blob is a secret government experiment gone
awry. The meteorite is in fact a satellite and soon shadowy
X-Files types in antibacterial suits wanting to
capture the Blob alive to study it overrun the little town (at least they kept
the original film’s setting instead of moving it to the city). Of course the
civilians are judged to be expendable. (Note: this remake actually predates The
X-Files TV show by a few years.)
In the original movie Steve
McQueen (in his debut) tries to convince the authorities that a giant alien blob
is devouring townsfolk one by one and growing bigger and bigger in the process.
Here the hero is a rebellious biker played by Kevin Dillon (younger brother of
Matt) who has to warn he townspeople that the government agents are lying and
not there to help them.
(This new remake is also a lot
more violent and gory, but nowhere as gory as more recent horror flicks such as
the SAW and Hostel movies.)
The irony is of course that
this remake has itself dated in the meantime. The pre-CG special effects has
held up remarkable well, but several hair styles will illicit some chuckles.
(The biggest transgressor is Dillon’s own hairdo.) Some soundtrack cues scream
‘Eighties and so do the opening credits sequence. This aside, The Blob is
an enjoyable affair – and to be fair – actually superior to the so-bad-it’s-good
Plans are afoot to produce yet
another remake of The Blob, this time by director Rob Zombie. If his
Halloween remake is anything to go by then any such remake will be patently
awful and audiences will no doubt be “treated” to some senseless gore, some unpleasant
potty-mouthed rednecks biting the dust and probably a gang rape or two as well.
Sigh. The point is that The
Blob has already been remade and as far as remakes go it ain’t too shoddy.
(Interesting to note is that
Shawshank Redemption and The Mist director
Frank Darabont shares co-writer credits for the screenplay. The screenplay is
awash with 1980s horror movie clichés and contains almost verbatim the same
speech about self-interest which Princess Leia gives Han Solo in
Empire Strikes Back.)