Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Favorite Era: The Blob (1988)

There are some movies in this series that are legit classics and some that are just plain fun.  The 1988 remake of The Blob falls into the second category as it takes the premise of the 1958 original and amps it up with some awesome special effects, a likable cast and a nice no holds barred attitude to the storytelling process.

Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith star as Brian and Meg who will end up being our heroes and Donovan Leitch is also on hand as Meg's boyfriend Paul.  I'm also happy to see Art LaFleur back on the site as Meg's father and Joe Seneca, improv legend Del Close and Paul McCrane are also good in supporting roles.  It's a truly solid movie, let's take a closer look at what makes this sucker tick.
  • The first thing I love about this film is the script by Frank Darabont and the film's director Chuck Russell.  As I said earlier, they take the original movie and tweak it enough to where it fits in its time period but not so much that it's a remake in name only.
  • Another great thing is how well the small town feel is set up.  It just plain works and gives the movie a sort of retro feel to it.  It's one of those movies that's interesting to watch with the color turned down on your TV so it looks like a black and white film.
  • A cool thing the film does it to set up Paul as our male lead only to have him be one of the Blob's first victims.  It's a real great shock scene too as Tony Gardner and Lyle Conway did great work creating the f/x for the film.
  • Equally cool is Kevin Dillon playing essentially an 80's version of Marlon Brando in The Wild One.  He has great chemistry with Shawnee Smith and they make for one of the more likable 80's horror movie couples.
  • That's the key to why this movie works, the characters who need to be likable are just that.  There's nobody in the film who is disagreeable just for the sake of bring a prick.  Hell, even Paul McCrane as the jerky deputy has some redeeming qualities.
  • I appreciate how the film takes its time in setting things up.  The scene with the bum getting attacked comes after most, if not all of our main characters have been set up.  Hell, the monster doesn't really kick into action until about twenty six minutes in.  When it does though, the film really takes off.
  • The attack scenes are very nicely done with my favorite being the guy at the diner who's trying to fix a clogged sink...only to get pulled into the drain (ouch!) after which there is a nice chase scene (in the remake, the monster is fast) and another good kill as a nice waitress gets stuck in a phone booth.
  • Del Close is quite good as the local reverend and his gradual mental breakdown is pretty effective.
  • Equally effective is the redux of the movie theater attack scene as Meg races to save her kid brother and his friend.  The brother makes it.  His buddy?  Well, I did say this movie had a no holds barred attitude.
  • I like the twist of the monster actually being a bio-weapon the military has lost control of.  Joe Seneca is good as the slimy team leader willing to sacrifice an entire town and like any good bad guy, you really want to see him get munched in the worst way.
  • If I can complain about anything in the film, it's that the f/x towards the end are a little dodgy here and there.  The technology wasn't quite good enough to have the monster oozing down the main street eating folks but what we get is good enough.
  • Shawnee Smith is quite good in an uncommonly strongly written role.  Cute and tough, she definitely is easy to fall in love with.
  • I also appreciate that the usual "Nobody believes the kids" routine is dialed down to a bare minimum.  That's always been a thing that's bugged me as it requires too many characters to be stubborn idiots for too much screen time.
The Blob is a fun, cheerful 80's horror film that takes everything that was great about the original and enhances it.  It's well thought out, well made and definitely worth a look.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.