When people sit and discuss great remakes (as I assume we all often do…), conversation inevitably turns to The Thing and The Fly, two movies from the 80’s that used modern storytelling techniques, state of the art special effects and an oil tanker’s worth of goo to hugely build upon and improve their 50’s area predecessors.
Well, what if I told you there was a third…
Directed by Chuck Russell (Nightmare On Elm St. 3, The Mask and errrr… The Scorpion King) and written by Frank Darabont (director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist), The Blob oozed into theatres during the late 80’s, armed with healthy reviews and ridiculous amounts of kickass practical effects… And then promptly disappeared.
This was a massive shame as this movie is a frantically energetic, horror/actioner packed with wall to wall gruesome kills and a breathless pace that doesn’t let up.
The plot? Simplicity itself. Following the original pretty damn closely, a meteor crash lands just on the outskirts of the small town of Arbeville, Colorado, a dying community suffering a freak heat wave during the start of sking season. Found by a local derelict, he chooses to treat the smouldering entity from the heavens the way I’d hope we all would: he pokes it with a stick.
Shockingly, he is utterly stunned when this well thought out plan promptly goes tits up and a pink viscous, globule of acidic matter attaches itself to his arm and starts to feed. However, his panicked flight attracts the attention of 2 high schoolers on their first date (including Shawnee Smith from Saw) and the town’s resident bad boy (Kevin Dillon – brother of Matt). It’s exactly here the film starts flinging curve balls left, right and centre and the rest of the film plays as a string of well set up and fantastically paid off set pieces and scenarios involving the rapidly growing super-predator claiming it’s victims in ever more gruesome ways.
These include, but not limited too:
A screaming woman desperately trying to ring the sheriff’s department from a phone booth as the Blob entombs it from the outside.
A victim collapses in on himself while a friend desperately tries to pull him free.
And best of all, a full grown man gets dragged DOWN A FUCKING PLUGHOLE!!
Lightning quick and boasting an apetite to rival Orson Wells, The Blob 2.0 is a gleefully effective beastie which from it’s introduction all the way to the building crushing climax, proceeds to melt the everloving shit out of every living thing that crosses it’s path.
There’s a danger that all the people melting could get a tad repetitive but the script is way to on the ball for that. All the tiny little character beats (usually by recognisable character actors) make everyone more than cardboard cut out blob fodder and a substantial sub-plot involving a military quarantine and contain mission adds a healthy dose of conspiracy theory, Jesus, even Kevin Dillon’s MOTORBIKE gets a damn subplot.
The last 40 minutes or so are pure blockbuster horror heaven, with an anamorphic attack on a cinema, a slippery sewer chase, a runny rampage on the city streets and a final show down on the steps of city hall.
It’s all immensely satisfying stuff and again, it’s such a damn shame the film doesn’t get the unfettered love it utterly deserves (it’s not even available on any home formats in the UK at time of writing, I had to source my Blu Ray from the US). Hunt for it, stream it, find it. Whatever you have to do because The Blob is worth it.