If the stories I’ve heard are true there is a five-gallon bucket somewhere in the United States that contains a batch of red silicone still moist from the 1958 production of The Blob. Supposedly it is brought out and displayed at the annual Blobfest in Phoenixville PA where many of the scenes for the movie were shot. The Blob is one of many science fiction movies of the 1950’s that told of some unknown horror coming from outer space that endangers the world. A lot of these were extremely low budget and featured extremely bad special effects even taking into account the time they were produced.
The movie had a lot going against. The plot sounded somewhat lame; man-eating goo from outer space attacks a small town. “Teenager” Steve McQueen was really Twenty-seven years old and looked thirty. It was filmed in color which should have been a plus, but instead showed up many of the flaws in the special effects of the day. Perhaps the most famous, and most popular strike against the film is that instead of the mixture of electronic and orchestral music of most science fiction and horror films title themes it featured a Burt Bacharach “earworm” of a song which almost makes one expect a comedy rather than a real science fiction story. I’ve provided a link to a video of the opening credits with the song below in case you haven’t heard the tune. You really have to hear it in order to understand the reality of it. Somehow the film overcame these hurdles and became one the true classic science fiction films of the period.
The Blob is an alien batch of almost colorless goo that arrives near a small town when a meteor crashes to earth. The substance seems to be harmless at first but it is quickly shown to be something to be avoided. It is not exactly intelligent but it is definitely alive and hungry; absorbing living tissue and growing larger and redder with each new victim. Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut) are among the first to understand the danger that this goo presents, however, they have a hard time making the local police believe this until it is too late. While the film is full of the usual teen stereotypes of movies filmed in the late 50’s, it manages to avoid the pitfalls of many of those films. As long as one keeps in mind the limitation of the special effects of the 50’s and the difference in writing style and social norms as compared to today’s films you will most likely find The Blob a fun and entertaining film to watch.