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I've been threatening to do this for a while now and I suppose it is time. Despite me swearing that I'd never force myself to sit th...

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Blob (1988)

There aren’t many remakes that are worthy successors to the originals, but this is one of them. We meet the inhabitants of a small town including our main characters of the bad boy, Brian Flagg, and the pretty cheerleader, Meg Penny. We get to watch them go about their lives with Meg cheering on the high school football team and going on a date with Paul. Brian gets hassled by the cops and rides his motorcycle around. Meg even has a preteen little brother who sneaks out to see a movie he shouldn’t. When a homeless man pokes an asteroid, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the military descending on the town and quarantining them.

See it wasn’t actually an asteroid that crashed in the woods. It was a biological warfare experiment and is now getting out of hand. The Blob is basically an eating machine consuming anything living, including the locals, and growing bigger after each meal. At first no one believes Meg, including Brian, but soon enough it is impossible to ignore. How do you stop a monster like this? Well, I’m not going to ruin it for you. But then I would expect that you have either seen this or the original, so you probably already know.

This is how you do a proper remake. You take inspiration from the original and respect it but don’t do a shot for shot clone like the Psycho remake. Nor do you ignore what made the original such a good flick and wreck it like Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. Instead, you remind folks of what was cool and then lean into what you can do that it couldn’t. Here we get to see familiar takes on the diner, the theater, and the old guy kicking things off with some foolish poking it with a stick action. There was something familiar about this that put a smile on my face.

The magnificent '80s mullet
Overall the pacing is solid with not a slow moment in the ninety or so minute runtime. They establish what is happening with a bit of humor. Meg’s dad being the pharmacist was a goofy but cool laugh before the horror starts. But once they get to the creature it is one kill after the other with just enough plot development to make you care about the soon to be blob victims. Not only is this a remake done right but this is a perfectly executed creature feature. The cast is great including Kevin Dillon as Brian. He has the most luxurious of mullets. A pre Saw Shawnee Smith is Meg and does a good job in the role. Young actor Michael Kenworthy is the little brother and plays basically the same role in another movie also made in eighty eight, Return of the Living Dead II.

But here is where they up the ante with The Blob remake. We get a ton of cool creature effects and some nasty kills. The blob oozes around the town eating anyone it finds in some gruesome ways. People get melted on screen with their bones exposed and flesh dripping off. Someone gets yanked down a sink drain headfirst, an annoying theater goer is yanked by the face up to the ceiling, there are collapsing boobs, and a meat sack sheriff too. Though my favorite kill has to be the bent backwards deputy. That one has always stuck with me.

The effects and kills are a blast!
I also dug that they doubled down on switching it up and surprising the audience with some of the plot choices. First up they killed off the character that looked to be the love interest in the most horrific of ways. Yeah, he has an arm off! Hell, they even kill a damn kid including his half empty skull popping up out at the audience. These are very eighties things that were available to the filmmakers and almost expected from that gooiest of decades that simply couldn’t have happened in the fifties.

I loved this movie when I first rented it back in the day and while there are a couple greenscreen shots that don’t hold up the practical effects work and kills are top notch. The cast is fun, and the story perfectly executed. I highly recommend everyone give this one a watch.

 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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