Sci-Fi Nerd: Commentary, reflection and accolades from a fan’s point of view on all things sci-fi and fantasy on a daily schedule of themes:
Modern Classics Monday
Throwback Thursday, and
An alien visit of a different sort was the subject of this surprise hit science fiction/horror B movie classic.
This film was originally planned as being part of a matinee/drive-in double bill, but was quickly promoted to be a feature film after enjoying an enthusiastic response from audiences at the time. It is memorable for being the first movie ever for a young aspiring actor named Steve McQueen, who was later destined to become a huge movie star.
The plot is simple: it involves a meteor crashing to earth just outside of the small rural community of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It contains a unique alien entity distinctive for being a formless blob, with the appearance of being a mass of thick, semi-transparent, gelatinous material with the ability to move and ooze itself in any chosen direction, it shows no sign of intelligence but only seems to have the relentless, single-minded purpose of consuming living creatures which it envelops and dissolves inside its slimy embrace. The creature grows larger with each life it consumes, seems impervious to attacks meant to kill it, and takes on an increasingly reddish tint with every meal. A simple basis for a story, but enough to become a premise that was used as a blueprint for a great many films after its creation. Nothing’s as scary as people being reduced to prey for a seemingly unstoppable and relentless predator. The film also holds the distinction of being among the earliest examples of movies that were aimed at the newly acknowledged teenage demographic.
The meteor’s arrival is witnessed by local period teenagers Steve Anderson (McQueen) and his girlfriend Jane Martin (Aneta Corset), who are out for drive, and are at the local lover’s lane. Steve decides to see if they can find it, but the meteor is discovered first by an old man who lives near the crash site where the meteor has opened and the creature emerges from inside it. Steve and his girlfriend nearly run the old timer over after he has been attacked by the shapeless horror that has attached itself to his arm. They decide to take him to the home of a doctor who lives near by. It kills the old man, the doctor, and his nurse. Steve and Jane escape and return to town to inform the authorities of what has occurred. After bumping off this first buffet of several living creatures it encounters, the creature makes its way into town and eventually invades a late screening of a horror movie (what else?) at the local theater. This creates one of the movie’s most iconic scenes depicting panicked movie goers fleeing the theater in terror.
After several more attacks and the resulting deaths that occur from encountering the insatiable creature, it is eventually discovered by Steve the alien is vulnerable to cold and avoids it when possible. Steve and a group of his teenaged friends arm themselves with fire extinguishers and finally subdue the creature’s onslaught with frigid gas from the devices. At this point the army takes charge and transports the creature to the arctic where, even though it is not dead, it hopefully cannot cause any further harm to human life. The movie’s famous ending is the portrayal of a large question mark designed to raise the question “is this really the end?”
Also of interest:
[The Blob’s cult following is alive and well in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where The Colonial Theatre is located. A yearly celebration named BlobFest features a reenactment of the crowd fleeing The Colonial as well as double feature screenings of The Blob paired with sci-fi creature feature classics. There was a remake made in 1988, thirty years after the original.]
The film had a catchy song written for it: