THE BLOB-United States-86 Mins. 1958
Directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., Russell S. Doughten Jr.(uncredited)
Screenplay by Theodore Simonson and Kate Phillips
Original idea by Irvin H. Millgate
a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship
You would think that a word like “masterpiece” would not apply to an independently produced 1958 sci-fi-horror hybrid about a group of brave teenagers trying valiantly to warn the citizens of a small Pennsylvania town about a gelatinous, spineless mass from outer space that consumes everything in its wake and grows to monstrous proportions.
Oh, but it does apply. But let us ask ourselves why.
Is it because of top-notch (for their time) effects that serve to make the titular creature a terrifying one and not at all laughable?
That would be part of it, yes.
Is it because of strong performances; not only from Steven McQueen (this would be his last role under that forename; after this he was a cool ‘Steve’ until his death in 1980) and Aneta Corseaut (in her debut motion picture role), but also from character actors Steven Chase and Earl Rowe?
You’re getting warmer.
Is it because the film is metaphorical for the horrors of communism and the Cold War? Remember, the blob is defeated by a small army of brave, strong Americans firing ceaselessly at it with CO2 fire extinguishers until it is frozen and subdued and dropped by parachute onto the icy Arctic.
According to the all-seeing, all-knowing, one hundred per cent editable Wikipedia a scriptwriter for The Blob, Rudy Nelson (uncredited) says that this is not the case at all.
Now you’re cold again.
I know; I’ll bet it’s because of that catchy song played over the opening credits.
“Beware of the blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the blob.”
Yes! That would be why.
In my personal and humblest opinion the number one reason that The Blob is a masterpiece of 195o’s sci-fi/horror is because when you combine those top-notch effects, strong performances and catchy song with effective direction and strong writing you get a film that is perfect drive-in movie (or any cinematic venue for that matter) magic. The Blob is Fantastic, Frightening and Fun rolled into one gelatinous mass. Let it consume you; you’ll be glad that you did.
The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide. It was put on display over the years as a part of the annual Blobfest, held over a three-day period each summer in Phoenixville, PA, which provided a number of the shooting locales for the film. In addition to displaying the Blob and miniatures used in the shooting, the event features a reenactment of the famous scene in which panicked theatergoers rush to exit the town’s still-functioning Colonial Theater, as well as several showings of the film.
The strange movie being shown in the theater was not a phony created for this film. It was an actual movie originally released as (Dementia (1955)_. The scenes shown are from the re-cut version titled “Daughter of Horror“, which had narration added. The voice doing the narration is that of Ed McMahon.
The title song “The Blob” was co-written by Burt Bacharach and is on his album “Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection.” Paramount tapped Bacharach and Mack David(brother of Bacharach’s usual writing partner, Hal David) to come up with a non-threatening theme that would prevent the faint of heart from going into nostril-flaring terror during the opening credits. Together they came up with “The Blob,” a goofy musical creature that is one part “Temptation” to two parts “Tequila.” Session singer Bernie Nee does the champagne-cork-popping honors by pulling his finger out of his cheek seven times. Only Ralph Carmichael’s score received a screen credit, giving credence to the notion that the song was a last-minute addition. The Five Blobs turned out to be a phantom group that consisted of Bacharach, a bunch of musicians for hire and Nee, who tracked his voice five times to achieve that Boris Karloff-esque quality.
The monster is referred to as “the mass” in the shooting script.
Partially filmed in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The theater everyone is seen running from is the Colonial Theater.
Film debut of Aneta Corsaut.
Steven McQueen also appears in Papillon and The Towering Inferno.
Aneta Corseaut also appears in The Toolbox Murders.
Steven Chase also appears in When Worlds Collide and The Buccaneer.