1/13/2017

B-Movie : The Blob (1958)

Fig.1 Banner
'The Blob' is a classic horror B-Movie from 1958 directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., Russell S. Doughten Jr. that tells the story of an extraterrestrial event occurring in small Pennsylvania town. The plot is pretty simple and it's being repeated over and over in all the consequential remakes ever since: a gelatinous goo devours everything in it's path, thus growing bigger and bigger.

  'The Blob is both a typical low-budget film of its era and unusually bold: its use of colour and simple special effects are highly effective, and the title monster is all the more watchable because of its simplicity'(Lambie, 2015) I'ts an unusual sci-fi horror, that challenges the public of it's time.The first thing that categorises this film as B-Movie is the stock sound we hear whilst the fall of the meteor just outside the town. It's a very familiar and often used sound effect of something falling. The fact that it's so familiar, alienates it. It feels as if it isn't part of the universe.  It's very common thing for low budged productions to use one and the same sound effect, which make the public familiar with it The downfall of it is that upon hearing that sound it's being associated with  every other film it was used in. Regardless, it still managed to pay off all the investments, as it's one of the most successful sci-fi movies of the 50s.

Interesting fact is that 'The Blob' is actually based on a police report from the 50's when two Philadelphia police officers see a large, sparkly object fly to the earth. They traced where it could've fallen and went to check it out. 'The cops described it as “purple jelly” that was approximately six feet in diameter, about a foot high at the apex'(Mckendry, 2015). According to them the mass was a living organism, as it continuously changed. One of the police officers took handful of the substance and it instantly glued to his hand. Few years later, the producer Jack H. Harris, was looking for inspiration for a monster movie he wanted to create. He asked his friend, Irvine H. Millgate, for some ideas, telling him of specific vision Harris had. He wanted to make a film never done or seen before, so he didn't want just any idea. Millgate remmebered the article from few years back of the two Philadephia policeman and thus the monster of Harri's vision was born.

In the film, instead of two cops, an old farmer finds the blob, ending up with part of the mass on his hand. The other two witnesses are two teenagers, Steve (Steve McQueen)n and Jane (Aneta Corsaut). The find the old man and bring him to the town doctor for help, which brings us to the two victims of the blob and it's first small-form appearance. After the two teens leave the hospital, the nurse and the doctor try to help out the poor old man, wondering how to get rid of the odd substance, but suddenly he dissapears, and the nurse sees the strange red blob in front of her. Hers and the doctor's struggle to harm the moving ball of jelly, prove futile they end up as it's food. 'It simply wants to consume - whether it's drunken old men or cinema-going teenagers - until there's nothing left.' (Lambie, 2015).

Fig.2 Movie Still the Blob is about to eat the nurse

Even for a B-movie, for the audience back then it's rather refreshing production. It's a horror in full colour with actual believable characters. There is some kind of dynamic and development of a very simple story with the conflict between the teens and the authority, giving realistic touch to the whole ridiculousness with the monster that's chasing them. Around that period the teenagers were often seen as rebels who do what they want, and the movies about them were often idolised as the perfect realistic fairy tales for young love and adventure. The things adults want to experience at younger age, but can't anymore. The classical Disney-like soundtrack in the film, somehow also adds up to the 'fairy tale' idea. Another thing that supports the idea of 'adults experiencing second youth' through the teen movies is the fact that the actors look 10 years older than an actual teenager.

Harris envisions :"And the method of killing the monster would have to be something that grandma could have cooked up on her stove.” doesn't exactly happen. It takes place in the town diner and the town folk try to fry the monster, but they quickly realise it doesn't help. Whilst trapped inside the dinner Steve tries to stop the fire inside when some of the fire distinguishes makes contact with the blob. He realises that instead of cooking it, freezing it will be more helpful. He quickly contacts the police officers and tells them of his discovery. Everyone grabs one and alltogether they freeze the blob. As dull and cheesy the ending appears, for a B-movie it's quite an interesting solution.

Fig. 3 Movie Still Everyone run away from the movie theatre upon seeing the Blob.




Illustrations------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  • Fig.1 Banner URL: http://horrorgoreandmore.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Blob_3.jpg (accessed on 18.12.2016)
  • Fig.2 Movie Still URL: https://31nightsofhorror.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/the-blob-1958-1.jpg (accessed on 18.12.2016)
  • Fig.3 Movie Still URL: http://www.coolidge.org/sites/default/files/images/banners/the-blob_banner.jpg (accessed on 18.12.2016)


Bibliography----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  • IMDb URL http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051418/ (accessed on 18.12.2016)
  • Lambie, Ryan, 2015, The strange History of the Blob Movies, URL: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/the-blob/243202/the-strange-history-of-the-blob-movies (accessed on 12.01.2017)
  • Mckendry, Rebekah, The Movie THE BLOB is Based on a Supposedly True Event: Read the Real Story Behind this Classic Film, URL: http://www.blumhouse.com/2015/10/21/the-movie-the-blob-is-based-on-a-supposedly-true-event-read-the-real-story-behind-this-classic-film/ (accessed on 12.01.2017)




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