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Feature


A mysterious creature from another planet, resembling a giant blob of jelly, arrives on earth enclosed in a meteor. After attaching itself to a man's hand and soon devouring him whole, the people of the nearby small town refuse to listen to some teenagers (one of which is a not so young Steve McQueen) who have witnessed the blob's destructive power. In the meantime, the blob just keeps on getting bigger.

 Blob, The
From its light and breezy opening theme song, The Blob knows it's kinda silly. Even it's chirpy theme song from the writing of Burt Bacharach is a crazy fit for what is essentially a horror film.  Despite all that silliness The Blob is still literally the best example of a B-movie that made it big. The leading man who would go on to make classics, the goofy cheap monster that works because of its simplicity and some special effects that push the eras limits and in full colour too. This is B-movie heaven and you can see why films like Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Tremors, to name but a few have taken so much from it's blueprint.

Made in 1958,  Steve (though billed as Steven) McQueen was 27 when playing this American teen and actually looks older than 27 but he's a fun lead, playing it as straight as possible but with a knowing glint of fun in his eyes. McQueen's classic status in Hollywood makes this an interesting watch, given where he went after The Blob, but even given his wide eyed obvious leading man presence, it's still the film's bad guy that walks away with the film.

It's very easy to love The Blob. It's super goofy, very hammy in its plot and dialogue but somehow the blob itself remains scary at all times. Its hard to explain why, given it just sort of throbs and rolls around and grows but there's something really creepy about that killer jelly. Even when a seemingly perfectly safe nurse and doctor have ample room to just move away from the throbbing, yet rather still blob of goo, I still accept they manage to end up gobbled up by the slow moving mass. I shouldn't, it's dumb but through the silliness the the director still let's in enough creepiness to make this all a genuinely scary threat.

Despite everything telling us this is bloody stupid, I still think The Blob works entirely. it shouldn't, at all but it's small town scale and slow escalation to its total underwhelming and still pretty lifeless blob climax all manages to work, even six decades later.

 Blob, The

Video


The Blob is a strange looking beast if you line it up against modern cinema. There's the obvious technicolor-style colouring, which gives skin tones and most other things an orangey tint and there's a certain softness to the whole affair which comes with the film's age and budget. Also despite some great enhancements on edges and detail there's a gauze of grain that gives the whole thing a kind of dirty appearance, despite its all round bright, clean and sharp looks.

The lighting enhancements here adds a wonderful glow to everything. That seemingly constant orange light on everything, no matter how dark the night is brings a whole new lease of life to this old classic as does the boost in primary colours, especially in McQueen's blue car and his striking blue eyes.

Close ups on faces show the most marked improvement, with some great textures and clean, sharp edges but most often wider shots slip into softness and highlights the limitations of the print. Black levels are strong and the dark blue tinted minimal backdrops can often look more defined than they ever have before. Of course the grain wont be for all. It's good it hasn't been washed out with digital scrubbing but it does feel a little separate from the image at times, like its a layer in front of the actual image and it sometimes takes away from the sharp, bright image below with the grittier look it creates.

 Blob, The

Audio


The audio track is small and has a coming and going hiss to it at times, especially with some of the dialogue but it's otherwise quite clear and extremely central due to the Mono recording. The score is a little shrieky in higher pitches but supports the film as well as ever and most of the sound effects sound a little muffled or confined to the back of the ageing recording.

At the end of it, The Blob is nearly sixty years old and made on a tiny budget. The audio sounds exactly as it should and while the paragraph above sounds negative, it's never terrible and the track was cleaner than I expected it to be with an obvious clean up involved. Despite its minimal failings it's all part of the experience and there's really not a lot to complain about unless you were expecting some sort of miracle.

 Blob, The

Extra


Well this classic features just a trailer and some galleries. Super disappointing right?

 Blob, The

Overall


I love The Blob. It's goofy and never attempts to explain itself too much and stays pretty straight faced throughout, even when it's characters are doing the dumbest of things. It's scary but never extreme and of course most of the real nasty stuff is happening off screen but somehow this makes the blob itself a lot more menacing.

This re-watch on Blu-ray is by no means a spectacular presentation but it's a noticeable improvement on previous releases. It's not across the board but colours and edges are great for the most part and the audio is clear albeit there's no escaping the inherent hiss to certain segments. Sadly none of this is backed up with any worthwhile extras, so The Blob winds up being a bit of a non-event on Blu-ray. Maybe we'll see something in a few years for the big 60th Anniversary.
 Blob, The

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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