mon 08/08/2022

DVD: The Blob | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Blob

DVD: The Blob

Surprisingly tense monster-from-space film which marked Steve McQueen’s lead debut

Steve McQueen (centre) assesses the first victim in 'The Blob'

Retrospectively, two things help The Blob stand apart from the glut of late-Fifties aliens-invade-small-town-America science fiction films. It gave Steve McQueen his first starring role and its theme tune was an early Burt Bacharach co-write. Either of these – or even both together – are probably not enough to make the 1958 regional independent production into a classic piece of American cinema. But it is pretty good.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania a courting couple – the male half of which is McQueen, playing “Steve” – are smooching in an open-top car. Coming back from their close encounter they find an old-timer. He’s been messing with a meteorite and has something which looks like a blister on his hand. They take him to the local doctor. The Blob has claimed its first victim. “I don’t know what it is or where it came from,” says the doctor of the affliction. In time, the alien invader grows and grows, claiming more and more victims. It is defeated by something as banal and day-to-day as the monster’s cheap realisation – the special effects budget must have been tiny.

Despite the jaunty theme, caricature juvenile delinquents, a knock-off of the Rebel Without a Cause car race, clunky dialogue and wooden acting, including McQueen, looking the ten years older he was than the teenage character he played – The Blob (initially titled The Molten Meteor) actually acquits itself well. The tone is surprisingly serious and the tension is racked up. It isn't camp and, in common with many other films of this nature, is easily interpreted as a reflection of America’s reds-under-the-bed fixation. Director Irvin Yeaworth was a Pennsylvania-based German émigré behind other exploitation films (The Flaming Teen-age and Dinosaurus! among them) who also designed a theme park, made educational films and worked in radio. In a well-funded, Hollywood setting, he could easily have made even more striking films. The night work in the film is impressive and atmospheric. It's more spontaneous than the knowingly stilted 1988 remake

This is the first UK appearance on Blu-ray. The package includes photo galleries and the trailer. Approach with a straight face and The Blob won’t disappoint.

Overleaf: Watch the trailer for The Blob

Watch the trailer for The Blob

 

'The Blob' is easily interpreted as a reflection of America’s reds-under-the-bed fixation

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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