Remake Vs Original – The Blob
By: Justin Hopkins
Spent a lot of time thinking about what to go with for this round. There is plenty to pick from. If you listen, all Hollywood can do anymore is remakes. Having nothing original to come up with. Surely though, the remake trend couldn’t have been a 1988’s cult classic, The Blob. A personal favorite of mine, staring young up-comer Shawnee Smith with some of the best and goriest deaths that put some of this decade’s horror to shame and, surprise, surprise; it is a remake of an other cult classic from 1958, also known as The Blob. A movie staring a young Steve McQueen, about an all devouring mass from Outer Space. So, we have our contestants, now which Blob will eat the other and slither away to take over the world as the one true alien substance. Lets delve in and find out shall we. As always, we start with the original.
THE BLOB 1958
The Blob Directed by Irvin Yeaworth and Russell Doughten opens up at a regular night in a small town. With a guy, Steve (Steve McQueen), out on a date with Jane (Aneta Corseaut). After a little bit of a misunderstanding on why they were parked. A shooting star got their attention and raced off to find where it landed. While an old man beat them to it though. Getting his hand covered in the mysterious goo that came out of the rock. In his panicked flee, runs into Steve and Jane. Who proceed to rush him to the town Doctor. After a little bit of a distraction, Steve and Jane, along with his friends, return to where they found the old man. Attempting to find something that will explain what the growth on his hand is. finding the shooting star and the old man’s puppy, but nothing else. Deciding to return to the doctors. Unaware that The Blob has been busy. Devouring the old man entirely and Nurse Kate, and then the Doctor. Steve made it in time to see it happen, and race to the police for help. When they come back though, they don’t find any signs of the monster, or the Doctor, and an old lady there to give the Doctor a reasonable excuse for not being there, and the mess must have been an act of vandalism and here is where things begin to roll. Steve and Jane start out on a mad adventure through town trying to find and make people believe them and then try to find a way to stop it before there is no town left to save.
I thought this would be hard movie to review. Being one of the oldest movies I have seen ( Fifty one years old, in two days) I tried to take myself back toward that time. Where things I would think are cliche are not so much and back to that style of filming, but fortunately this movie has really stood up against the test of time. The acting, could be a bit cheesy at times, but pretty solid. They had a pretty solid line-up held up by a good performance from Steve McQueen. He was twenty seven, and may not have been the most believable of teens, but definitely played up the heroic type well. Carried the audience along with the ride, of fear, doubt, and heroism a long the way. Aneta Corsaut made for the perfect supporting character as Jane. She may not have had much to do, but was endearing enough to make her likable. Bert, Richie and Dave made up the police force. Pretty much good cop and bad cop, in Dave and Bert, Bert being bad, but by the end, he stopped dragging his feet and got fully invested. Tony, Mooch, and Al ( I believe was the third) were solid as Steve’s friend’s who I will talk more about during the end scene.
I was actually dreading what the special effects may have been for this film, but wow was that the shocking surprise. It wasn’t the best, but it was really good. They did the best they could with what they had and the final product was both fun and worked for what they were going for. Now, lets talk a bit about the ending. I loved this ending. Where all of the characters you have meet and volunteers throughout the town come together to try and stop the blob. Tony, Mooch, and Al showing their best work here, and wish we would come back to this style a little bit more. You get one or two at the most fighting off an impossibly strong entity, and seeing a town unite to do it in this, just gave me a good feeling inside, and kind of wish we had one end like that today. Big points to them.
This movie was not without it’s flaws however. Not a lot of it is their fault but still works against them. A lot of the kills were not shown. Dave makes a comment that it must have taken out 40 to 50, but doesn’t feel like it could have been nearly as much. Wished we could have seen more of The Blob. I get that it was probably difficult to do, but a little more would have gone a long way. Could only take them reacting to something off screen so much. In the same radio conversation Dave had. He is talking to the military about it being to big, meanwhile, they are in the process of shrinking it to get it off the diner and free those trapped inside and this goes to the time a little, but had Aneta had more to do. Would have added a lot more to her character. Final Grade – B
THE BLOB 1988
This movie had a lot of similarities to its predecessor. Directed by Chuck Russel. From the movie theater scene, freezer and diner, but walked it’s own path as well. Starting from the beginning. We have scenes blending where we see Paul playing football and Meg is a cheerleader. While Flagg is a troubled outcast. Attempting to jump his bike over a broken bridge and homeless old man clapping his wreck, but in a joking way. We meet the mechanic and Sheriff Herb and the owner of the Diner. We get to know them so their pending deaths will matter and that is important. The Blob still comes from space, but this time, is a government creation and it is so much more viscous then ’58. Changing from them trying to warn people to survival and danger around every corner, pipe, and everywhere else it could squeeze into. Ramping up on the suspense. Enjoyed the foreshadowing they did at the start. With the Snowmaker and her brother’s jacket. Giving us a redemption story on top, as Flagg has to do a bit of soul searching and step up to the plate and be a hero, and the condom joke is still hilarious.
Casting wise was again, spot on. Shawnee Smith was stellar in her rule her. Being more then a damsel in distress. She really takes the reign her and was involved heavily throughout. Her trying to save her brother and brother’s friend in the sewer and right in the middle of the finale, perked on a truck and firing at the blob to get its attention. Sight that should be a GIF immediately. Kevin Dillion as Brian Flagg was memorable. He was coy and cocky, but blended him with a heart of gold expertly. Wondering how much of his real self was on display. Could just go down the list on everyone. They all shone, and made themselves standout in some way. Will add one more though, and that being Joe Seneca’s Dr. Meadows. Hard to play a villain opposite of The Blob, but he was such a heinous, evil man. Look on his face as he is trying to get the town to kill Flagg was more then enough to cheer on his demise.
Carnage Candy fans can rejoice, cause this movie had your fill. Right away you get the have mutilated corpse of the homeless man that is immediately trumped by The Blob devouring poor Paul right down in a bloody over the top way sets the tone for things to come and doesn’t ever let up. Everyone who worked in props and special effects deserves the highest of praise because they knocked it right out of the park on this movie. It was amazing, just simply amazing the work and effort and looked outstanding. The eighties did gory the best and this should always be a top contender for the best.
The ending is kind of the same. Where you get the town together still kind of happened, but not quite the same effect. As they were trying to barricade City Hall, leaving Meg and Flagg to fight it with their new found knowledge of using cold. It’s going to get docked slightly, but not much because Shawnee shined so brightly in this part that she saved it.
Now for the negatives, and I only got one. Was not a fan of the government stuff. Only because I really liked the unknown factor. That it came from somewhere in space and who knows what else could be out there. Giving it a background story just seemed bland. Especially, a government weapon. Would have been better had they been tracking it via satellite and that is how they reacted so quickly. Small nitpick that didn’t effect my immersion. Final Grade – A
WINNER – The remake
This came down to a few variables. One their abilities with special effects were so much better in 1988. They were able to do so much more and go so much more gory then they were back then and it helped tremendously. Another was judging between actors. Steve McQueen is a legend, but the tandem of Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillion was better. They had great onscreen chemistry. Both shined throughout and felt like they were in this situation together. By no means does this make the original inferior. If you haven’t seen it give it a watch. You’ll have a good time, but between the actors and the special effects, winner had to go to the remake.
Thank you for reading