THE BLOB - 1988
Columbia Tri-Star Pictures
Rated: Argentina, Spain: 13 / Australia: M / Finland: K-14 / Germany: 16
/ Norway, Sweden, UK: 15 / Peru: 14 / Portugal: M/12 / USA: PG-13
This is incredible. I've apparently been gifted with the power to predict the
future! For the last 95 minutes I knew exactly what everyone was going
to say before they said it. Here is my amazing story.
THE BLOB, a 1988 remake of the 1958 Steve McQueen classic, was directed by Chuck
Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE MASK, BLESS THE CHILD, THE
SCORPION KING). The screenplay is by Mr. Russell and Frank
Darabont (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE
FLY II, THE
GREEN MILE), based on the screenplay of the original by Theodore
Simonsen (4D MAN) and Kate Phillips (aka Kay Linaker). Irving H. Millgate had a story credit on the 1958
original so he has one here too.
We open with a small town high school football game. Star player Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) and cheerleader Meg Penny (Shawnee
Smith: CARNIVAL OF SOULS, THE SHINING [TV], ARMAGEDDON) make eyes at each other and Paul's buddy Scott (Ricky Paull Goldin: PIRANHA II, HYPER SAPIEN) goads Paul into finally asking Meg out. I believe the football team was the Fighting Clichés.
Nearby, misunderstood bad boy rebel Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon) sits on his standard issue motorcycle wearing his standard issue leather jacket (how else would you know he's bad?).
He drinks a beer, smokes a cigarette and looks intense, then makes a failed
attempt to jump his bike over a collapsed bridge, much to the amusement
of a local transient (Billy Beck: NEAR DARK, LEPRECHAUN 2).
Do we see the blob yet? No, we need more exposition first, so we meet a bunch of
other characters including Herb, the Sheriff (Jeffery DeMunn: THE
GREEN MILE, STORM OF THE CENTURY [TV], THE X-FILES),
Fran the waitress (Candy Clark: CAT'S EYE, AMITYVILLE 3-D, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER),
Reverend Meeker (Del Close: BEWARE! THE BLOB)
and deputy Briggs (Paul McCrane: ROBOCOP,
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) and a variety of others but I may have
fallen asleep during this part.
The bum entertained by bad boy Brian's fall is the one who sees the really bad
special effect meteor land in the woods. He approaches cautiously and
does what anyone would do in that situation: he pokes it with a stick.
The goopy mass inside crawls up the stick to the poor old guy's hand.
He runs screaming and attracts the attention of both Brian (in the woods, late at night, fixing his motorcycle) and Paul and Meg driving along on their first date.
Brian and Paul don't like each other, of course, and toss heated clichés
back and forth while driving the old man to the hospital. When faced with
a cliché bad hospital nurse (played by comic Margaret Smith) Brian has had enough and leaves, which makes him
a natural first suspect when people in the hospital are killed soon after
by the now much larger blob. How did he kill these people and leave behind
just a few corroded body parts? Did he have a vat of acid in his back
pocket? Deputy Briggs can't be bothered with those details. Brian is the
bad boy therefore he must be guilty.
The blob proceeds to flow around town, consuming random individuals. One of the
more memorable involves Paul's pal Scott and his girlfriend Vicki (Erika
Eleniak: BORDELLO OF BLOOD). At one point Vicki is supposed to
be dead - eaten out from the inside by the sneaky blob - but her boyfriend
doesn't realize until it's too late. The memorable part is watching dead
Vicki's eyes move.
There's one more character that must be mentioned, which will lead to the 80's
twist on this remake. A creature like this couldn't simply be some random
invader from space. A monster in 80's / 90's / 2000's movie world MUST be a product of an experiment gone wrong being done by:
a) An EVIL Corporation
b) An EVIL Government Agency
c) An EVIL Corporation under contract to an EVIL Government Agency
The answer this time is "b", although in movies like this they're pretty interchangeable.
Dr. Meaddows (Joe Seneca: CROSSROADS) and his evil crew of armed thugs show up in moon suits. Why? The only way to explain that is with a
The explanation given here is that the blob is a single huge bacterium
and the meteor wasn't a meteor but a crashed government satellite. How
did the bacteria get so big? By being "exposed to space." Now
in 1958, when only a couple of satellites had orbited and space was
still very mysterious, maybe you could get away with that. But in 1988
it was the commonest of knowledge that the only thing that happens to
bacteria "exposed to space" is that they die.
Speaking of 1958, the original THE BLOB was pretty hokey, but far more entertaining
and better acted. The acting here is annoyingly bad and the dialogue so
mindlessly cliché- ridden that I can't find the mental energy to
describe my opinion of this movie with anything other than a cliché: It sucked.
I give it one shriek girl.
copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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