Dec. 15, 2005
The Blob (1988)
Grade: 61/100

Director: Chuck Russell
Stars: Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch

What it's about. This remake of the 1958 B-movie camp classic improves upon the original. A government conspiracy and a surprising change of leads are added twists, and the suspense and special effects sure beat the low budget original.

Basically, though, the premise is the same. A hungry pink blob monster eats people, and gets bigger and more dangerous all the time. No, it's not about Wal-Mart.

How others will see it. A lot of people like teen horror movies. These are theoretically aimed at teenagers, but anyone deeply cynical by nature (or training) can enjoy them, too. Most of them aren't good, of course, since they reek of formula, and the mix of sick humor, grisly horror, and gripping suspense isn't proper. The latter quality is the most desirable, partly because humor so often misfires.

Fortunately, with The Blob, you'll laugh and you'll scream (if you're susceptible to that sort of thing) in all the right places. This is the hallmark of an above average teen horror movie. Compared to the original, only Steve McQueen's deadpan earnestness is missed. His alter ego in the remake is Paul (Donovan Leitch, son of sixties flower child singer Donovan), and he barely makes it past the first reel.

How I felt about it. Although defiant in some areas, The Blob is not unusual for a teen horror movie. The genre was launched by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), which defined the rules. The prettiest girl lives, especially if she doesn't sleep with anyone, even though she has to do a formidable amount of screaming, running, and fighting back.

The Blob retains this tradition, and also conforms to the original by giving her a new boyfriend to hang out with. We think it will be Donovan Leitch, but the director pulls a fast one, and it is bad boy biker Kevin Dillon who fills the shoes.

Hottie Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) has more than just her own scrumptious skin to save, since little brother Kevin (Michael Kenworthy) must be rescued, on occasion, in addition to Dillon, who doesn't really get into this Save Humanity business until he learns that 'authority figures' are the conspiracy behind it.

The Blob fades a bit toward the end. There's one or two many episodes of Blob versus lead, which the lead seems predestined to escape. And a post-climax that sets the stage for The Blob II (3?), which probably would have happened if the present film had done better in theaters. Alas, the Child's Play series proved more prolific.

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