Release Date(s)1988 (October 14, 2014)
Studio(s)TriStar Pictures (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
If you’re going to remake The Blob, the first thing any filmmaker needs to do is embrace the inherent absurdity of the original. Most 50s horror/sci-fi movies were at least a little bit goofy. But we’re talking about a movie that actually starts with a jaunty calypso ear-worm of a title song. You can’t tell me that producer Jack H. Harris was taking this entirely seriously.
Fortunately, Chuck Russell proved to be the ideal director for the job, creating a terrifically entertaining movie that routinely shows up on lists of horror remakes that don’t suck alongside The Thing and The Fly. Russell and co-writer Frank Darabont crafted a smart, clever script that keeps audiences on their toes with a number of sharp, unexpected turns. The tone is kept light by the great cast, led by Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith. Russell peppers the supporting cast with familiar character actors including Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark, Paul McCrane and Art LaFleur. Best of all is legendary improv guru Del Close as Reverend Meeker, one of Close’s relatively rare movie roles that amounts to more than a cameo. (Jack Nance also pops up briefly in a role that doesn’t amount to much more than a cameo but it’s always a treat to see Jack.)
Russell and his effects team are also smart enough to realize that being melted to death by an enormous, translucent mound of goo would be a particularly messy way to go and they don’t shy away from the gory details. The effects are gruesome, occasionally surreal and yet another example of the effectiveness of good old practical effects. And while Russell keeps the proceedings light and fun, he resists the urge to turn the movie into a full-on comedy. Just because a threat is kind of ridiculous doesn’t make it any less of a threat. Russell’s movie never winks at the audience. When it’s supposed to be scary, it gets right down to business.
Anticipating a lot of excitement over this release, Twilight Time upped its usual 3,000 unit limit to 5,000. Hopefully you got in on that action because it still sold out fairly quickly. The disc looks pretty good, perhaps a little softer than I was expecting but still very clean and faithful to the source. Audio quality is excellent with the squishy sound effects coming to life in an impressive 5.1 DTS-HD mix. In addition to their usual isolated score track and booklet, Twilight Time recorded a new audio commentary with Chuck Russell and Ryan Turek of ShockTillYouDrop.com. It’s a fantastic track, loaded with information and stories about the production. Turek is also on hand, along with colleague Joshua Miller, to moderate a Q&A with Russell at a screening for the Friday Night Frights series at Los Angeles’ The Cinefamily that runs about 18 minutes. The disc also includes two trailers. Not a ton of extras but at least what’s here is well done.
I often hear The Blob referred to as a guilty pleasure, presumably because nobody in their right mind should actually enjoy a movie called The Blob. For me, there’s no guilt and all pleasure. The Blob is nothing more than a well-made monster movie with killer special effects and a refreshing sense of humor. This movie isn’t going to change the world but it’s nothing to look down your nose at, either.
- Adam Jahnke
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