There’s some important lessons to be learned from The Blob.
A meteorite crashes on Earth and some hobo out in the woods finds the Jell-O oozing forth from the piping hot space rock. A chain of events ensues where in a little puddle of goo eventually absorbs everything it can, growing larger and larger…
This film also marked the film debut of one Mr. Steve McQueen.
There’s a few things The Blob teaches us. I like to think of them as common sense instructions in case of a meteorite from space crashing in your back yard.
#1: DON’T POKE THINGS — ESPECIALLY THINGS FROM OUTER SPACE — WITH A STICK
So, Mr. Hobo From The Woods ventures out into his front yard, sees the strawberry Jell-O pouring out of the little rock and promptly pokes it with a stick. Blobbiness oozes up the stick and on to his arm, eventually eating him whole even after a doctor tries to intervene. On a personal note: If I saw a gelatinous mass pouring out of a rock that crashed from the sky, my instinct would not be to think, “Hmm, I think I’ll pick up a stick and give it the old poke-poke”, but rather, “Run away! RUN AWAY!” That could just be me, though.
#2: FOR GOD’S SAKE, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, (WO)MAN
The town doctor begins to realize something strange might… you know… be up when The Blob begins to munch on Mr. Hobo From The Woods’ arm and take over the rest of his body. He calls in his trusty nurse, Kate, who discovers that — gasp — the Blob has eaten poor old Mr. Hobo and is sitting on the floor all…blob-like. Immediately, she begins to freak out way, way more than one person should and while the doctor implores her to stay calm and “stay still”, she proceeds to act like a caged bobcat and freak the hell out. Good job, Nurse Kate, ’cause that’s what gets you eaten.
(And the poor old doctor.)
#3: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS, LOUDMOUTH
After Steve McQueen witnesses the absorption of the doctor, he runs and tells the cops who pretty much just mock him endlessly and/or are consistently convinced that old Steve’s trying to pull a fast one on ’em. While the cops are busy reluctantly searching the doc’s office, the Blob moseys itself on over to some random mechanic’s shop. As one guy works under the car, he runs his mouth incessantly about anything and everything, which means he’s not paying attention when the Blob gets all blobby up behind him and totally eats his head.
#4: THE KIDS AREN’T ALRIGHT…SO SHUT UP AND LISTEN
God, adults are stupid, aren’t they? No matter how many times badass Steve McQueen tells the adults in town that there’s a MONSTER! FROM SPACE! AND IT’S GOING TO EAT EVERYONE!… all the adults do is laugh and/or act furiously angry, like, “You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’, young man!”
Even after 40 people disappear, the adults in town are all standing around as if they’re going, “You crazy kids are just pulling one big prank on us! Geez Louise, will ya cut it out already!”
Maybe you should pay attention to that whole “monster” speech, adults.
#5: KNOWING HOW TO OPERATE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS IMPORTANT
If there’s one weakness that an enormous gob of goo from outer space has, it’s totally CO2. That’s right; that stuff you find in everyday fire extinguishers is downright toxic to The Blob because it’s cold. Somehow, the townspeople dredge up about 8,000 fire extinguishers to spray on The Blob, but every single townsperson seems to have a very good grasp of how fire extinguishers work. I guess they received top notch training in fire safety at the local elementary school?
#6: THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING
The end is tidily wrapped up with the townspeople valiantly hosing down the Blob with CO2 while the local police chief calls in the Air Force to somehow magically airlift The Blob to whereabouts unknown. Apparently, the Air Force comes up with the brilliant idea to drop this thing at one of the poles, as we’re shown a final shot of what looks like one of those Mercury space capsules dropping into an icy wasteland. Sure, it looks like a Mercury capsule, but it’s actually The Blob, duh.
You know, I really loved The Blob. It was cheesy; it was campy; but it was was made in such earnestness that you can’t help but really like it. Steve McQueen actually does a pretty good job, given the script and low budget, and it’s your typical ’50’s drive-in fare. If I ever could open a drive-in theater, my grand opening would see The Blob and The Tingler screened back to back.
I was shocked to discover I’d seen the ’80’s version of The Blob but not the original; I think it’s safe to say the original is far, far better.
(Sheesh, I’m really starting to love me some Steve McQueen, man.)
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