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The Blob (1988)

I think I have finally found the perfect movie for parents to introduce their children into horror with 'The Blob'. It's not scary, it’s free from sex and nudity and other than the occasional use of mild profanity, the only thing that would be a concern is it has such a wildly creative use of practical effects and gore that some parents may be slightly cautious about. I can certainly understand why this didn't do very well critically upon release if this was marketed as a genuine horror film, however, I would by lying if I didn't say I had a fun time watching it. Coming out in the golden era of practical effects - right before CGI was heavily introduced into Hollywood - the visual effects work is a rather mixed bag, featuring some questionable green screen work and some noticeably dated stop motion animation. Surprisingly, the first on screen death we see of Paul (played by Donovan Leitch) was more graphic and gory than I ever expected from a film about a mutated blob. Having his face being slowly melted from withing the blob as Meg tries to drag him out, resulting in his arm being severed from his body was extremely creative. Yet, in contrast to this, during the death of Scott and Vicki in the car, Vicki's body looks like a deflated blow up doll. The deflated doll effect is used in multiple instances throughout this film and I can see it was trying to portray the look of the body being consumed from the inside out, unfortunately, it looks incredibly cheap and in comparison to some of the greater visual effects used this really does standout. Along with some of the occasionally weak effects work, one of the more obvious issues this film suffered from was its pacing. I think this could have been tightened with some extensive work in the editing department, by trimming the runtime down to a 90 minutes would have removed some of the more unnecessarily bloated segments of the story. One of the things I felt would be best left on the cutting room floor was the subplot featuring the governments involvement. It didn't quite have the desired effect, and in numerous scenes I felt this side story caused the momentum to come to a slight halt. I would have much preferred an unexplained asteroid, than a biological conspiracy. I found the casting to be serviceable for the tone of the film, feeling very 80's and somewhat melodramatic in places, I don't think the standard was set pretty high from the casting department. Young Kevin Dillon in the lead role as Brian (who at first glance I could have sworn was Ethan Hawk) does a good job as your typical bad boy youth in town who goes on to save the day. However, it’s Meg played by a young Shawnee Smith who gives the strongest performance and really stood out amongst the rest. One of the more disappointingly underutilised characters though was Jeffrey DeMunn as Sheriff Geller. I always find him to be outstanding in his roles, and unfortunately he isn't given much to do here. Although, that being said, he does feature in one of the more shocking scenes in which the Blob is attacking Fran in the phone box outside the diner. It is during these moments (even though we don't see him die on screen) we see the floating body of his corpse from inside the Blob and this was incredibly effective and one of the more surprising on screen reveals. Overall, 'The Blob' is by no means perfect, but minor issues aside this is definitely a cheesy 80's sci-fi horror that I had a really entertaining time with. I would love to see a modern day remake of this film as I think the concept and possibilities are endless. I remember reading that Rob Zombie once expressed interest in taking on the project, with writing and directing credits, however due to the failings of Halloween 2 (2009), he decided it was in his best interests to walk away from the project. I know Zombie is a controversial horror director but I feel he would have done something rather unique this story.



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