The Blob (1958): Review

The Blob (1958): Review

The Blob (1958): Review. By Joe Muldoon

With a career consisting of performances in classics such as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bullitt, there are few films in Steve McQueen’s career that have gone under the radar. Alas, nestled in amongst these hits, there’s the star’s first-ever leading role in perhaps the most delightfully ridiculous film of his career: The Blob.

A meteorite crashes into a hill by a small Pennsylvania town. An old man stumbles upon the meteorite and wisely prods at it with a stick, causing it to break open and expel a strange amoebic Blob that attaches itself to his hand. The man is unable to rid himself of the form and staggers into the road, almost being run down by cruising teenage lovers Steve (McQueen) and Jane (Aneta Corsaut).

The teens rush the man to a doctor who has him anaesthetised. Sending the couple back out to locate the crash site, the doctor is left with his new patient, horrified to see the Blob absorbing him. In the ensuing chaos following the consumption of the Blob’s first victim, a nurse is absorbed, the doctor suffering the same fate shortly thereafter.

This is witnessed by a newly-returned Steve, who then flees the scene with Jane, the pair seeking help at the local police station. Their story is naturally dismissed as a youthful prank, the idea of an alien carnivorous goop being as ludicrous as 28-year-old McQueen passing for a teenage highschooler. The two set about warning the townsfolk of the impending danger, and so commences the Blob’s reign of terror.

With the American film industry of the 1950s came a spate of science fiction features, many of which barely rose above middle-of-the-road drive-in popcorn flicks – against all the odds, The Blob somehow found itself a measure of success on the bill of a double-feature with I Married a Monster from Outer Space, eventually finding itself atop the bill.

Compared to its undeniably brilliant contemporaries The Day the Earth Stood Still and The War of the Worlds, The Blob is a rather poor film. The acting is noticeably wooden (including McQueen’s performance, which gives little glimpse into the career he would go on to enjoy), the melodramatic filler arguably detracts from the story, and the titular Blob’s appearances are frankly scant. Yet, despite this, there’s something oddly charming about a schlocky B-movie premised upon a backwater town being terrorised by a roving glob of gelatinous death.

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