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Blob Movies and Monsters, Part III

In our first installment, we introduced blobs and British blob films (three films).

Last installment, we listed blob films from the late 1950s into the mid 1960s (nine films).

This installment, we’ll finish things up by listing blob films through the 1980s (five films).

 

THE GREEN SLIME

(USA/Japan, color, 1968).

Superficially similar to Mutiny in Outer Space because it’s set on a space station, The Green Slime is actually the standout B-movie among blob movies.

Several British blob movies are more intellectual and realistic.  Go see them for that.  But see The Green Slime for action-packed adolescent pulp adventure.

As in Island of Terror, we get a whole group of blob monsters, not just one.  And as in Angry Red Planet, the monsters have eyes.  Our astronaut heroes fight the blobs with beam weapons, fire, and plain old heroic grit.

The blobs fight back with tentacles and sheer numbers.

It feels closest to Angry Red Planet but has better characters and direction.  It also suggests a viable spacefaring future society in the background, though the main point is the near-constant action.

 

GOKE: BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL

(Japan, color, 1968)

Here is a rare exception to the rule that blobs must be mindless.  The alien blob “Goke” is cold and calculating, and it can even speak after it possesses a human victim.

The standout effect sees the blob splitting open a victim’s forehead and oozing way into the guy’s brain!  (It was achieved by squeezing gunk through a photograph and model head and then running the film backwards.)

It might be disappointing that the actual blob(s) make comparatively few appearances once they possess victims’ bodies.  But the nutty, fast-paced script -with feuding plane crash survivors – is one of a kind.

It’s often scary too.

 

BEWARE! THE BLOB

(USA, color, 1972).

Now, in the 70s, the time had come for comedy.  So this belated sequel to the original 1958 Blob is campy on purpose.

The “plot” is mostly a series of episodes where the blob attacks and eats silly stupid people in a small American town.  But it doesn’t pretend otherwise and is much better than its lowly reputation.

A bigger budget might have helped it feel less like a TV episode and more like a feature film, but it was directed by Larry Hagman (Major Nelson from I Dream of Jeannie and J.R. from Dallas), so I think we can forgive it.

The blob itself is basically a new version of the original blob, and it’s reasonably well realized on screen even if it should have appeared more often.

The standout scene sees the hero trying to warn patrons away from a bowling alley before the blob rolls in, but nobody believes him.

 

THE STUFF

(USA, color, 1985)

Here’s another comic blob movie, courtesy of rogue satirist filmmaker Larry Cohen.  It’s speedily paced, so watch it closely.

Cohen satirizes American consumer culture by having an innocent-looking dairy dessert turn out to be… an evil blob that possesses your mind.

Apparently the blobs are alien in origin, though it’s a little uncertain.  What’s certain is that they’re intelligent and evil, akin to the classic Body Snatchers. but violent rather than bland.

Effects are cheap for the time, but at their best they are very fun.  You never know where The Stuff might be hiding – even inside a hotel bed.

The most-used effect is tilting a set or model sideways (before filming) so that the blob appears to be moving up a wall when poured from the top.  Some superimpositions, late in the film, are less effective, but half a dozen campy gore effects – mostly ripped or crushed bodies – are great, if brief.

I liked how the blob was white rather than the usual green or red.  And unlike other blobs, it absorbs you mentally rather than physically.

Remember, “Enough is never enough… of The Stuff.”

 

THE BLOB

(USA, color, 1988).

Many 50s sci-fi classics were remade in the 80s – and nearly all the remakes were great.  The 80s Blob was no exception.

At first it seems to follow the same story as the original (when an old guy gets gunk on his arm), but it quickly distinguishes itself by updating the monster for the 80s:

  1. The blob is a botched government experiment, not an extraterrestrial invader
  2. The blob is quick rather than slow
  3. The blob is aggressive rather than random

It also follows British and Japanese blob movies for being gory – in fact it outdoes them all to become as much a gore film as a blob film.  A hapless cook even gets pulled down a drainpipe!

Actually, the movie probably overdoes the gore and the body count, but you can’t fault it for skimping.  It also has camp to make the gore more palatable.

You root strongly for the main characters: the hero with the mullet haircut played by Kevin Dillon (Matt’s brother) and the cheerleader heroine played by Shawnee Smith (Amanda from the Saw series).

In fact, something remarkable: though it’s the most belated movie on our list, and though it’s a remake of a classic, the 1988 Blob is arguably the greatest blob movie ever made.

 

 

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