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The Blob (1988)

Thank (or blame - you decide) David Cronenberg’s 1986 masterpiece remake of The Fly for the existence of the 1988 remake of The Blob, a box office cash-in that is neither particularly good, bad, or ugly. Instead, it falls into the rare camp of being a quizzically interesting companion piece, building upon the original’s muted, suggested horrors with visually graphic gore and replacing the McCarthyist overtones with unquestionably anti-government sentiments and a fear of rampant religious zeal. While one can’t help but miss the original’s title song by a young Burt Bacharach, there is no doubt that this remake is a truly no-bars-held horror film, with each additional victim of the updated blob meeting their end in an increasingly grizzly set piece. Sure as anything, some delinquent teenagers discover the creature long before anyone else chooses to acknowledge its deadly presence. By the time the U.S. military arrives to “contain the organism,” bodies have been incinerated (externally and internally), phone-booth fortresses have been imploded, and entire bodies have been drug, kicking and screaming, down the kitchen sink. No, this is not for the squeamish.

What separates this version of its 50’s counterpart, and – in a weird way, justifies its very existence – is its reframing of the main narrative points (here be spoilers), the blob no longer being a mysterious, insatiable visitor from afar, but a government-created virus deliberately sent into outer space in hopes of it mutating into the ultimate bio-weapon. When the developing creatures’ activity sent its meteorite vessel out of orbit and crashing to the earth below, the quickly digested town folk are but collateral damage to the power-hungry weapons manufacturers, whose corrupt ambitions are quickly cut short when they prove unable to control their own creation. Don’t count on your handy genre clichés here – no one, not nice guys, cute animals, or even children are safe from the government’s ever-growing creation (i.e. capitalism). Unlike the silent absorption of the original jell-o blob (would that make this one Blob 2.0?), this re-imagination is full of tendrils, layers, and ever-shifting masses, and its victims go anything but quietly into the pink abyss. Such a merciless film (many of its special effects being quite disturbing, screen cap below case in point) seems the appropriate response to the embittered feelings of the 80’s, yet none of the bone-snapping or flesh-dissolving chills come close to equaling the final shot, which suggests even greater terrors to come, this time in the name of God.

Feature: Horror Marathon 2006

It's rather weird because I think the Blob's large size works better in the original than the remake. It becomes too hammy.

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