Here’s a movie I’ve always known about, seen pieces of it on TV, but never sat down and watched the whole thing until now.
A meteorite crashes outside of town and an old-timer pokes at it with a stick. Inside the cracked rock is some goo that crawls up his stick and attaches itself to his hand. He runs off screaming and is found by two teenagers, Steve (Steve McQueen) and Jane (Aneta Corseaut) who were driving by to find the shooting star. They take him to the doctor in town by which time the blob of goo has grown and covered more of the old-timer.
The kids get some friends together to check out the old man’s cabin in the woods for any more answers but in the meantime, the blob finishes off the man and starts after the doctor and nurse. The kids come back to tell the Doc what they found but Steve sees the Doctor being eaten by the Blob which is much larger now. By the time they warn the police, all the people and the Blob are missing so no one believes them.
The kids, knowing the Blob is on the loose, start making a lot of noise trying to warn all the people of the town which attracts the police again who think they are just pulling a prank. But the Blob attacks a movie theater full of people and now it’s chaos in the streets. Before long, Steve, Jane and a kid are trapped in a diner which is totally covered by the Blob while the police try to figure out how to stop it.
I actually liked this movie. The Blob is such a basic movie monster but it’s kind of scary. Unlike some humanoid alien that’s indestructible for no reason, the Blob is indestructible because it has no complex anatomy. Any part of it can attach itself to you and just start to absorb you. Bullets just go right through it.
They used all their movie tricks here. Sometimes they reversed the motion so the Blob would pull back instead of oozing forward. Sometimes they flipped the camera so it would slime up the wall instead of down. The silicone they used looked pretty good, although you don’t see much of it. Apparently that silicone has never dried so they still trot the original prop out to Blob conventions in a bucket. They also used stop-motion and the final Blob on the diner looked like a matte painting.
The Blob attacking the movie theater seems like the biggest missed opportunity because a police officer comes out of the theater and says "that's the most horrific thing I've ever seen" or something but we didn't get to see any of it, it was all off-camera. I wanted more Blob!
It really dates the movie that the theater has a sign advertising the air conditioning as healthy. I had heard that when air conditioning was invented only businesses could afford it so it was a selling point. Movie theaters were one of the first to use the technology so they could lure summer patrons in out of the heat. Probably why summer has always been the big movie season.
This was Steve McQueen’s first starring role and although he’s playing a teen, he was 28 at the time. I think he did fine, he was certainly green but he was trying. He apparently hated the movie and didn’t like to talk about it, because he thought his acting was bad more than any other reason.
This was said to be more or less a sendup of teen movies at the time, not too serious of a movie although it takes itself somewhat seriously. A good half of the movie is just the kids clowning around and clashing with the local police.
Producer Jack H. Harris said this was his favorite of all the films he produced. He also had a hand in producing the sequel Beware! The Blob
and the 1988 remake.
The theme song was written by no less than Burt Bacharach.