If ever there were a list of best films to see at the drive-in, The Blob just might top the list. Sure, it is the epitome of low budget. Sure, the monster amounts to little more than a gelatinous mound of goo, devoid of so much as a scary eye or blood-dripping fangs. But in the 50s, this was frightening stuff, the type of film that could make a girl cuddle in fear – and that was well worth the price of admission (even if she might be checking out Steve McQueen a little more than she let on).
Released in 1958, The Blob starred McQueen as Steve Andrews, your typical teenage boy with a fondness for females and fast cars. Nothing much ever happens in his small town, until a meteor falls to earth, landing in a nearby forest. And, unbeknownst to Steve and the rest of the locals, things are going to start getting freaky.
What awaits in the woods is no mere rock but, rather, a reddish-brown globule, and it’s mighty hungry. When an old man wanders into the woods to investigate the meteor, he becomes an appealing appetizer. Soon after, Steve and his pals stumble across the beast, which, little do they know, happens to be growing larger with each meal. The boys do the responsible thing and warn the local authorities, who typically brush off the fanciful story as just a little too far-fetched. That turns out to be a pretty bad decision because, in the meantime, Mr. Blob is acting like he’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet. And by the time the police are ready to believe the boys, the creature has grown to a size that just may be unstoppable.
This was classic horror stuff – stereotypical misunderstood teens cross paths with a seemingly unstoppable creature with an appetite. Not only did that make it a perfect date film, but people flocked to see The Blob at the drive-in because, unlike most films of its genre, it was in color! Not only did the movie do quite well at the box-office, it also helped to launch McQueen’s career.
While most sequels come out within a few years, fans had to wait 14 years for Beware! The Blob. Unfortunately, even with plenty of cameos from the likes of Burgess Meredith, Cindy Williams and Dick Van Patton, most die-hard fans were greatly disappointed by its campy and humorous approach. Then, in 1988, a remake of the classic film was released, this time staying true to its horror roots and spicing things up with some modern special effects, which earned it an “R” rating. Unfortunately, teens weren’t too enthralled with a monster made of goo, and adults already had an original-recipe Blob that that the preferred to call their own. They certainly didn’t need a new one. Then again, if the drive-in still existed, maybe things would have turned out differently.
If you are a fan of this classic horror film, maybe curled up next to a date at the drive-in, or just caught it during one of its seemingly millions of airings on television over the years, we welcome your recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to an iconic creature and a groundbreaking movie.