Directed by Irvin Yeaworth
Written by Kay Linaker & Theodore Simonson
Story by Irving H. Millgate
Starring Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, & Olin Howland
Release Date: September 12, 1958
Running Time: 1hr 26min
Rating: PG (originally Approved)
A carnivorous amoeboidal alien that crashes to Earth from outer space inside a meteorite, landing near the small communities of Phoenixville and Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It envelops living beings, growing larger, becoming redder in color, and more aggressive, eventually becoming larger than a building. It’s up to local teen, Steve Andrews (McQueen), and his girlfriend, Jane Martin (Corseaut), to convince the town that it exists and they’re all in danger.
Chances are you’ve heard of this movie, seen clips and parodies of it in various other things in the 50+ years since it was released. If you ever saw the classic musical Grease (1978), then you saw a trailer for it in the drive-in scene (that’s my earliest memory hearing of it). It even inspired a 1988 remake and at least 1 comedic stage musical that I am aware of (I saw the remake and musical before the original). It even has a release by the Criterion Collection! Not bad for a low budget movie looking to cash in on the teenage demographic. While the movie wasn’t a critical hit at the time (reviews are still kinda mixed today), but it was a financial one, earning $4 million against a $110,000 budget.
This was also the first starring role for Steve McQueen, who would go on to be one of the biggest stars of the 60s and 70s. McQueen was 28 playing a teenager (and he looked older than that), and while his performance is a little stiff, he and everyone else is definitely trying, plus he definitely had that onscreen charisma from the start. For the time it was made, and the low budget, the special effects for the titular Blob aren’t bad. It’s a bit slow in places (common for low budget movies especially), but overall it doesn’t drag like a lot of others, plus it keeps itself under 90 minutes. So yeah, if you’re into older movies, cheesy ones in particular, then I would definitely say give this one a look!
Little extra trivia: Since 2000, the town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, one of the filming locations, has held an annual Blobfest, including a reenactment of the scene where moviegoers run screaming from the town’s Colonial Theatre, which has been restored. Chef’s Diner in Downingtown has also been restored, and is open for business for photographs of the basement on weekday mornings only.
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