The Blob: Wikis

  
  
  

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The Blob
Directed by Irvin Yeaworth
Produced by Jack H. Harris
Written by Story:
Irving H. Millgate
Screenplay:
Kay Linaker
Theodore Simonson
Starring Steve McQueen
Aneta Corsaut
Earl Rowe
Olin Howland
Music by Ralph Carmichael
Burt Bacharach
Cinematography Thomas E. Spalding
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
The Criterion Collection (DVD)
Release date(s) September 12, 1958
Running time 86 min.
Language English
Budget $240,000 (estimated)
Followed by Beware! The Blob

The Blob is an independently made American horror/science-fiction film from 1958 that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It was not until star Steve McQueen became famous with the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive that the film became a hit at the drive-in theatres. Today, the film is recognized as one of the quintessential 1950s American sci-fi/horror films.

The film was Steve McQueen's debut performance, and also starred Aneta Corsaut. The film's tongue-in-cheek theme song, "Beware of the Blob" (recorded by studio group the Five Blobs—actually singer Bernie Nee overdubbing himself[1]), was written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David and was a nationwide hit in the U.S.

Contents

Synopsis

The Blob is an amorphous creature from outer space that lands on Earth encased in a meteor. Two teenagers, Steve Andrews (Portrayed by 27 year old McQueen) and Jane Martin (Portrayed by 24 year old Corsaut) take a car to try to find where the meteor has landed. Meanwhile, an elderly man (Olin Howland) has heard the meteor crash near his house. He goes outside and upon finding it pokes it with a stick. The rock breaks open, and he finds a small mass of jelly-like substance inside. This blob, which is actually a living creature, crawls up the stick and attaches itself to his hand. The man runs hysterically onto the road, where he is almost hit by Steve's car. Steve attempts to help the man, but he begs to be taken to the doctor. They arrive just as Doctor Hallen is about to leave the office. He takes the old man in and anesthetizes him, but finds that the mass has grown larger. Finally, it dissolves the old man completely and rolls to the floor, where it also engulfs and eats the nurse and later, the doctor himself.

Steve and Jane return to the office, now apparently empty, but in time for Steve to see the Blob consuming the doctor. He and Jane go to the local police, kindly Lt. Dave and cynical Sgt. Burt, and they go to the office where they find no sign of the creature or the doctor. Dismissing Steve's story, the police return Steve and Jane to their homes and parents. Later, they sneak out and get Steve's friends out of the late-night Spook Show (Daughter of Horror) and try to convince them that the Blob is threatening the town. The Blob, in the meantime, has consumed a mechanic and later (off camera), the janitor in Mr. Andrew's grocery store. Steve and Jane find it here, and it chases them into the walk-in refrigerator, but for some reason it does not follow them in after starting to squeeze under the door. They then escape and set off the town's fire and air-raid alarms. The whole town gathers and demands to know what is going on. As the townspeople and police angrily confront Steve, the Blob enters the Colonial Theater during the midnight horror movie showing. It engulfs and eats the man in the projection room, and then attacks the audience. As the patrons run screaming out of the theater, the truth of Steve's story is finally confirmed to everyone.

The Blob then follows Steve, Jane, and her little brother into the local diner, which it engulfs. The kids, along with the owner and his wife, run into the cellar. The police try to kill the Blob by dropping a power line onto it. This fails, but sets the diner on fire instead. The people are trapped inside with no hope of escape, until the diner's owner starts to quench the fire with a CO2 fire extinguisher. The Blob, which is trying to reach them in the cellar, recoils. Steve tells Lt. Dave that the Blob cannot stand cold (explaining why it did not consume them in the refrigerator), and so, taking the fire extinguishers from the local high school, they attack the monster with carbon dioxide. Soon, the Blob is frozen solid, unable to move or engulf anyone. The film closes with a scene of a military plane dropping the Blob into an Arctic landscape.

The film ends with the words "The End", which then morph into a question mark, suggesting that the Blob may return (which it does fourteen years later - this time, to a Los Angeles suburb—in the sequel Beware! The Blob).

Cast

Production

The film was originally titled "The Molten Meteor" until producers overheard screenwriter Kay Linaker refer to the movie's monster as "the blob."[2] Other sources disagree, saying that the film went through a number of title changes before the makers settled on The Glob. Then, hearing that someone else had already used The Glob as a title and believing that they could no longer use it (though in actuality they could have) they changed it to The Blob.[3]

The Blob was directed by Irvin Yeaworth, who had directed more than 400 films for motivational, educational, and religious purposes.

The Blob was filmed in and around Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The primary shooting took place at Valley Forge Studios, and several scenes were filmed in the towns of Chester Springs, Downingtown, Phoenixville and Royersford, including the basement of a local restaurant named Chef's. (The setting is apparently Downingtown Pennsylvania itself as the one policeman identifies his department's office as "Downingtown HQ to East Cornwall HQ" over the two-way radio during his chess game, and the final scenes take place in a restaurant that is clearly labeled "Downingtown Diner.") It was filmed in color and widescreen.

For the diner scene a photograph of the building was put on a gyroscopically-operated table with cameras mounted. The table was shaken and the blob rolled off. When the film was run in reverse it appeared to be oozing over the building.

McQueen received only $3,000 for this film; he had turned down an offer for a smaller up-front sum with 10 percent of the profits because he did not think the movie would make any money and he needed the money immediately to pay for food and rent; it ended up grossing $4 million.

Though legend has it that the opening novelty song was composed by a young and unknown Burt Bacharach (along with Hal David, Burt's famous songwriting partner), Bacharach had already achieved some measure of success by the time the film was released, and the lyrics to the song were composed by David's brother Mack. The background score for The Blob was composed by Ralph Carmichael. Known as "The Dean of Contemporary Christian Music," it was one of just a few film scores that Carmichael wrote. Carmichael is best known for his musical associations with Billy Graham and for arranging the popular Christmas album by Nat King Cole. Carmichael also composed the original theme for the film, entitled "Violence" on the soundtrack album, which started the film on a serious and frightening note. It was against the director's wishes to replace the original theme song with that by Bacharach/David. However, because the latter encourages audiences to view The Blob as campy fun, it has contributed to the film's enduring popularity. Both Carmichael's score and Bacharach/David's song were released in 2008 by the Monstrous Movie Music soundtrack label.

Legacy

A comedy sequel was made in 1972, entitled Beware! The Blob, directed by Larry Hagman. In 1988, a remake was made, in which The Blob is rewritten as a secret government project gone wrong. In August 2009, it was revealed that musician turned director Rob Zombie would be writing and directing another remake[4], he will contribute to the soundtrack for his remake[5].

Since 2000, the town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania — one of the filming locations — has held an annual "Blobfest". Activities include a re-enactment of the scene in which moviegoers run screaming from the town's Colonial Theatre, which has recently been restored. Chef's Diner in Downingtown is also restored, and is open for business or photographs of the basement on weekday mornings only.

The Blob itself was made from silicone, with increasing amounts of red vegetable dye added as it "absorbed" people. In 1965 it was bought by movie collector Wes Shank.[6]

See also

References

External links








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