I remember being a kid and watching old school horror movies with my father. We’re talking about films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Them! (1954), and Forbidden Planet (1956) to name a few. While movies from that golden era are often corny and over acted, they are the cornerstone for modern horror. I still enjoy Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In my opinion, the original film is still one of the best versions out there.
Which brings me to The Blob (1956). A monster that has no shape and if it touches you, you’re a goner. As a kid I would marvel at how something so seemingly harmless could be used in such a horrific way. Don’t let it touch you! Brilliant. I think the Blob is an often overlooked, and awesome monster. Throw some teenagers into the mix and we’ve got the makings of something special.
Some of you may remember the slogan, “Run, don’t walk from the Blob!”
In this version, the Blob grows as it envelops unsuspecting victims. Think of how brilliant it was to have something that looked as harmless as jelly turn out to be a mindless killer. Why would anyone be afraid of jelly? And then they touch it…and it melts their flesh! Many good monsters start out so innocent looking. That’s part of the appeal. Viewers will sit there and warn the idiots on screen to be careful, but they never listen. That’s the beauty of the Blob. At first glance it appears so small. Eventually it grows to gargantuan proportions. How do you stop something that can absorb bullets, or a tank?
There was a remake. Released in 1988, and starring Kevin Dillon, it had some fun moments but was ultimately a flop. Fun Fact: the 1988 re-make was co-written by Frank Darabont, the man who brought The Walking Dead to television.
In literature, Blob-like creatures have been used by several authors. Dean Koontz’s Phantoms immediately pops into my mind. His Blob is a bit different because it’s sentient and absorbs memories from its victims. A whole town disappears seemingly overnight. I won’t spoil the book, but will suggest you give it a read. I rated it four out of five stars.
Would a monster like the Blob work in today’s society. I think it would. Most of us would underestimate it, or hold on to the belief that we can shoot it or fight it using conventional means. Especially if it landed in a major city. Imagine a group of cocky teens finding it and daring someone to touch it. Yeah, the Blob would balloon to the size of a house in no time.
Monsters like the Blob teach us that not every monster needs to be complex. Sometimes simpler is better. The terror doesn’t have to come from the monster itself, but, rather, in trying to survive. Where would you be able to hide from something that can squeeze through any crack? And don’t forget…run, don’t walk! Like I needed to remind anyone. 😉