The Blob (1988)

Last night I watched The Blob from 1958 as part of the DailyView and tonight I took the next step and watched the 1988 reboot of the film. There were similarities among the two movies, including the basic plot and manner in which the Blob is handled. There were several scenes that looked to be pulled directly from the original and repackaged just a bit for the late 80s, and that is alright.

Like before, a meteorite landed on earth, bringing with it a strange, gelatinous creature that begins to hunt and devour people in the town of Arbeville, Colorado. A group of government agents (undefined from where) arrive, but it turns out that their motives are a little less than helpful.

I had a problem at the beginning of the film because i was not sure what characters I was meant to root for because as soon as I was introduced to a character, they wound up being dissolved inside the Blob. I was shocked a couple of times when characters who were seemingly being set up as the protagonists were dealt quick and gruesome deaths. Although I did like the uncertainty, it did make it awkward when trying to know who to support.

In the end, our main protagonists were cheerleader Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) and motorcycle-riding outsider Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon). They were pursued by both the creature and the government agents, led by cookie cutter mad scientist Dr. Meddows (Joe Seneca).

Honestly, when the Blob consumes the friendly waitress Fran (Candy Clark), I was sad, but I missed the fact that it had already gotten the sheriff, Herb Geller (Jeffrey DeMunn). I missed it so much that later on, I kept wondering to myself, “Where is the Sheriff?” I had to go back to rewatch the scene to catch Sheriff Geller’s fate.

This movie has a widely inconsistent tone. At one moment, it feels as if it is trying to be serious and frightening. At other moments, it feels as if it is meant to be humorous and campy. These tones worked against each other several times and did seem to undermine some of the more dramatic moments of the movie.

The special effects are much better than the original, of course. The mostly practical effects are impressive and the kills are much gorier. I have to say that the sequence where Dr. Meddows gets his comeuppance is extremely satisfying, starting with the best use of a rocket launcher ever.

This feels more like an R rated version of the Monster Squad, which is not all bad. There are some moments of fun involved, but the original has more charm and had better protagonists we get to know right away. In the right mood, this could be a fun watch. It could also lead to a lot of eye rolling.

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