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Film / The Blob (1958)

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Beware of the Blob!

It creeps
And leaps, and glides
And slides across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the Blob!

The Blob is a 1958 Sci-Fi Horror film directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth, about a killer amoeba from outer space. The film is notable not only for its memorable villain, but also for being the first starring role for "Steven" McQueen.

As the film begins, a small meteorite drops to Earth near a small Pennsylvania town. It contains a tiny, jelly-like substance that quickly attaches itself to a nearby hermit, who is subsequently brought to town for medical attention. Unfortunately, the Blob starts growing and soon consumes both the hermit and the medical staff, observed only by a pair of teenagers. Of course, when they try to raise the alarm, no one believes them — until the Blob, still growing and having consumed a garage mechanic in the interim, attacks a crowded movie theater. Eventually deducing that the creature can be defeated only by extreme cold, the town collects all available fire extinguishers and blanket it in CO2, freezing it solid. In the end, the frozen Blob is deposited deep in the Arctic, where it is presumed it will remain frozen.

It spawned a sequel in 1972 and a remake in 1988. The remake uses the original story with a few minor changes.

This film provides examples of:

  • Antagonist Title: The eponymous Blob is of course the monster that tries to devour everyone.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the key features of the Blob is that every person it consumes adds to its own biomass. When it is discovered it's about the size of a grown man's fist, but by the climax it's eaten enough people to become building-sized. Potentially, it could envelop the whole planet.
  • Behind the Black: Steve and Jane walk into the convenience store the former's father owns after noticing it's been unlocked. He wanders off to go turn on the lights. When Jane follows and stops right before the aisle, she spots The Blob...even though Steve was right there and somehow didn't see it.
  • Big Bad: The Blob trying to eat everybody.
  • Big Sister Instinct: When Danny tries to shoot the Blob after it escapes the theater, Jane doesn't hesitate to go after him.
  • Blob Monster: Trope Maker. The Blob is an amorphous monster that devours its prey to add them to its own biomass.
  • Came from the Sky: The Blob came to Earth inside a meteorite. The way the meteorite opens up and is hollow inside minus the Blob, it implies that the space rock is actually the Blob's egg.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Jane's father. He's offhandedly mentioned as being the school principal. This comes in handy when they need fire extinguishers, and he knows right away that they can find plenty of them at the high school.
  • Eating the Enemy: This is how the title monster deals with adversaries and prey.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the end the Blob is transported to the frozen Arctic and the characters hope that it won't melt. The movie itself even ends with a question mark.
  • Grey Goo: The Blob could be either this or The Virus. No one's really ever gotten close enough to examine it without being eaten. All that's known about it is that it's of alien origin. Oh, and it prefers to devour organic life as opposed to inorganic matter.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Blob is immune to this and pretty much any other physical weaponry.
  • Insistent Terminology: Jane doesn't want Steve to call her "Janey." It's later revealed that this is what her parents call her.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Blob can be defeated by exposure to subzero temperatures, which can eventually freeze it completely solid.
  • Killed Offscreen: One of the cops comes back to the station and mentions that he ran into someone who owned a bar. Said bar owner said that his place was completely empty, without even a bartender or cashier, but the TV was on, implying that whoever was there was devoured by the monster. Mr. Wiedermeyer is also killed offscreen by the Blob, as well as presumably numerous people inside the theater.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The doctor was killed by the Blob after locking himself in a room, leading to police to assume this.
  • Logical Weakness: A gelatinous mass can be stopped by freezing it solid so it can't move or envelop prey.
  • Lovecraft Lite: What keeps The Blob from being an outright indestructible abomination is its weakness to the cold. It allows the creature to be defeated.
  • Make-Out Point: Steve sees the meteorite containing the Blob plummet to Earth while necking with Jane in his car.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When the mechanic is working underneath the car and his friend hands him the hammer, you can actually see The Blob rolling up into view.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The Crestwood House Monster series Novelization of the movie gives Dave the last name Barton and identifies the old man as Barney and the mechanic who gets eaten while working under a car Willis. It's unknown if author Ian Thorne made these names up or took them from the film's script.
  • No Body Left Behind: The Blob completely absorbs its victims, flesh, cloth and bones. Whether itís transforming the victim into it like in the original or dissolving them, like in the remake.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The original Blob is a mindless space amoeba who simply consumes as much organic matter as it can find. It's no more malicious than any other predator.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The Blob is never actually called a blob, nor is it described as slimy or gooey or any other adjectives. The closest anyone ever gets to describing it is as "some kind of mass." Steve repeatedly calls it a "monster." This is partly because the original title was The Glob, until it was changed later into production.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. While initially skeptical, the police are actually helpful once they are presented with proof of the teenaged heroes' (admittedly wild) story. Their efforts against the Blob are initially ineffective, but that's more due to not knowing the nature of the Blob than incompetence. Once they know the weakness, they take down the monster very fast.
  • Rabid Cop: Sgt. Bert has a reputation as a merciless authoritarian. Lt. Dave says that he acts like he's still fighting in the war.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dave the cop, who instantly gives the kids the benefit of the doubt and decides to investigate their claims, despite them sounding unbelievable.
  • Rescue Equipment Attack: When an extinguisher is used to put out a fire, the nearby Blob recoils from the chill of the carbon dioxide, leading the main character Steve to realize that the otherwise invulnerable Blob Monster is weakened by the cold. The town manages to trap the creature and blast it with several fire extinguishers, freezing it solid and destroying it.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never find out what the Blob is or how it came to be.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • For what is supposed to be a horror movie, the opening theme to the 1958 film is rather upbeat and goofy.
    • After sneaking out of his parents how, Steve and Jane discuss the deadly and horrific events that have recently transpired, but the music is some kind of generic romantic tune.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Blob is certainly a rather strange extraterrestrial life form. If it eats enough living beings and grows large enough, it would probably be an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Thematic Theme Tune / Title Theme Tune: Written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David and performed by "The Five Blobs" (actually session singer Bernie Knee overdubbed five times), it was released as a single and became a minor chart hit.
  • Wacky Racing: Steve challenges his fellow teens to a race in reverse.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The girls who accompany the guys to try to warn the citizens about the Blob. After everybody's been gathered and the Blob emerges from the movie theater, the guys stick around to help, but the girls are never seen again.
    • A lot of time is spent caring for the old man's dog and discussing how Jane wants to give it to Danny. It's assumed dead after getting attacked by the Blob, but one of the teens later mentions seeing it running away from the area. Its fate is left unresolved.
  • You Must Be Cold: Steve gives Jane his jacket when they're hiding in the grocery store's walk-in freezer.