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Film / The Blob (1988)

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Terror has no shape.

"Scream now, while there's still room to breathe..."

The 1988 remake of the 1958's The Blob. Directed by Chuck Russell, improved special effects allowed for far gorier deaths than the original.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: It's wide enough for a bike to go through. The sewers being so absurdly spacious is actually explained in an easy-to-miss bit of dialogue. The "sewers" are actually an aqueduct system built to prevent flooding from the mountains.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The remake version of the blob is clearly more intelligent than the Grey Goo version from the original, making it come across as far more sadistic in the way it chooses to toy with its prey, along with those deaths themselves generally being Bloodier and Gorier.
  • Adult Fear: The cheerleader Meg Penny learns from her parents that her brother Kevin and his friend, Eddie are missing while the town is under quarantine, thinking they snuck out to see a slasher movie. What makes this terrifying was the fact that Meg's little brother is now in danger of being eaten by the titular monster now getting bigger by eating anyone that gets too close. She arrives to find the theatre is in a state of panic with Kevin and Eddie desperately trying to use the emergency exit and while she does save them, they wind up having to evade the Blob in the sewer. The Blob follows them down there and Eddie then gets pulled underwater. Meg tries to save him only to later see Eddie rise up from the water half-eaten; imagine dying by drowning and being eaten/dissolved alive at the same time. What makes this all the more horrifying was the fact Eddie has an older brother that let them both into the movie, who was deeply worried about his brother and reported the Blob having chased him, Kevin, and Meg into the sewers; and we saw his mother hoping he was going to come home safe. At least Meg and Kevin survived....
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  • Antagonist Title: The eponymous Blob is of course the monster that tries to devour everyone.
  • Anti-Hero: Flagg is a delinquent, but helps save the day in the end.
  • Anyone Can Die: For this version, this couldn't be more true. According to an interview on the Australian Blu Ray, Chuck Russell deliberately stole a page from the Hitchcock playbook by killing the character that everyone would identify as "The Hero" halfway into the film so everyone would go "Geeze, if he could die, ANYONE could!"
  • Art Major Biology: How does the Blob know how to find prey, actively hunt, and grab people if it seemingly doesn't have distinct tissues, organs or sensory receptors? It's never explained, but otherwise the Blob won't be a threat.
  • Asshole Victim: A few, especially Dr. Meddows. Special mention goes to the guy who won't stop talking in the theatre and is rude towards Kevin when he asks him to be quiet and quit ruining the movie. When Kevin tells him for the last time to be quiet, it looks as though the guy might hit him, until he got snatched up by the Blob.
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  • Battle Couple: During the climax, Meg and Brian work to stop the blob.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After a failed attempt to blow up the Blob by dropping some bombs down the sewer, Hargis is about to be crushed and consumed by the Blob. He pulls the pins from his grenades just as the Blob falls on him. We see two flashes inside the Blob as the grenades explode. Since Hargis had seen the Blob take victims already, this was the lesser of gruesome fates.
    • Also clearly an attempt at Taking You with Me. Unfortunately, even two grenades exploding inside causes the Blob little lasting harm.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Christopher Meddows, who created the Blob and is responsible for its rampage, using it to test its power.
  • Bioweapon Beast: The Blob in this version is revealed to be the accidental result of an American military experiment conducted on a space satellite. Although the military scientists responsible didn't expect it, they're very pleased with the result and talk about deploying it against the Soviets. (In the original, it's just an alien who visits Earth to find food.)
  • Blob Monster: Like the original, the Blob is an amorphous monster that devours its prey to add them to its own biomass.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Thanks to the improved special effect by the time. The deaths were considerably more gruesome, because we see some of the victims dissolve on-screen.
  • Came from the Sky: How The Blob got to earth. Subverted when it's revealed to have been shot into orbit by human scientists in the first place.
  • Ceiling Corpse: The theater manager walks into the projection room and a yo-yo falls down from above. He looks up, and sees the projectionist stuck to the ceiling, half-dissolved by the Blob before he himself gets snatched up by it.
  • Censored Child Death: Averted when Eddie gets half-dissolved by the blob in the sewers.
  • Closed Circle: Government scientists have surrounded the town to prevent the Blob from getting out and turn the protagonists back home when they attempt to leave.
  • Combat Tentacles: Part of what makes this Blob much more dangerous; it's not only faster in general, but it can shoot out pseudopods to grab prey from afar rather than having to flow over the top of them.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Blob's specialty. It doesn't do clean, painless deaths, apparently as much out of preference as out of its abilities.
  • Darker and Edgier: Oh yes. The deaths are not only more graphic, but come more as a shock, its victims extending to children (and not censored that is) and the supposed jock protagonist.
  • Date Rape Averted: Vicki, the girl in question, doesn't have a choice, because her date, Scott got her drunk first. But there's beautiful poetic justice because when the slimy boy goes to get his hands in her bra, he finds only the Blob, which had gotten into and consumed most of Vicki's insides already, leaving it gelatinously filling her empty flesh sack. Eww. However, even though the would-be-rapist gets a nice comeuppance, the girl is still just as dead.
  • Death by Sex: As mentioned above, Scott gets Vicki drunk on alcohol so she'll pass out. The Blob gets to her, sucking her innards out, while he's mixing another batch. When Scott sees she's passed out, he goes in for the Date Rape, only to discover there's nothing there but the Blob.
  • Death of a Child: Meg rescues her child brother, Kevin and his friend, Eddie. Right before they climb out of the sewer, Eddie is pulled underwater screaming. Moments later, he pops out of the water again. Half melted. Still screaming.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Paul Taylor is the likeable jock dating the heroine Meg while Brian Flagg is a James Dean-like anti-authority dude with more than a few run-ins with the Man. Then Paul becomes the Blob's second victim, and Flagg takes over the Hero role.
  • Disconnected by Death: Paul's phone call is ended abruptly by the Blob dropping on him. As well, the diner owner is chased into a phone booth, which the Blob leisurely envelops. She has time for one phone call - which does no good at all - before the Blob busts in and sucks her out.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Subverted. Flagg picks up an M16 that's already cocked to threaten Meddows but the charging handle was not shut. If he had fired, the charging handle would have slammed into his face!
  • *Drool* Hello: Paul sees a few drops of Hollywood Acid drip onto a desk just before the Blob pounces him from the ceiling.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After the Blob is beaten, a piece of the Blob is shown to be in the possession of the now fundamentalist and unhinged town preacher, who declares that he will one day use it to launch the Apocalypse when "the Lord gives me a sign".
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dr. Meddows comes across as friendly and helpful at first glance, but we see soon later who he truly is.
  • Fold-Spindle Mutilation: Briggs is yanked backwards between the shelves of a bookcase by the Blob, with enough force to bend him in half. A kitchen worker's partially-dissolved body is hauled down a sink's drainhole.
  • For the Evulz: This version of the blob has enough mental capacity to be sadistic, as it chooses to toy with or prolong the death of its prey when it would be more pragmatic to Just Eat Him.
    • Special mention to late in it's development, where it starts forming a "mouth" in its mass just to torment its prey further, and make itself look even more like a predator instead of just a big amoeba.
  • Foreshadowing: After a funny case of Accidental Pervert thanks to his friend Scott, Paul jokingly vows, "Scott Jeske is gonna die." A few scenes later....
  • Ghost Town: Subverted in the opening scenes, which show the small town's streets empty and apparently deserted ... because everyone's at the high school football game.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Kevin gets his jacket caught in a door with the Blob on the other side. Meg struggles with the jacket's stuck zipper until she can get him out of it.
  • Gorn: Oh yes. Being digested by a transparent monster that is all stomach leaves nothing to the imagination. Ironically, the goriest deaths happen early on, when the Blob is at its smallest, or to people that simply contact its slime trail. One theater patron looks okay, until the protagonist lifts her off the floor - to find half her head melted into it.
  • Government Conspiracy: In this film this is the source of the Blob.
  • Grey Goo: Averted, unlike the original movie. The Blob is the spawn of a secret government germ warfare project. It acts less like mindless spreading Grey Goo and more like a malicious, semi-intelligent monster.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Dr. Meddows' death, the other soldiers, several of whom were already on the fence about sacrificing the entire town to capture the Blob, quickly change their plan to try and destroy it and save the town instead.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: In a movie shown in a theater.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr. Meddows, the Big Bad of the film responsible for creating the Blob, is eaten by his own experiment.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Blob is immune to this and pretty much any other physical weaponry.
  • It Can Think: The titular creature, instead of mindlessly oozing everywhere, uses ambush tactics like a predator instead. Scott was killed when the Blob consumes his passed-out date from the inside out and waits until he moves in before it reveals itself and kills him. Another example is when it attacks a flamethrower-wielding soldier and blocks the end of his flamethrower, causing the fuel tank to explode and kill him.
  • Jerk Jock: Scott Jeske, who progresses from lying to Reverend Meeker and a pharmacist that the condoms he's buying are actually for his buddy Paul (making Paul have a really, really awful first meeting with the pharmacist, who is his date's father, when he goes to pick her up) to getting his date drunk so he can date rape her. It's almost a Karmic Death when the Blob devours him.
  • Karmic Death: Dr Meddows, who is snatched and devoured right after ordering his squad to execute Flagg.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Blob can be defeated by exposure to subzero temperatures, which can eventually freeze it completely solid.
  • Knight Templar: The scientist Dr. Meddows, who wants to control the Blob so that he can create a weapon that can put US Military ahead of Russian Military. All patriotic and stuff but then he deems the town expendable.
  • Lovable Jock: Paul, in contrast with his friend Scott, is an all-around helpful, decent guy. Pity that one of his good deeds leads directly to his horrific death.
  • Match Cut: When the (initially small) blob from the meteor first envelops and begins slurping up the Can Man's arm, we cut to Kevin slurping up some Jell-O for dessert at home.
  • Mexican Standoff: Before the final fight with the Blob, Brian gets into one with Meddows, his men and Deputy Briggs. During this time, he reveals Meddows's true nature, and the distracted Meddows gets killed.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Just like in the original film, the Blob makes an attack on a crowded theatre after devouring the projectionist.
    • There's a scene which hearkens back to the '70s sequel, in which The Blob slinks up through the sewer lines into a sink and pulls a hapless victim literally down the drain.
  • No Body Left Behind: The blob completely absorbs its victims, flesh, cloth and bones. Whether it’s transforming the victim into it like in the original or dissolving them, like in the remake.
  • Noisy Nature: A sewer rat squeaks very loudly as it floats past the characters on a broken piece of board.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Averted. The Blob is the accidental result of a secret government germ warfare project, and shows several signs of intelligence. It seems to enjoy hunting its food, lays traps and even kills just for the fun of killing such as the unfortunate theater patron, head half-dissolved into the floor.
  • Novelization: A rather decent one by David Bischoff (who also wrote the Novelization for Gremlins 2: The New Batch). The book not only contains elements from the original script, including different character names (such as Meddows being called Bruno Trimble), it even has some scenes told from the Blob's point of view. Somehow.
  • Orifice Invasion: The girl who got drunk by the Jerk Jock didn't have any visible damage or even scream, leading to some... ideas of how it got inside her.
  • Plot Armor: Meg has a ton of it once she's revealed as one of the real protagonists; the Blob usually just menaces her or reaches out with pseudopods at the last moment, instead of just falling on her from some hidden nook like the rest of the victims. A few of her companions - Paul and Eddie - aren't so lucky, caught and digested alive and screaming in front of her.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. Sheriff Geller comes across as quite reasonable... but unfortunately is one of the Blob's early victims, leaving his churlish deputy, Briggs, in charge. Who also comes around in the end and dies trying to help.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sheriff Geller gives Flagg fair warning that, as a legal adult, if he screws up now, "(he's) in the majors". Later, he quickly figures out that Flagg couldn't have murdered Paul since Flagg didn't have a single drop of blood on him from what was, after all, an extremely gruesome murder (besides which, he already knew that Flagg wasn't a killer), lets him go, and resumes searching for the real killer. To his misfortune, he finds it.
  • Red Shirt Army: The soldiers accompanying the scientists are useless, though their poorer performance compared to the main characters when fighting the Blob might be attributed to the heavy NBC gear they are wearing.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Reverend Meeker has kept a small sample of the Blob at the end.
  • Sequel Hook: See Sealed Evil in a Can above.
  • Shout-Out: To the works of Stephen King. Not only does the plot (government creates a biological weapon which could cause The End of the World as We Know It) bear a passing resemblance to that of The Stand, screenwriter Frank Darabont named two of the movie's characters (Brian Flagg and "Can Man") after two from The Stand (Randall Flagg and Trashcan Man). Additionally, Meg Penny is named after Pennywise from It.
  • Sinister Minister: The final scene shows Reverend Meeker having gone off the deep end, preaching a fire and brimstone apocalyptic sermon... and having kept a small piece of the Blob for the very purpose of starting said apocalypse when "the Lord will give him a sign".
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Blob mostly doesn't need to be this, as it kills at will. At the end, though, it gets pretty blatant, as it consistently menaces the main cast holed up in a building, instead of going after the much more accessible tasty mooks still trapped outside.
  • Terror at Make-Out Point: This trope is played with. The Jerk Jock has driven to a secluded spot and gotten his date drunk so he can have his way with her. He looks away for a minute, then begins to unbutton her blouse. When he reaches in, the Blob, who has eaten the girl from the far side, out of his immediate view, grabs him and consumes him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Surprisingly rare in this creature feature; however, one of the chief mooks, upon encountering the Blob with his squad, reminds them "We have orders not to shoot!" - just before the Blob consumes him. The others promptly throw the orders out the window and start fighting for their lives.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Meg starts the movie as a happy, innocent cheerleader living an obviously sheltered lifestyle. During the climax, we see her climbing atop a crashed snowmaker truck, firing an M16 full auto against the titular monster while screaming at it, and then setting up a satchel charge to blow up the truck's liquid nitrogen tanks and take the creature with it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The doctor. He didn't hear Paul and Meg's screaming and come running? Ditto the nurse.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Blob becomes an unstoppable juggernaut at the end, laughing at bullets, fire, and physical attacks. But the protagonists manage to (temporarily) hold it off with fire extinguishers and ultimately defeats it by crashing a truck full of liquid nitrogen into its mass, freezing it into quartzlike crystals.


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