Earlier this week I ventured onto Facebook to ask friends/acquaintances what remakes (in their humble opinions) were either as good as or better than the films from which they were drawn from. The answers from everyone varied from opinions of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, MANIAC, LET ME IN, THE FLY, and countless others. While I disagreed with some, there were quite a few that I agreed with (LET ME IN was not one of those that I was on board with, while it’s a good movie, the original gives a feeling unparalleled by Reeves’ retelling), such as what Icons of Fright’s own Justin Edwards said: Chuck Russell’s 1988 remake of THE BLOB. So, I figured what better way to talk about how I whole heatedly agree with Justin, than with a brand new A LOOK BACK AT article. Read on!
A remake of the 1958 film of the same name, Check Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS)’s THE BLOB is a horror film that continually knocks the hell out of you at a pretty steady pace. It’s a gory piece of cinema, but never overly relies on the gore to move the story on, instead what keeps viewers hooked, is a more than solid script written by Russell and his writing partner at the time, Frank Darabont (director of THE MIST, THE GREEN MILE, and season one of THE WALKING DEAD). It’s a film that was made by horror fanatics for horror fanatics, and never treats its audience like idiots.
THE BLOB begins with a meteorite falling into the woods in a small California town. A local homeless man comes across it, and a gelatin-like substance instantly attaches itself to the man, spreading the blob-like substance even further. The film then sets up its main characters: Brain Flagg (ENTOURAGE‘s Kevin Dillon), a rebel on a dirtbike who has by FAR one of the worst hairdo’s of all time, along with a button up shirt that makes him look more like a chef or a pirate than a badass; Megan Penny (SAW‘s Shawnee Smith), a nice cheerleader (wait..there are nice cheerleaders?, where the hell were they when I was in school?!); and lastly, Paul Taylor (’60s folk singer, Donovan’s son, also named Donovan Leitch), a football player with a heart of gold. While Flagg is too busy being a tough guy, chain smoking badass, Paul continually tries to win Megan’s heart and nothing seems to go right for him.
While wandering through the woods, Flagg stumbles across the blob-covered transient, who decides to hack away at his own arm, before running away. Flagg runs after him, and the man is accidentally hit by Paul and Megan, who are on a date. The three youngsters take the man to the hospital, where turmoil breaks out, and the blob grows in size, killing folks (including one of the three main characters, giving us one awesome DVD cover). The rest of the film follows Flagg and Megan, as they try to escape and then ultimately attempt to stop the blob from killing the whole town (wait..I just gave away the fact that Paul died…oops. C’mon folks, nice guys never live. We all know chicks dig the bad boys..right?).
Now, let’s talk about that for a second. While growing up, I did not have a single positive experience involving my school’s football team (trashcans, lockers, and knocking my books out of my hands regularly), I’ve got to say..Paul, in my opinion would’ve made a hell of a lot more interesting lead that Flagg. While I adore this film, the look, and overall attitude of Flagg never quite lives up to the “guy that you want to get the girl”-type Paul. Maybe it’s Leitch’s performance in 1992’s GAS FOOD LODGING that gave me a soft spot for the usually cast as a loner actor Leitch, but when Paul dies and Megan’s in the hands of Flagg, you almost want the start a riot (or at least CUT THAT FUCKING MULLET!!). Why did EVERY cool guy in movies have a mullet back then?? I happen to think I’m pretty badass and I have never ONCE had a mullet. Proof:
Just sayin…how are we supposed to root for a dude who can’t even have a decent haircut?..Ok, bad, insanely long jokes aside, Paul should’ve lived, that’s all.
Where THE BLOB succeeds, in my opinion, is in its balls out approach. Most horror films to have come out around this time, with the exception of HALLOWEEN 4 (damn that ending is brutal), played it so safe, that walking in, you already knew that certain types were safe. The good, likable guys will live, kids will obvious get away and well..endearing characters always ride off into the sunset. What THE BLOB does, however, is take those comfort zones, and shoot them straight to hell. We already know that Paul dies (again, WHY?!), but hot damn, if Russell doesn’t kill off Jeffrey DeMunn’s nice guy sheriff, a few kids, and pretty much every sweet as pie character with the exception of mullet-poster boy Flagg, Megan and a decent amount of townsfolk. Not only do they kill them, but they effin KILL THEM, the FX in this film are amazing.
So before I go on yet another pro-Paul, anti-Flagg rant, I’ll bring this all to an end. Here are the facts: THE BLOB is a fun as hell, gory, and thoroughly entertaining movie. It has great performances (yes, even with the pirate shirt and the mullet, Kevin Dillon is pretty good in it), spectacular FX, and a script that in my opinion destroys the original. If you’ve seen it and agree, then hell yes, you’re on the team. If you’ve seen it and disagree, then you know what, you’re still cool. HOWEVER, if you have NOT seen it, do yourself a favor and buy it on Amazon, or rent it. It’s a fun movie, and you will not regret it. Until next time folks, have a good one.
1.) If ANYONE ever wants to talk movies, hit me or the Icons crew up on twitter (Rob G, Justin, Kalyn, Aaron, Norberto, and myself. I forgot the others’ Twitter names, but you can find them through us).
2.) Just because I’m a jerk who likes to get the last laugh, I can’t let Paul go out like he did in THE BLOB, so on top of the trailer for the movie, I’ve included Donovan Leitch getting the last laugh, but in a different film. Here ya go!