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The Blob Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

The Blob Large

Directed by Chuck Russell
Written by Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont
1988, 95 minutes, Rated R
Released on October 29th, 2019

Starring:
Kevin Dillon as Brian Flagg
Shawnee Smith as Meg Penny
Donovan Leitch as Paul Taylor
Jeffrey DeMunn as Sheriff Herb Geller
Candy Clark as Fran Hewitt
Joe Seneca as Dr. Meddows
Del Close as Reverend Meeker

The Blob 01 The Blob 03

Review:

The small ski town of Arborville has more to worry about than a lack of snow as the tourist season approaches when a meteor falls from the sky and releases a gelatinous blob on the unsuspecting population. Football hero Paul Taylor and beautiful cheerleader Meg Penny are out on a first date when an elderly homeless man runs out in front of their car. He is pursued by the local hooligan, Brian Flagg, who points out something funky on the old dude's hand and encourages them to take him to the hospital. Flagg is already the town scapegoat and agrees to tag along so he doesn't get blamed for anything else tonight.

The trio is not at the hospital long before the blob consumes the old man and grows to a surprising scale, eating anything (and anyone) in its path. Meg calls the police for help, but they think Brian is responsible for any suspicious activity. Before long, the creature is attacking the local diner, the movie theater and even rampaging through the sewer system, and it is up to a team of military scientists to contain it by placing the whole town under quarantine. Brian is mistrusting of government authority and opts to head out on his own, but quickly realizes the situation is far worse than anyone anticipated and the entire community is in danger. Can he mature from juvenile delinquent to local hero in time? Not without some assistance from a foxy cheerleader.

The argument that horror remakes suck runs in cycles and while there are plenty of stinkers in the bunch, there are occasional exceptions that actually improve on their cinematic predecessors, including John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986) and now Chuck Russell's The Blob (1988). These cautionary sci-fi tales of the 1950s proved fertile ground for upgrades that add a more pointed look at societal concerns and now include a level of medical terror, with the fear of infection as a common theme in each of their '80s counterparts.

The Blob 02 The Blob 04

Director Chuck Russell (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) co-wrote The Blob remake with the super-talented Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), and together they capture the spirit of the 1958 original film while expanding the possibilities of working the creature into the spotlight of their monster movie. The script is both a fantastic tribute to the classics that came before while also a celebration of good storytelling in a genre overpopulated with psychopaths killing teens. They manage to employ the character archetypes audiences are used to, but develop them in a way seldom seen that make everyone both recognizable and believable. They realize petty differences mean little when faced with an outside threat and willingly work together to preserve their shared interests.

Kevin Dillon (Entourage) stars as the no-good punk, Brian Flagg, and does a fine job playing both a misunderstood youth and a man on a mission. The gorgeous Shawnee Smith (The Stand) is a strong female lead as Meg, the most responsible person in the film. She takes care of her little brother, Kevin (Michael Kenworthy, Return of the Living Dead Part II), and rescues Flagg on more than one occasion. Joe Seneca (Crossroads) has a naturally disarming quality that, even when appearing in a Hazmat suit, makes you want to like him. The supporting cast is just as terrific, including Jeffrey DeMunn (Warning Sign) and Candy Clark (Q: The Winged Serpent), whose characters promise what could be a sweet love story subplot. The always watchable Del Close (The Untouchables) is awesome as the well-meaning Reverend Meeker, who undergoes his own spiritual change, and genre fans will want to keep an eye out for quick appearances from Art LaFleur (Trancers) as the pharmacist and the late, great Jack Nance (Eraserhead) as the town doctor.

The Blob is a really fun movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, but features a strong script that plays the material totally straight. There are nods to the original film and a few surprise twists along the way that play with the conventions of modern cinema. The creature is beautifully realized through the artistry of Tony Gardner (Darkman) and puppeteer Lyle Conway (Little Shop of Horrors, 1986), mixed with some terrific miniature work and forced-perspective shots all perfectly staged by Russell. There's plenty of great stuff to recommend here, so do yourself a favor and add this disc to your collection today.

The Blob 05 The Blob 06

Video and Audio:

The Blob is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and uses the same solid transfer as the 2014 Twilight Time Blu-ray release. Picture quality is strong with rich detail and bold colors.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track opens up the mix to a very active presentation during the numerous blob attacks. Directional effects also shine during the suspenseful quiet moments leading up to each set piece. The original stereo mix is also included with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track.

English subtitles are provided for anyone in need.

The Blob 07 The Blob 08

Special Features:

There are two newly recorded audio commentaries and both are worth checking out. The first is a group commentary featuring director Chuck Russell, cinematographer Mark Irwin and special effects artist Tony Gardner. The lively discussion is moderated by filmmaker/super fan Joe Lynch, whose enthusiasm for this movie sets the tone right away. Lynch asks excellent questions that lead to entertaining and informative answers. There are lots of great production stories that you won’t want to miss.

The second commentary track catches up with actress Shawnee Smith, who hasn’t seen the movie in many years and is excited by the trip down memory lane. She reflects on the production and has nothing but good things to say about the experience. She talks about the ups and downs of her career and her life post acting and her occasional convention appearances greeting fans. Smith is instantly likeable and her stories are endearing although she sometimes goes silent while watching the movie.

The third commentary is a holdover from the earlier release. Moderator Ryan Turek has a relatively easy job on this track with director Chuck Russell in that it doesn't take much prodding to get the stories flowing. Russell is very engaging in this conversational session that allows him to reflect on what is obviously a favorite project. Turek asks all the right questions to keep things moving and a lot of ground is covered within the 95-minute run time.

Chuck Russell sits down for a newly recorded two-part interview that provides both biographical information as well as memories from making The Blob. In the first part, It Fell from the Sky! (22 minutes), he remembers moving to Los Angeles and getting into the film industry and working his way up from writer to producer and eventually making the leap to director. He talks about his early success as a writer on projects like Dreamscape and teaming up with co-writer Frank Darabont and making A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

The second part, I Killed the Strawberry Jam (27 minutes), focuses on the making of The Blob. Russell traces the history of the project starting with securing the rights to the story, writing the screenplay with Darabont, and deliberately subverting audience expectations. Other topics of discussion include designing the look of the blob, casting the film, the challenges of directing and working with special effects. He shares some of his favorite scenes and reflects on the legacy of the film.

We Have Work to Do (14 minutes) catches up with character actor Jeffrey DeMunn, who plays the role of the town sheriff. He reflects on his early days working in theatre and making the transition to film. He happily recalls shooting The Blob and working with actress Candy Clark. The interview concludes with his memories of seeing the film play in a theater to a rowdy audience.

The always-welcome Candy Clark is the focus of Minding the Diner (17 minutes) and she is still fantastic. She talks about growing up in Texas, reluctantly becoming an actress when she preferred working in movies as a background extra. When it comes to this picture she is full of fun stories, including shooting the infamous phone booth scene. She has kind words for Chuck Russell and reveals some of her favorite scenes and her reaction to seeing the finished film.

They Call Me Mellow Purple (15 minutes) catches up with actor Donovan Leitch, who is more than happy to talk about this project. He shares his enthusiasm for working on a well-crafted remake and his memories of the director and the challenges of working with special effects.

Genre vet Bill Mosely got his first break in a studio picture with The Blob in the small but memorable role of Soldier #3. In Try to Scream! (19 minutes) he offers some biographical information on his childhood and his longtime love of horror movies. He tells the story of how he was cast in the film and what he learned as a performer. He reveals how seeing the original Blob as a kid terrified him and what it was like working on the remake. This is another solid interview.

Cinematographer Mark Irwin sits down for the segment Shoot Him! That’s a Direct Order! (18 minutes) and shares his thoughts on shooting remakes of 1950s sci/fi monster movies. He talks about coming up with lighting solutions, working with special effects and shooting on location in Louisiana. He has nice things to say about Chuck Russell and is proud of the finished film.

I Want That Organism Alive! (12 minutes) features Blob mechanic Peter Abahamson, who found himself thrown into the heart of production after volunteering to assist in a small capacity. He shares many production stories about specific effects scenes and has kind words for the artists who created them.

Special effects make-up artist Tony Gardner is at the center of The Incredible Melting Man (22 minutes) and he is an excellent storyteller. He talks about getting his start working for Rick Baker and helping out on various film projects before moving on to The Blob. Originally hired to create a few specific gags, following a shake-up in production he found himself in charge of the make-up shop. He is grateful for what the project did for his career and shares some behind-the-scenes info on the making of some of the film’s more memorable moments.

Gardner’s Grue Crew (28 minutes) sounds more exciting than it is – a collection of behind-the-scenes video from the make-up department. We get a lengthy look at actor Donovan Leitch getting his head and arm cast in alginate, a brief moment featuring the collapsing face puppet and a bit of lighting tests on a melted mechanical hand.

Special effects supervisor Christopher Gilman shares his memories of working on the picture in Monster Math (26 minutes). He begins with stories from his childhood and getting into the industry at an early age performing various jobs, including designing weapons and other props. His main assignment on The Blob was solving how to freeze the creature, which leads to a highly entertaining story involving expensive paints.

In Haddonfield to Arborville (21 minutes), production designer Craig Stearns reflects on his career stating with working with John Carpenter on Halloween and The Fog. He touches on other highlights of genre films of the ‘80s that he had a hand in leading up to his memories of The Blob. He has nice things to say about the production and how smoothly everything ran.

Mechanical designer Mark Setrakian reflects on his career in The Secret of the Ooze (20 minutes), starting with his time working at the industry powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) for a short time. He details his responsibilities on The Blob, including creating multiple versions of the creature and designing its tentacles. He remembers multiple teams of artists working extremely long hours to get the job done and reveals how he contributed to creating the sound the blob makes. He also shares his thoughts on the finished film.

Two theatrical trailers and a TV spot are included.

A still gallery plays as a slideshow (5 minutes) and offers a look at lobby cards, promotional images and international poster art. Photos appear in both color and black and white.

The Blob 09 The Blob 10

Grades:

Movie: Fourstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fivestars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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