The Blob Blu-ray Review
Directed by Chuck Russell
Written by Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont
1988, Region A, 95 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on October 14th, 2014
Limited to 5,000 copies - SOLD OUT
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
Paul McCrane as Deputy Bill Briggs
Art LaFleur as Mr. Penny
Michael Kenworthy as Kevin Penny
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 are 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.
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 makes 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 (The Mist) and Candy Clark (Q: The Winged Serpent) who 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 track down this disc before it gets out of reach. Twilight Time has released the title in a limited run of 5,000 copies and these have already sold out!
Video and Audio:
The Blob is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has never looked better. Picture quality is stronger than that of the previous DVD with plenty of small object detail, bright colors and deep black levels.
The DTS-HD 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 the next set piece.
English subtitles are provided for anyone in need.
Moderator Ryan Turek has a relatively easy job on this commentary 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 over the 95-minute run time.
Fans of the soundtrack will be happy to note that the score by Michael Hoenig (The Gate, The Wraith) is included in an isolated music track for your listening pleasure.
There is a nice Q & A panel (18 minutes) with Chuck Russell that is highly entertaining and informative, recorded at the Cinefamily Friday Night Frights before a recent screening.
A pair of trailers rounds out the special features on this disc.