The Blob (Chuck Russell, 1988, USA)

The Blob, Chuck Russell's remake of the 1958 campfest, often flies under the radar. Written in collaboration with Frank Darabont (who would later helm some of the most acclaimed Stephen King adaptations including The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile), the film takes a notably darker take on the subject matter, drawing heavily on John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece The Thing (another reimagining of a classic 1950s B-movie). Made on a small budget, The Blob was not a success when it came out, but has since received more respect and acclaim. 

Despite its tonal difference from the 1950s version of The Blob, the film in many ways follows a similar trajectory as the first film. Again we have the alien slime crash landing in a field, infecting a local farmer, who is then discovered by a group of teenagers. Here the two teenage leads are Kevin Dillon (brother of Matt) and Shawnee Smith (later known for her involvement in the Saw franchise). In contrast to Steve McQueen's all-American protagonist of the original film, Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon) is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, sporting a leather jacket. Russell's Blob notably is different from the first film in that it involves a broader government conspiracy, something we have come to expect in all post-Watergate horror films. 

The film also amps up the gore factor, and the true star of the film is the special effects by Tony Gardner. Gardner has gone on to have a very successful career as an effects artist, and it is not surprising given the promising start he had on this film. The Blob's malevolent force is given shape by Gardner, and some of the victims meet their end in truly horrifying ways. Overall, The Blob is a successful reinterpretation of a 50s classic and worth watching.



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