Friday, November 4, 2011

Beware! The Blob (1972)

The 1958 drive-in movie The Blob is fondly remembered for its absurd premise—a giant mass of radioactive goo invades a city, eating everyone in its path—and for the presence of future superstar Steve McQueen in his first leading role. However, the world probably wasn’t crying out for a sequel, much less one that hit theaters more than a decade after the original. Fitting the lack of marketplace excitement that preceded its arrival, Beware! The Blob is a genuinely terrible movie, noteworthy only for the participation of several familiar Hollywood names. Inexplicably, the picture was directed by Larry Hagman, who was at the time best known for starring in the ’60s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Hagman makes a very brief appearance in the picture, as do fellow cameo players Shelly Berman, Godfrey Cambridge, Carol Lynley, and Burgess Meredith; principal roles are played by second-stringers including Richard Stahl, Dick Van Patten, and Robert Walker Jr. The plot, which couldn’t matter less, involves the blob escaping captivity and attacking another town until our valiant young hero (Walker) traps the gelatinous beastie in an ice-skating rink. The picture was obviously envisioned as a spoof of horror movies, but insultingly cheap special effects and numbingly stupid jokes kill any humor potential, as does the movie’s tendency to wander off on tangents by introducing minor characters who appear onscreen just long enough to get consumed by the Blob. In one particularly pointless bit, a stoned hippie wanders into a barber shop, where the barber toys with him thusly: “I don’t cut hair, I sculpt it. Do you want a hair sculpt? It will be four hundred dollars.” As the saying goes, are we having fun yet? There’s a reason Hagman never directed another feature, and there’s a reason Hollywood ignored this misbegotten flick when it rebooted the Blob franchise more than a decade later with a gory remake of the original movie. Beware, indeed.

Beware! The Blob: SQUARE


Mantan Calaveras said...

This movie is so hip. Especially the opening.

Kevin Mac said...

Mantan, you're probably talking about the opening in the original, with cool as ice sax solo.

The one thing that stands out in this movie is at one point somebody is watching the original on TV. Huh? But...this is...a...sequel to that?

Cue sad trombone sound.

agingbuffoon said...

The wastrel who shotputs liquor at the blob with Burgess Meredith was Del Close, an original member of the second city theatre and guru of improvisational comedy who instructed everyone from Bill Murray to Tina Fey.