The Original Blob

It's indescribable It's indestructible! NOTHING can stop it! Beware of...

The Blob
It crawls
The atomic-age 1950s was a great era for science-fiction films. Space exploration was a reality, the moon landing was just around the corner and there was a  general positivism about the achievements of science and technology in the 20th century thus far. However, the awe and wonder at mankind's own cleverness was tempered by a few kernels of fear. It was also the beginning of the cold war and political paranoia and developments in science sparked trepidation as well as awe - the widespread devastation wrought by the atom bomb was still fresh in the memory of the post-war 50s generation.

Science fiction allowed the 50s obsession with science, technology, space travel and political threats to be played out on screen - films such as IT Came from Outer Space (1951), The Thing from Another Planet (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and The Day the Earth Stood Still meshed with that decade's mindset by touching on the fears and concerns of the 50s psyche.  It's often been suggested that some sci-fi stories were metaphors for something bigger or deeper.

Creepy Crawly
The 1958 psychological cage rattler, The Blob, is a classic B movie of the era, directed by Irvin Yeaworth from a story by Irving H Millgate. The plot centres around a  thick, red, gelatinous substance from outer space that threatens to devour a pleasantly conformist Middle American town. Local teens Steve and Jane, played by Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsault are among the first to experience the horror of the blob but their emphatic warnings and pleas for action are, at least at first, largely ignored by a sceptical townsfolk.

It's all very Freudian. What could the wobbly, perpetually expanding blob represent? Could it be communism..the red peril? Or is it a metaphor for the blood and guts of war? After all, the horrors of WW2 had only happened the decade before. could it be something deeper still...? A big placenta? Was it a portent of the sexual revolution of the next decade on, which was waiting in the wings; the libido let loose..a tangle of raw, red desire, bodily fluids and er...other organic matter? According to at least one of the scriptwriters, the Blob was simply meant to be taken at face value, ie; as a strange entity from outer space. Spoilsport.

The Blob DVD at Amazon
Whatever it represented and perhaps any metaphorical meaning is unconscious, suggesting different things to different people, The Blob struck a chord and what was released as a relatively small budget, independent film became a major hit with mid-century audiences and an enduring cult classic for subsequent generations. The film is also notable for being the vehicle for Steve McQueen's first role as male lead, for which he was paid the handsome sum of US$3,000, having turned down a percentage deal because he couldn't imagine it turning much of a profit. Oh well, the exposure the role afforded him saw many more films and astronomical pay checks come his way.

One of the more memorable scenes in the film involved the blob oozing into a packed cinema and naturally, freaking out the patrons and creating major havoc. With every fresh kill, the pulsating red mass grew redder and bigger, so it did well out of the movie theatre. As a by the by, every year in Phoenixville Pennsylvania, where the film was partly shot, residents hold a Blobfest which includes a re-enactment of the famous cinema scene.

The only way to stop the Blob is by freezing it (another allusion to the cold war?). An airforce jet is recruited to transport the massive alien to the North Pole where it lies dormant - harmless until global warming causing a thaw down and reactivates the creature. Perfect fodder for a contemporary sequel.

The Blob's upbeat, cheery theme song, incongruous as it was with the threatening tone of the storyline, also became a chart topper  - written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David (brother of Hal) and recorded by The Five Blobs: