The 1950s and the cold war signalled the true rise of the science fiction genre, with the films often being used as metaphors for the fear of nuclear war. One of the most well-known 1950s science fiction film was The Blob, which was one of the earliest film roles for actor Steve McQueen. The film has a rather simple plot involving teenagers discovered that a man-eating gelatinous mass has landed in their town and they have to set out to warn everyone of the danger. Typical of the time, The Blob focuses a bit more on the paranoia over the monster than, the blob itself. The creature is only really shown in quick shots until the climax of the film, which really supports the “less is more” aesthetic of the genre. In fact, for the most part, the film has a human antagonist in the form of a police officer, who believes the kids’ story to be merely an excuse for criminal behaviour. Of course, this antagonism is all but forgotten by the end of the film and only seemed like a way to create some conflict in the bareboned plot. In fact, I would go on to say that the acting as a whole was quite cheesy, which it typical of the genre.
I guess I should talk a bit about the blob itself. While the effects were obviously created using miniatures, I do have to say that the creature effects were quite decent for the time period. It was very obviously a real blob that was moving around and it makes one want to praise practical effects. Of course, late in the film, there were wide shots of a giant blob, which just looked like a matte painting superimposed over the frame. Steve McQueen was in his late 20s when he made The Blob and looked noticeably too old to be playing the teenager he was supposed to be. Of course, the same can be said for every teenage character in the film and casting adults as teenagers has always seemed to be a trait of the genre. By the end of the film I wasn’t all that that concerned with the age issues. Overall, I will say that The Blob is an enjoyable, yet cheesy, 1950s science fiction film. The film was remade in 1988, which goes into much more gory detail of how the the blob devours people. I am definitely quite interested in seeing that version as well. However, that’s for some other time.8 | LIKED IT