Blu-ray Review: The Blob (Collector’s Edition)

When original The Blob came out in 1958, the movie became a hit because people wanted to see this giant oozing mess attack a small town. The film remained a hit in theaters and later on TV because the only teenager who could fight the monster from outer space was Steve McQueen (The Magnificent Seven). Thirty years later, people were hesitant when Hollywood wanted to remake The Blob. The film received quite a bit of criticism from reviewers who remembered the simple nature of the original and couldn’t stomach the special effects of the remake. The box office was lukewarm. TV channels preferred to show the original since Steve McQueen was still a big ratings grabber. The remake probably would have been forgotten if it hadn’t been for the home video revolution being in full swing. The fans regularly rented the VHS and shared it with others. They let it be known that the remake deserved to be seen and not scoffed away. Now the film is getting a serious dose of respect with The Blob: Collector’s Edition with a 1080p transfer and enough bonus features to be a weekend fan convention.

Arborville, California is a small mountain town just waiting for the snow so ski season can kick the economy into high gear. Until that time there’s always the high school football game. Paul Taylor (Gas Food Lodging‘s Donovan Leitch) is the star wide receiver who gets enough of the wind knocked out of him during the game to ask cheerleader Meg Penny (Saw‘s Shawnee Smith). She accepts and he’s thrilled. Now he’s got plans after the ref blows the final whistle. While nearly all of the students are at the big game, school bad boy Brian Flagg (Entourage‘s Kevin Dillon) is in the woods riding his motorcycle. Late at night their paths cross when they find a hobo with pinkish goo stuck on his hand. Where did it come from? It emerged from a meteor that cracked when it struck ground in the woods. Instead of contacting the proper authorities, he tried to investigate with a stick and things went bad fast. The three kids rush the hobo to a nearby hospital only to be met with a bunch of indifference until the goo on his hand proves to be extra deadly. The film shocks us by going Janet Leigh on a character that under normal circumstances would be the hero. The more victims the Blob claims, the larger it becomes. The military with their scientists do arrive, but are they really there to save the day. Will anyone in this town survive long enough for the ski bunnies to arrive?

Quite a few of the critics in 1988 scoffed off the film as merely another remake that didn’t really do anything to the original film other than follow the formula. But there’s so much more happening in the remake that didn’t get touched upon in the Steve McQueen original. The military angle alone takes the story into a darker territory. The locals discover the cavalry didn’t arrive to save them. The fact that the character we imagine would be the hero gets gooed early is a bit of a shocker. There’s a lot more action as the battle between humanity and the Blob progresses. There’s quite a bit of grossness on the scene when Blob meets flesh. The ending is extra creepy beyond a Question mark on the screen. They even have cool casting with Jack Nance (Eraserhead) as a doctor and Candy Clark (The Man Who Fell To Earth) running the local diner. If the film has any one big letdown, it’s the semi-mullet on Kevin Dillon that almost competes with the Blob on taking over a head. Maybe if Kevin had a nicer haircut, the film would have been a bigger hit? Or was the disappointing ticket sales just what happens when you open a horror film late in the summer season when the blockbusters were still pulling in big bucks. What 7 films put The Blob out of a top spot? How about Cocktail, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Die Hard, A Fish Called Wanda, Coming to America, Midnight Run and Big. Where are you going at the multiplex? Thankfully The Blob was able to find fans who didn’t let it shrivel away with a cold shoulder. The Blob on Blu-ray will take over your home theater.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer really brings out the detail in the Blob’s attacks that were lost if you only saw it on VHS. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround to get the Blob oozing all over your screening room. There’s also the original sound mix on the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary With Director Chuck Russell, Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner, and Cinematographer Mark Irwin, Moderated By Filmmaker Joe Lynch gets deep into the creation, production and release of the remake.

Audio Commentary with Actress Shawnee Smith shares her memories of fighting the Blob with Johnny Drama.

It Fell From The Sky! (22:26) allows Director Chuck Russell to chart how he went from being a stunt passenger in a Roger Corman production to the director’s chair on The Blob. His friendship with classmate and co-writer Frank Darabont helped. He was able to use his work on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors to get The Blob on the rails. I Killed Strawberry (26:32) is more focused on the making of the film. He brought Russell’s big thing was to hire cinematographer Mark Irwin who had lensed The Fly for David Cronenberg. He would go on to direct The Mask.

We Have Work To Do (14:13) grills actor Jeffrey DeMunn about playing the law when the town gets overwhelmed by a blob.

Minding The Diner (16:40) takes an order from actress Candy Clark. She had already delivered iconic roles in American Graffiti and The Man Who Fell To Earth when she got the part. She talks of how she only wanted to be an extra.

They Call Me Mellow Purple (15:21) gets mellow with Actor Donovan Leitch Jr. He grew up in Hollywood even though his father was English folk superstar Donovan. While he wanted to be a musician, he found himself acting more and more. His first big role was in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Try To Scream! (18:38) gets into the rural early life of actor Bill Moseley.

Shot Him! (18:10) allows cinematographer Mark Irwin to reflect on getting to remake one of his favorite childhood films. His big challenge was to make the Blob look like it was evolving.

The Incredible Melting Man (22:02) allows Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner to talk about his first gig being with Rick Baker on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He did the corpse creature in Return of the Living Dead. This was his next big gig.

Monster Math (26:14) chats with Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman. He talks about being raised to ask questions if he wanted to know something. He grew up in his dad’s auto shop and learned how to work tools. He talks about what went into his Snow Globe prop in The Blob.
Haddonfield To Arborville (20:32) sits back with Production Designer Craig Stearns who had to make the world that the Blob oozed over.

The Secret Of The Ooze (19:41) gets the truth from Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian. He talks about growing up watching Ultraman and Space Giants and reading Howard the Duck comic books. That’s makes him extremely cool in my book. He ended up getting into the ILM group as he worked on his skills making mechanical devices for models.

I Want That Organism Alive! (12:23) gets into the nuts and bolts of ooze with Blob Mechanic Peter Abrahamson. Once he learned that special effects in movies was a job, he had a career direction. His old pal is Mark Setrakian who hired him to work on The Blob during the weekends while he was still in at USC. His summer vacation was with The Blob.

Gardner’s Grue Crew (28:18) features Behind-The-Scenes Footage Of Tony Gardner And His Team. We get to see Donavan Leitch get head and arm casts. There’s also test oozings.

Audio Commentary With Director Chuck Russell, Moderated By Film Producer Ryan Turek is from a previous home video release.

Theatrical Trailers (2:53) points out how you can’t reason, shoot or easily kill The Blob. Man is no longer the supreme being on Earth.

TV Spot (0:32) reminds us that this is a remake from the director of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

Still Gallery (5:00) includes the production shots, lobby cards, international posters, newspaper ads and press kit photos.

Scream Factory presents The Blob: Collector’s Edition. Directed by Chuck Russell. Screenplay by: Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont. Starring: Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark & Joe Seneca. Rated: R. Running Time: 95 minutes. Released: October 29, 2019.

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