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MIDNIGHT SPOOK OF THE ORIGINAL 'THE BLOB' W/ STEVE MCQUEEN

YEAR of The Blob: 1958
Make them listen to me. There is a monster! We saw it again at dad's store, and it's BIGGER now!
During the prelude of an eclectic and highly successful career, Steve McQueen, billed as Steven McQueen as a dude named Steve, has never played a character so untrusted, underrated or downright frustratingly unappreciated: He knows what everyone, including his best girl, has strong, stubborn doubts about. And we're not only supposed to believe that the rugged-looking, world-weary McQueen is a teenager but that he'd actually get taunted, goaded and bullied by the small town by a bunch of car-jerks who look as if they'd follow him, and not the other way around...

YEAR of The Blob: 1958
Well it doesn't last long here. Soon enough the gang joins forces with McQueen and ingenue Aneta Corsaut as Jane (just don't call her "Janie Girl"), who discover the meteor that landed earlier was the cause of a very terrible thing, which otherwise inexperienced director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. — produced by Jack H. Harris (a poor man's William Castle or, later, Roger Corman) — pulls together very well. In fact, above and beyond the legendary concept, title and special effects is a story that takes time to build — just like the alien menace...

Robert Fields & Gang BLOBScore: ***1/2
Since the first act has loads of dialogue, there are times when McQueen, years before becoming devoured in the Cool persona that would pull him through just about any picture, seems like he's rehearsing in an actor's workshop with second-lead Earl Rowe as a friendly cop trying to trust him...

Meanwhile, head gang member Robert Fields (who later co-starred with our friend Sally Kirkland in ANNA) fits more in the "young punk" shoes since McQueen's not all that natural in the role... but through the pandemonium he does feel safe to be with, which his Jane doesn't entirely trust, screeching and screaming through most of the picture as THE BLOB finds effective ways of getting in and out of places. And for more modern horror fans, this might be one of those dated movies that started something improved upon by better special effects: But the goopy stop-motion is still pretty neat, and there IS a truly nightmarish, eerie tingling in the bones when the smaller blob grabs its first victim (an old farmer) and won't let go...

Steve aka Steven McQueen headlines THE BLOB
Eventually enlarging to a massive size, famously emptying a frantic movie theater, the prior slowburn, tempered cadence turns into a KING KONG like creature feature, making THE BLOB significant in not just horror flicks but connected sub-genres like body-count, grotesque, paranoia, teens in danger (who the authorities don't trust), youngsters, a cute dog in peril, and, like JAWS, it proves that if a thing — anything in this kind of picture — is established well enough in its origin, anything is believable thereafter. Especially ironic given the fact that most of THE BLOB is McQueen frantically trying to convince people that it's all for real — funny that it didn't all take place on Maple Street where it'd feel right at home!
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