Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” has been one of those eighties horror gems that has been for the most part a difficult title to obtain. Even through the DVD age it was out of print, hard to find, ported on to cheap movie collections and given limited printing on boutique labels. Now Shout! Factory has made the fantastic remake of the 1958 drive in monster movie available for everyone, and it’s been worth the wait. It’s a movie that’s barely shown its age, embracing what made it such a great drive in monster movie, while also injecting it with eighties style.
In a tiny California town, high school students Brian (Kevin Dillon), Meg (Shawnee Smith) and Paul (Donovan Leitch) discover a strange, gelatinous substance that crash lands in a molten hot meteor. Much to their horror, they discover that that ooze inside is sentient and melts the flesh of any living creatures in its path. When the deadly substance gets into the town’s sewer system, it begins growing uncontrollably, occasionally emerging to feast on unsuspecting townspeople. Now growing rapidly with every victim, a military clean-up crew is sent to eliminate the menace, but they just may end up doing more harm than good when the blob becomes too tough to fight.
Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s “The Blob” is one of the best horror remakes of all time, it’s a movie that’s consistently overlooked when mentioned in the list of the great genre remakes. For a time where the horror genre was kind of sputtering, “The Blob” manages to be a measured, well paced, exciting and often gruesome horror movie. It balances camp and horror perfectly, while also fleshing out some engaging horror heroes we can root for. Where as the original was more a mystery that became a monster movie, “The Blob” doesn’t mind putting to use its still fantastic special effects by conveying literally everything the blob is capable of.
Director Russell manages to have a great time with the blob and how it murders its prey, with the gelatinous terror sucking people through pipes, swatting them like flies, pulling them through small holes, and even ensnaring a small boy. The cast is top notch with Kevin Dillon leading the charge with Shawnee Smith who is stellar as underrated horror heroine Meg. Even despite the sentimental value and its role as a childhood favorite, “The Blob” is an A+ horror remake and a genuinely entertaining reworking of a classic horror title. It also commits the feat of making the blob menacing since, let’s face it, not many ever took the original blob all too seriously, to begin with. If you’ve yet to experience, now’s as good a time as any to check out a genuine eighties classic.
Shout! packs the new Collector’s Edition to the brim with new features and some old ones. There’s a new Audio Commentary with Director Chuck Russell, Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner, and Cinematographer Mark Irwin. As moderated by Filmmaker Joe Lynch, Lynch shows his stripes as a number one fan of The Blob, and he conveys some great enthusiasm leading the discussion. Russell, Gardner, and Irwin have fun recounting their time making the film. There’s a new Audio Commentary with Actress and star Shawnee Smith. Joined by a moderator, this isn’t a great commentary as one would hope. Smith seems a bit detached and bored, and the questions don’t allow Smith to emphasize and extrapolate her experience on the film. Ported from the 2014 Twilight Time release, there’s an Audio Commentary with Director Chuck Russell, as Moderated by Film Producer Ryan Turek.
It’s a solo commentary with Turek assisting. Russell is quite engaging and provides both screen-specific remarks and production insight. The new twenty two minute It Fell from the Sky! – An Interview with Director Chuck Russell (Part 1) is the first part of a longer interview with Russell. Here he reminisces on his early creative ventures, co-writing Dreamscape, and Bob Shaye giving him his first directorial gig with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Part two of It Fell from the Sky! – An Interview with Director Chuck Russell is a twenty six minute entry devoted entirely to The Blob and Russell’s memories of seeing the original. This also covers his casting choices, and friendship with writer Frank Darabont. The new We Have Work to Do – An Interview with Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is a fourteen minute interview with legendary character actor DeMunn.
The prolific TV actor remembers the first time he acted on stage, the advice he got from Ellen Burstyn on “Resurrection,” and how he got cast as Sheriff Geller in “The Blob.” The new Minding the Diner – An Interview with Actress Candy Clark is a sixteen minute interview with actress Clack, who remembers how she just wanted to get on movie sets as an extra, working with Lynn Stalmaster and especially Fred Roos. Clark also describes her character of waitress Fran Hewitt and her chemistry with Jeff DeMunn’s. The new They Call Me Mellow Purple – An Interview with Actor Donovan Leitch Jr. is a fifteen minute interview with the British-born actor who discusses favorite horror movies and their makers, how he first came to act, and all his scenes as Paul Taylor in The Blob.
The new Try to Scream! – An Interview with Actor Bill Moseley is an eighteen minute interview with the legendary actor who recollects about his audition for a role in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and how he won it. He also spends a great deal of time telling how he landed the bit part as Soldier #3, his scenes, and what it was like to don the white spacesuit. The new Shot Him! – An Interview with Cinematographer Mark Irwin is an eighteen minute interview with the DP, and his work on Cronenberg’s The Fly, and how helped land him the same occupation on The Blob. The new The Incredible Melting Man – An Interview with Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner is a twenty two minute interview with Gardner who gives a detailed movie CV. He discusses fondly starting out with legends Rick Baker and Stan Winston, his work on other horror movies during the ’80s.
He also explains in great detail how particular scenes were constructed in The Blob as well as the great animatronic work. The new Monster Math – An Interview with Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman is a twenty six minute interview with Gilman who discusses his family auto-racing days, meeting Paul Newman, his career as a props master and a special wardrobe designer. The new Haddonfield to Arborville – An Interview with Production Designer Craig Stearns is an interview with Sterns who was in the same film school and class at USC with John Carpenter and offers some great production stories about working on Halloween and The Fog.
The new The Secret of the Ooze – An Interview with Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian is a nine minute interview with Setrakian who discusses his obsession with monster movies growing up. He also addresses the wrangling that was required to produce the Blob’s tentacles in selected scenes. There’s a new twelve minutes I Want That Organism Alive! – An Interview with Blob Mechanic Peter Abrahamson, the new twenty eight minute Gardner’s Grue Crew – Behind-the-Scenes Footage of Tony Gardner and His Team found on vintage VHS tapes, with Gardner and his crew creating the makeup and Blob effects. There are two Theatrical Trailers from TriStar, an upscaled TV Spot from the VHS, and finally a slide show of over sixty images and stills from the press kit, and various other sources.