Even though I grew up in the 1980s, I never really started to watch horror films until the 1990s, so there are a lot of classic 80’s horror that I’ve never seen. One of these films is the 1988 remake of The Blob.
It’s been a lean year for the small town of Arborville, which is preparing for the ski season, when tourists will finally bring a lot more business for the town. Most of the residents are at the local high school football game, but mulleted delinquent Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon) is out drinking and smoking in the forest, riding his motorcycle when a meteorite comes crashing from the sky. An old bum that lives in the woods goes to check it out, and a small gelatinous creature from inside the cracked meteorite attaches itself to his arm. He starts screaming, and trying to chop his own hand off. Paul chases after the man, but he runs into the middle of the street just as football star Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) and cheerleader Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) are driving by. The couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn as they now find themselves driving Brian and the old man they hit with their car to the doctor. However, it isn’t long before they discover that the odd thing attached to the man’s hand is alive and quite deadly. It starts consuming the residents of Arborville, growing in size with each body it dissolves and assimilates.
The teens, along with Sheriff Herb Geller (Jeffrey DeMunn), his deputy Bill Briggs (Paul McCrane), diner worker Fran Hewitt (Candy Clark), and other residents of Arborville must now figure out a way to stop the creature before it wipes out the entire town. However, this blob may not be the only issue they have to deal with—when a government agency shows up to contain the creature, things get even more dangerous and complicated.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has a great blend of horror and character drama mixed with some humor. The film does a great job of setting up the characters, and organically revealing their backstories. In addition to the developing romance between the teens, we also get a sense that there is a connection between the sheriff and the waitress. And over the course of the film we discover that delinquent Brian isn’t really the bad guy that his reputation claims.
Early on, the film sets up things that lead to some nice payouts later on, but there are also lots of genuine surprises throughout the movie. Just when you think a character is safe, he or she becomes the blob’s next victim. This lets the viewer know early on that no one is ever truly safe from this creature. Typically in horror films, it’s the morally corrupt or sinful teens who get their comeuppance, but this blob is impartial when it comes to its victims. (Not that there aren’t those people you enjoy seeing become the blob’s next snack.) I found myself constantly surprised by the twists and turns. Overall, the story is quite well done…just don’t necessarily get too attached to any characters!
Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent. The picture quality is fantastic, with really black blacks, and just a pleasant amount of grain. There are a few moments where you can see the outline of the creature, or where it doesn’t quite blend into the rest of the scene, but for the most part, the practical effects hold up quite well thirty years later. In many ways the creature reminded me of The Thing, where it constantly evolves its shape, and even takes on the outline of its victims at times. The blob may be slow-moving, but the filmmakers have done an excellent job of making it a scary menace.
For this release, Shout! Factory has ported over the director’s commentary from Twilight Time’s previous 2014 limited edition Blu-ray release, and has also added a massive amount of new bonus material—two brand new audio commentaries, over 4 hours of brand new retrospective interviews with the cast and filmmakers, some trailers, a TV promo, and a photo gallery. The disc comes packed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a slipcover. Like many other Shout Select releases, the insert inside the cover is reversible, giving the viewer a choice in how to display this title in his or her collection. The alternate view for this title can be seen below:
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo
- Subtitles: English
Almost all of the bonus features are new to this release, except for the director’s commentary moderated by film producer Ryan Turek
- Audio Commentary With Director Chuck Russell, Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner, And Cinematographer Mark Irwin, Moderated By Filmmaker Joe Lynch (1:35:00)
Filmmaker Joe Lynch provides a lively and entertaining commentary with cinematographer Mark Irwin, special effects artist Tony Gardner, and co-writer/director Chuck Russell. Joe Lynch is an avid fan of the film, and his excitement is infectious. The participants share lots of fun and interesting behind-the-scenes stories about the production.
- Audio Commentary With Actress Shawnee Smith (1:35:00)
Justin Beahm with Shout! Factory and Reverend Entertainment moderates this commentary with star Shawnee Smith, who hadn’t seen the film in decades. The actress sounds honestly excited and happy to revisit the film, and is appreciative of the fans and the folks who gave her the opportunity to work on it. She shares stories about the production, as well as what it was like for her growing up in Hollywood. Early on there are some gaps of silence in the commentary, as the actress gets distracted, but the moderator does an excellent job of getting things back on track and making sure stories are completed. It ends up being a very entertaining commentary.
- Audio Commentary With Director Chuck Russell, Moderated By Film Producer Ryan Turek (1:35:00)
This commentary previously appeared on the 2014 limited edition Twilight Time Blu-ray release. Ryan Turek, managing editor of ShockTillYouDrop.com, moderates this commentary/interview with director Chuck Russell, who talks about how this reboot came about and why he wanted to make it, casting the leads, and more.
- It Fell From The Sky! – Interview With Director Chuck Russell / Part 1 (22:26)
Director Chuck Russell talks about his career leading up to The Blob, including his early creative work in the theater and the experience and skills he gained from that work, his move to Los Angeles, learning about filmmaking and stuntcraft while working on a Roger Corman film, becoming an assistant director, working on A Nightmare on Elm St 3, and what he learned from Bob Shaye.
- I Killed the Strawberry – Interview With Director Chuck Russell / Part 2 (26:32)
Director Chuck Russell talks about The Blob, including seeing the original film as a child, getting the rights to the film, getting producer Jack Harris to take a chance on the project, working with Frank Darabont, writing the script, the special effects, the cast, filming in Abbeville, Louisiana, shooting the various deaths with practical effects, and more.
- We Have Work To Do – Interview With Actor Jeffrey DeMunn (14:13)
Actor Jeffrey DeMunn talks about getting the acting bug from a high school theater production and his first professional roles, taking the role of Sheriff Herb Gellar, working on the film, and seeing the completed film in Times Square.
- Minding The Diner – Interview With Actress Candy Clark (16:40)
Actress Candy Clark talks about growing up in Fort Worth, TX, her early creative outlets, modeling and working as an extra, getting the role of Fran Hewitt, filming her scenes, working with director Chuck Russell, seeing the film for the first time, and more.
- They Call Me Mellow Purple – Interview With Actor Donovan Leitch Jr. (15:21)
Actor Donovan Leitch Jr. talks about growing up in Hollywood and his early roles, getting the role of Paul Taylor, working with director Chuck Russell, remaking a classic monster movie, filming his effects scenes, seeing the film for the first time, and more.
- Try To Scream! – Interview With Actor Bill Moseley (18:38)
Actor Bill Moseley talks about growing up in Barrington, IL, his early creative outlets, coming of age in the Catlow Theater, seeing the original The Blob in the theater, moving to Los Angeles and getting the role of Soldier #3, working with director Chuck Russell, seeing the film for the first time, and more.
- Shot Him! – Interview With Cinematographer Mark Irwin (18:10)
Cinematographer Mark Irwin talks about how his biggest challenge was to make sure the blob evolved as it consumed each new victim, ensuring the lighting remained consistent throughout the film, working with the visual effects, shooting Louisiana as a New England town, covering the streets in frozen blob, shooting on soundstages, working with director Chuck Russell, working with the monster makers, and more.
- I Want That Organism Alive! – Interview With Blob Mechanic Peter Abrahamson (12:23)
Blob Mechanic Peter Abrahamson talks about how he ended up working on the film, which started with simply helping out best friend Mark Setrakian and the rest of the blob shop crew on the weekends and eventually developed into a full time job. He recounts some fun stories about bringing the creature to life in various scenes, and what it was like seeing the completed film for the first time.
- Gardner’s Grue Crew – Behind The Scenes On The Blob (28:18)
Raw behind-the-scenes footage of Tony Gardner and his team at work, presented with an audio score but no dialogue. The majority is a 19-minute segment of actor Donovan Leitch Jr. getting plaster molds done of his face and arm, plus footage of other various sculpted creature models, appendages and effects tests.
- The Incredible Melting Man – Interview With Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner (22:02)
Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner talks about his early work with Rick Baker and other film projects, and how The Blob turned into his first major solo project. He discusses the use of practical effects to bring the creature to life, and coming up with creative ways to have it consume its victims.
- Monster Math – Interview With Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman (26:14)
Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman talks about his early creative outlets, moving to Los Angeles and getting a job at a prop shop, and starting his own effect shop. He then talks about the various props he and his company built for The Blob.
- Haddonfield To Arborville – Interview With Production Designer Craig Stearns (20:32)
Production Designer Craig Stearns talks about growing up in Vermont, moving to Los Angeles to go to film school, and some of his various film jobs, such as working on Halloween with John Carpenter, Children of the Corn, and The Shining miniseries. He then talks about working with director Chuck Russell and his work on The Blob, and filming in Abbeville, Louisiana.
- The Secret Of The Ooze – Interview With Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian (19:41)
Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian talks about growing up with a love of monsters, his early mechanical creature creation that got him a job at ILM, and how he got the job on The Blob. He then talks about how the effects shop worked for the film, some of the effects they produced, how the sound of the creature came about, and more.
- Theatrical Trailers (2:52)
The green and red band trailers for the film.
- TV Spot (:32)
- Still Gallery (5:00)
Slideshow of production photos, posters and set photos that auto-advances every 5 seconds.
The Blob is an excellent horror film that holds up quite well 30 years later. Filled with interesting characters, a scary creature, and lots of unexpected twists, it is sure to please audiences. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great and contains over 4 hours of brand new retrospective interviews with the cast and filmmakers, plus two new audio commentaries. This is a must own for any fan of the movie or fan of classic horror in general, but also highly recommended for anyone looking for a fun and thrilling horror film.