The following article was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent Tony Farinella.
If you are a fan of 1980’s horror films, you know Shout Factory/Scream Factory gives them the proper treatment each and every single time as they are like the Criterion Collection for horror fans. They go above and beyond the call of duty with their commitment to the audio and visual aspects of cult classic horror films, and they supply their Blu-rays with tons of special features. They understand you want to know as much as possible about your favorite horror films, and they have done it once again with their collector’s edition of “The Blob,” a remake of the original film which starred Steve McQueen back in 1958.
With this version of “The Blob,” it shows the advancements made at the time in gore and special effects. I don’t think it is fair to necessarily compare the two films since they were released thirty-years apart. One thing they both have in common is they are very enjoyable to watch. I own both of them. I have the Criterion Collection version of the 1958 film, and I am thrilled to add the remake to my collection from Scream Factory/Shout Factory. The gore is also taken up a notch here, and it is sticky, gooey, bloody and completely over the top in the best possible way.
“The Blob” is, of course, a film about a disgusting life-form which comes to a town by the name of Arborville. It is your normal town with a football team, local diner, police and cheerleaders, some of which you would just love to date. Shawnee Smith plays Meg Penny, the local cheerleader who is your girl-next-door type. Her father works at the pharmacy, and she is going on a date with football star Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch Jr.) when they notice something terrible happening all around them. The character blamed for all of this is Brian Flagg who is played by Kevin Dillon, brother of Matt Dillon, and from “Entourage.” He is the bad boy with a motorcycle, and he has a total kickass 80’s haircut. The police can’t wait to put the blame on him, but he is completely and totally innocent.
The blob will eat and destroy anything that gets in its way. You never know when it is going to appear or when it will strike. It is part of a political experiment being overseen by shady scientists with their own agenda, and they are not concerned about the people. The blob started by attaching itself to an old man’s arm, and from there the devastation only increased. It is self-aware enough to have a running time of 95 minutes so the pace is right on point, the kills are interesting and disgusting, and it never feels boring.
Major props go out to Shawnee Smith as she gives a truly committed performance which should remind you of her work as Amanda from the “Saw” franchise. Kevin Dillon is solid as well because he knows how to make this character likable but with an edge. He is someone you would want on your side when the blob hits the fan, if you catch my drift. The effects are also terrific considering the time period this film was released in. The only time the green screen is very, very noticeable is near the end, but even then, it is campy fun.
This was my first time seeing the remake of “The Blob,” and I love both movies. It is great when they get a second home on Blu-ray as well as the proper treatment courtesy of Shout/Scream Factory. There is also just the right amount of humor when the moment calls for it as well. Fun fact: The screenplay was co-written by Frank Darabont of “The Green Mile,” “The Walking Dead,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” This flick is able to gross you out while keeping you entertained and laughing as well, and this is not an easy accomplishment to pull off. However, everyone stepped up their game on this film, and it shows in the final product. I cannot recommend this movie enough if you have not seen it in the past, or if you have seen it and want to own it in this tremendous format.
* * * ½ out of * * * *
Audio commentary with director Chuck Russell, special effects artist Tony Gardner and cinematographer Mark Irwin, moderated by filmmaker Joe Lynch
Audio commentary with actress Shawnee Smith
“It Fell From the Sky!” – an interview with director Chuck Russell
“We Have Work to Do” – an interview with actor Jeffrey DeMunn
“Minding the Dinner” – an interview with actress Candy Clark
“They Call Me Mellow Purple” – an interview with actor Donovan Leitch Jr.
“Try to Scream!” – an interview with actor Bill Moseley
“Shot Him!” – an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin
“The Incredible Melting Man” – an interview with special effects artist Tony Gardner
“Monster Math” – an interview with special effects supervisor Christopher Gilman
“Haddonfield to Arborville” – an interview with production designer Craig Stearns
“The Secret of the Ooze” – an interview with mechanical designer Mark Setrakian
I Want that Organism Alive! – an interview with Blob mechanic Peter Abrahamson
“Gardner’s Grue Crew” – behind-the-scenes footage of Tony Gardner and his team
Audio Commentary with director Chuck Russell, moderated by film producer Ryan Turek
Blu-Ray Info: “The Blob (1988)” is released on a Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray from Shout Factory/Scream Factory. The film is rated R and has a running time of 95 minutes.
Audio Info: The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For a film that is thirty-one years old, it sounds terrific. All of the dialogue between the actors is easy to understand without any issues whatsoever. When the gory scenes come up, they also have a real sizzle to them as well. Subtitles are in English.
Video Info: The 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer is out of this world. There are no signs of grain, dust, or dirt when watching this film. It is incredibly clear and vibrant on screen.
Should You Buy It?
With so many special features on this wildly fun flick, it’s a no brainer when it comes to buying “The Blob (1988).” I wish I had seen this movie sooner, but to be honest, I didn’t even know there was a remake of the original until recently. I’m glad there is and that Shout/Scream Factory is there to make it available for purchase for hardcore horror fans such as myself and so many others out there. The film is a gory ride which has a very satisfying and fun conclusion. You always get your money’s worth and then some with Shout Factory/Scream Factory titles, so you will not be disappointed when you pick this one up. As a matter of fact, it would make a great double feature with the original flick.