What fan of ’50s alien-monster movies wants to shell out $30 for a Criterion Bluray of The Blob, a mildly amusing drive-in flick in which a 28 year-old Steve McQueen plays an anxious teenager? Criterion’s affection for this 1958 film is mystifying, especially with William Cameron Menzies‘ Invaders From Mars — the spookiest and most artful low-budgeter of this type ever made — still un-Blurayed as we speak.
If not Invaders why doesn’t Criterion put out a Bluray of Them! or the 1951 version of The Thing or any ’50s monster-invasion flick with at least a semblance of lasting merit? If they’re going to Bluray The Blob they might as well do it to Gorgo and The Mysterians.
The less McQueen “acted”, the better he was. The more he was required to “act”, the worse he was. His dese-dem-dose Bronx accent in Somebody Up There Likes Me was godawful, and he’s not very good at expressing alarm and confusion in The Blob either, and has particular difficulty with phrases like “it’s this mass that keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
McQueen was so broke as filming began that he took a $3000 fee rather than an offer of 10% of the profits, which would have been around $200,000 as The Blob made $4 million with roughly $2 million returning to the distributor.
For whatever bizarre financial reason The Blob “was filmed in and around Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,” says the Wiki page. “The primary shooting took place at Valley Forge Studios, and several scenes were filmed in the towns of Chester Springs, Downingtown, Phoenixville and Royersford, including the basement of a local restaurant named Chef’s.”
The Blob is thin gruel. The kitschy aspects are diverting but after a half-hour you’re looking at your watch. It doesn’t fit the Criterion profile because it only operates as an amusing wallow. It doesn’t go anywhere else. It’s one of those hokey films that allows the most clueless person in the world to feel hip and superior. “Heh-heh, Jesus…look at this thing…what a low-budget wank…yaw-haw…look at that cheeseball effect…it looks like jello mixed with thick strawberry syrup!…hah, that was funny.”