The Blob

The Blob (1988)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

In my opinion, ’Phantasm II’ is in a tie with Chuck Russell’s ’The Blob’, as the most underrated horror film of the 80s. This film combines exciting action, interesting (if not slightly dated) special effects, and competent acting. When a meteor crashes near the small town of Arborville, all hell breaks loose. A pink ’ooze’ is pulled from the impact crater and it then proceeds to devour everything in its path. Only local teens Paul (Donovan Leitch), Meg (Shawnee Smith), and bad-boy Flagg (Kevin Dillon), suspect that there is danger and try to warn the authorities. As the ’blob’ continues to gorge itself on the locals, it always grows to an incredible size. When the government shows up to help, things only get weirder, leaving the youngsters to save the town.

Co-writer/director Chuck Russell (’A Nightmare on Elm Street 3’, ’The Mask’) and co-writer Frank Darabont (’The Shawshank Redemption’, ’The Green Mile’) have taken the original 1958 Steve McQueen classic and cranked it up a notch. This version of ’The Blob’ contains scenes which are similar to those in the original, but the action is much more kinetic and the special effects are far more explicit. Granted, the film contains some silly scenes, and Flagg’s crisp, white shirt seems to have walked over from another movie, but ’The Blob’ is very fast-paced and exciting, so those quibbles don’t slow it down. The explanation of the ’blob’s’ origin is rather interesting, especially considering that this film was pre-’X-Files’. Also, keep in mind that this film was pre-CGI, so the mechanical effects and green-screen may look cheap in some places, but, overall, the ’blob’ effects are still impressive. ’The Blob’ is a unique film, which combines an old-time sensibility with modern effects and tone.

’The Blob’ oozes onto DVD from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer and has been letterboxed at 1.85:1. For the most part, the image is sharp and clear, but there are some problems. The image is a bit dark, even in the daytime scenes. While there isn’t a great deal of grain present, there are some artifacting defects noticeable during extreme close-ups. The colors are acceptable, given the dark look of this transfer, especially the iridescent pink coloring of the ’blob’. The framing appears to be accurate and there’s no distortion present on the screen.

The soundtrack fares much better, as ’The Blob’ DVD contains an impressive Dolby 2-channel Surround track. While this track doesn’t contain the dynamic range or the ’oomph’ of a 5.1 track, it does provide a nice soundfield and an enthusiastic surround sound array. The dialogue is clear and audible, with no hissing. Also notable is the solid sub-woofer response. The only extra on this DVD is the theatrical trailer for ’The Blob’, which shows a creative use of the film’s logo.