The 1958 cult classic “The Blob” arrives on a single-disc Blu-ray package featuring an alien invasion story set in a small American town. Considered as one of the most successful monster-horror romps of the 1950s, this campy flick directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. transcended the schlock sci-fi, horror, and teen delinquency genres of the decade. Since then, it has endured as an iconic piece of American cinema. It stars Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland, and Stephen Chase.
After a meteor crash, a gelatinous mass of protoplasm, which turns out to be an alien monster ready to consume human flesh and other forms of life on Earth, starts terrorizing the sleepy community. A rebellious teen couple tries to warn the townsfolk about their impending doom. However, everyone thinks they are trying to pull a prank on them. In no time, the voracious parasitic blob rolls around in its gooey greatness to wreak havoc in a way no one has experienced before.
Shot in beautiful Technicolor, it is interesting to note that this motion picture is one of the most memorable and best-looking low-budget films of its kind. Considering its limitations on budget and resources, it is certainly not a perfect film. Yet, its ingenious low-tech special effects for its time and its campy treatment make it especially appealing in its own way.
Even with its source material’s age and condition, the Blu-ray transfer delivers an appreciably cinematic quality. The full-bodied color palette allows the visual elements to leap off the screen with astounding definition and resolution. A thin layer of natural grain is consistently present and skin tones always look healthy and lifelike. The film’s comfortably bright contrast displays blacks that are often inky and penetrating, as well as highlights that are usually bright and vivid.
The disc sports an LPCM mono track that has a surprisingly good range of nuanced dynamics. All things considered, the dated track of this cult B-movie drive-in classic may be limited by the quality and condition of its source, but it still provides a relatively spacious soundscape for the story’s needs. Some minimal crackling noise and hiss may still be present, but not to the point of annoyance. Speaking lines and character interactions remain clear, stable, and easy to follow.
The package offers a handful of fan-pleasing extras. These include an audio commentary by producer Hack H. Harris and film historian Bruce Eder, an audio commentary by director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. and actor Robert Fields, a leaflet featuring an essay by critic Kim Newman, the film’s original theatrical trailer up-converted to home video in HD format, and a massive personal collection of stills, posters, behind-the-scene photographs, publicity materials, and movie memorabilia by Wes Swank, which is showcased in HD video in the special feature entitled “Blobabilia!” The disc also supplies an option for English SDH subtitles.
In retrospect, “The Blob” works as a highly entertaining romp of genre fare and imaginative visual effects from the 1950s. Its distinctive charm and success as an alien invasion shocker proves that it is one of B-movie filmmaking’s finest and long-enduring gem. Even with its storytelling imperfections and technical shortcomings, it ultimately shines as a cleverly subtle tongue-in-cheek feature that uses a memorably silly story to convey a political allegory about a big red monster quietly destroying America. As a whole, it is a clearly outdated piece, but it still offers undeniably good fun and horror for its target audience.