The Blob Irwin S. Yeaworth

The Blob Irwin S. Yeaworth
7
As discussed on one of the two commentary tracks included with the Criterion Blu-ray release of The Blob, director Irwin S. Yeaworth wasn't interested in filming Science Fiction when approached with this project. Being part of a right-wing Christian group looking to communicate conservative morality through the magic of celluloid, the prospect of otherworldly predators presents an implicit ideological problem by merely suggesting that life isn't specific to Earth. But Yeaworth saw some potential on the story as youth admonitory, realizing the appeal of monster movies to a younger generation that he perceived as socially problematic. As such, The Blob utilizes the Cassandra complex template to build tension between irreverent youth—led by Steve Andrews (Steve McQueen)—and the elders that have long since stopped taking the teenagers of their small American community seriously. This is a problem when the teens discover a small blob rolling around town dissolving everything in its path into its being, resultantly growing exponentially in size. As the danger compounds, the teens are forced to find inventive ways to convince the town of an impending threat whilst speculating about a way to kill the giant maroon blob. Made on a shoestring budget outside of the studio system, the visual effects, for the time, were quite impressive, giving some legitimacy and heft to what would normally be yet another throwaway creature feature. On the second commentary track with film historian Bruce Eder and producer Jack H. Harris, they discuss the use of silicon and proportion distorting cut-outs to make the blob a convincing monster on the big screen. They also provide more contextual anecdotal information than Yeaworth, discussing the scenes that are occurring rather than just prattling on about making the film and other vaguely related nostalgia. Both tracks were recorded a decade ago for the Criterion DVD release of The Blob and as such, won't be anything new for those in the know. What is new is the updated 4K digital restoration and uncompressed monaural soundtrack, which is a noticeable improvement to prior releases when viewed in High Definition. A stills gallery is also included with the Blu-ray, but the main feature here is the upgrade in sound in visuals. While still a tad grainy overall, which is inevitable with a low budget '50s movie, the colour and clarity stand out, ensuring added longevity and shelf-life for a film that managed to exceed expectations and subvert its self-imposed preachy dynamic with actual entertainment value and strong performances from a cast of mostly unknowns. (Criterion)