Well, it was something like Week 3 of Shelter-In-Place and since we weren’t going to be gathering to watch a movie together and since (unfortunately) Raisa was unable to show the feature she had intended (we’ll get to it this summer, I promise!) I stepped in and found a film we could all watch for free on the pretty nifty http://www.kanopy.com.  But since last time around I picked a heavy foreign film (the sort of title that is perhaps most common on Kanopy) I figured some lighter fare was in order.  And what could be lighter than the 1958 classic The Blob, directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.?  (Not much, it turns out.)

Steve doesn’t have his headlights on, but Jane does

To open the film Steve McQueen – playing “Steve” (we don’t really want to stretch his acting ability too far, it’s his first starring role!) – and Jane (played by I Need A Corset…I mean, Aneta Corsaut) really just want to indulge in some late-night, high-school, matching-shirt rural Pennsylvania canoodling.  I mean, who doesn’t?  Unfortunately, they are interrupted mid-canoodle by a meteorite that lands a ridge away from Lover’s Lane, and Steve, exhibiting the classic symptoms of what would later be recognized as ADHD, gets distracted.

Hot Blob on a Stick

But before Steve can drag Jane out to investigate the meteorite, it is found by an ancient hillbilly Emo Phillips, who pokes at it with a stick until it breaks open…and it’s an egg!  An alien egg!  And out of it Emo fishes a small glob of goopy alien that will be known to the audience as…wait for it…Dennis!  I lied.  It’s the Blob.  (Though, to be honest, I don’t actually remember any of the characters in the film referring to it with that eponym.)  Anyway, the small Blob oozes thixotropically onto Emo’s hand, and he can’t get it off.  And apparently, it hurts.

Luckily (or OK, you might think luckily but it turns out the whole effort was futile) our recent canoodlers show up and give Emo a ride into town to see the doctor.  So while Steve and Jane are out pulling hijinks with their buddies, racing backwards through stoplights and getting to know their local thin blue line, the Blob is busy eating Emo, and a nurse, and finally the doctor himself.  With each sensible dinner the Blob grows in size kind of proportionally with the size of its meal, though by its girth later in the film either there’s a greater-than-one exponent on that factor or the death and mayhem visited offscreen upon this rural Pennsylvania village is far worse than they can really handle.

Pennsylvanian Roulette

Having taken a break from his hijinks just in time to see the doctor get osmosed through the window (Steve sees through the window, the doctor doesn’t get osmosed through the window, that doesn’t make any sense!), he takes Jane down to the police station (hot date, Steve!) where they vehemently deny canoodling and where he reports on the death of the doctor and the incipient alien invasion.  The police, recalling some extremely recent racing backwards through stoplights activity from this very teenager, don’t believe him.  And when they reluctantly go to the doctor’s office only to find nothing there, they’re believing Steven even less.

All I know is that he’s shooting SOMEBODY’S eye out before this movie is over

The police remand the kids to their parents (fortunately, they are different sets of parents, as we hadn’t definitively established that yet), and send them home for the night, only for the rowdy teens to just sneak out again, because who can sleep when an alien amoeba is eating your entire town and the midnight showing of the latest Bela Lugosi flick isn’t even over yet?  Jane accidentally wakes up her brother and his codpiece gun holster, causing the kid to show up from time to time in ways that are supposed to make us fear for his safety, because Yeaworth Jr. thought he was fooling somebody.  Not me, buddy, not me.

Steve Don’t Eat It! It’s still aging!

Well, Steve and Jane go about trying to rouse the citizenry and find the Blob, and they end up getting trapped by its maple-syrup speed in the local grocery store.  Unable to outwit it or outrun it (and that’s saying something!) they find no recourse but to shelter in place in a meat locker.  The Blob begins to ooze under the door, but then unexpectedly stops despite a large amount of grade-B beef just hanging around (not to mention dozens of sides of Angus).

There’s incomplete (incomplete!), epigastric (epigastric!), bladder (huh! bladder!), strangulated (strangulated!), Lumbar hernia (Lumbar hernia!), Richter’s hernia (Richter’s hernia!), obstructed (obstructed!), inguinal, and direct!

Instead, the Blob decides to insinuate itself into the local movie theater (through the projector window, so it kind of gives itself away) and finally, with dozens of panicked teens fleeing into the streets the police are forced to admit that maybe there’s something going on here.

It means to win Wimbledon!

And sure enough, though it appears that all the kids managed to safely make their way out of the theater, at this point we’ve got a full-sized Blood Jell-O on the loose and the heavy petting at the drive-in is all but done so it’s time for some unforgettable action!

There’s a run on Gertrude’s apple pie down at the diner!

Now, if you had asked yourself, “Self?  Where is the safest place to hide in case of a giant alien amoeba attack?” you probably would not have answered with “Why, the local trolleycar diner, of course!”, and by virtue of that you’d be ahead of Steve and Jane and Codpiece Holster.  But hey, we can’t all have our Associate’s Degree in Marketing and Communications Strategies from Upper Northwestern Allegheny State Community College (Go-o-o-o-o-o-o Canaries!), now, can we?

The Neon Tetra, flushed into the sewer, can grow to thousands of times its normal size

With the star of such great upcoming films as The Magnificent Seven, and The Great Escape, and Bullitt, and The Towering Inferno trapped in the basement of an above-ground eatery that should not have a basement because it is a trolleycar, the police and townsfolk have no choice but to try every gimmick in their bag of tricks to rescue him.  Bringing down a live high-tension wire on top of the Blob does no good, and only serves to start a fire in the diner.

Forced to choose between dying by slow digestion of an alien cytoplasm and the quick, sweet liberation of fire, Steve and his pals choose Door #1.  They grab a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, and find that the Joule-Thompson Effect repels the oncoming goo as well!  It can’t stand cold!

It’s 4:20 somewhere

Armed with this information, the locals track down every CO2 extinguisher west of the Delaware Gap and are finally able to bring this alien Blob to the knees it would rightly have if it were a proper ambulatory extraterrestrial species.  Still, they can’t destroy it, so they do the next best thing – they airlift it to the Arctic.  The End.

Or IS it?!?

Was this a good movie?  Come on.  But was it a fun movie?  Heck yeah!  Evidently it was re-made in 1988 for reasons that surely escape even greatest minds among us, but the original is just campy enough to be good, clean fun.  Plus, it has one of the best ready-made riffs of all time:

Polio – by Ralphio Laurenio

Who can say no to that?