As I mentioned two paragraphs back, the 1988 remake of THE BLOB was written by Frank Darabont, who is most famous for adapting and directing THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, and c0-scripter Chuck Russell, who also directed, and on his own is probably most famous for directing Jim Carrey in THE MASK. These guys never seemed happier than when unleashing their vision of THE BLOB upon the world (a suspicion given credence by Darabont’s terrific return to horror with 2007’s THE MIST and 2010′s TV pilot for THE WALKING DEAD) – THE BLOB ’88 is funny, unpredictable, exciting, suspenseful, and occasionally genuinely spooky.
THE BLOB opens with a trio of main characters that are pretty much your basic BREAKFAST CLUB archetypes – the jock, the princess, and the criminal – minus an Anthony Michael Hall or an Ally Sheedy. You’ve got the all-American high school football hero (Donovan Leitch), working up the nerve to ask out the cutest cheerleader (Shawnee Smith), while the rebellious motorcycle punk (Kevin Dillon) sneers in the background. Okay, hang on –
Can we just have a moment of appreciation for Kevin Dillon’s macro-mullet in this movie? No, that’s no mullet – that’s a mane. Kevin Dillon’s hairstylist on this movie must have taken inspiration from that mightiest of jungle beasts, the lion. Truly magnificent.
Meanwhile, back in the film: An asteroid falls out of the sky and spits out some pink sludge that looks not unlike strawberry Jell-O. It’s the title character! A surprisingly stereotypical (even for 1988) old hobo is the first to stumble upon The Blob, which promptly attaches itself to his hand and starts nibbling. The hobo frantically runs around trying to get it off, and runs right into the path of the jock and the princess on their date. The teenagers try to get him help, but things just keep getting worse for everyone from there.
The movie descends into chaos from there, and it’s joyous. The great thing about this movie is that, as jaded as one may be from watching tons of similar movies, you just can never tell exactly where it’s going next. Characters who you were sure were the movie’s main character might be swallowed up early. The authorities, normally an obstacle to heroes because they never believe the threat until it’s too late, here believe the threat fairly quickly — because they’re getting swallowed up by them. No one has movie immunity here – the very young and the very old alike get eaten by The Blob. The kill scenes are original and unusual; they play out as thrilling for gore hounds, and as effectively disturbing to the more well-adjusted. The characters are almost universally likable, particularly Kevin Dillon, the super-cute Shawnee Smith, and Darabont regular Jeffrey DeMunn – and you’re always rooting for them to get out alive, although unfortunately not all of them do.
I won’t say any more than that, but I will provide a brief “Where Are They Now?” update in case you’re curious about what becae of THE BLOB‘s promising young cast:
After filming, the stars of THE BLOB went their separate ways…
Kevin Dillon was shorn of his mighty locks. He wandered steadily through character roles until earlier last decade, where his odd charisma was rediscovered and he went on to entertain millions of douchebags as [arguably] the only remotely likable character on HBO’s Entourage.
Shawnee Smith, as cute and lovable as ever, apparently ran afoul of the Devil and was sentenced to appear in every single SAW movie to date. It gets worse. See her now on FX’s Anger Management. That’s right, the Charlie Sheen show. She deserves better, but that’s not how Satan works.
Jeffrey DeMunn discovered incriminating photographs of Frank Darabont and parlayed that into featured character roles in every movie Darabont has made since.
Del Close, who played the deranged Reverend in The Blob, remained most famous for being a teacher at Second City and having taught just about every great sketch comedian of the past thirty years. He is also credited with having uttered the greatest last words ever.
The Blob has had a roller-coaster of a show business career since its impressive screen debut in 1988.
One year later, it had the highest-profile role of its career as “Pink Mood Slime,” the fearsome adversary of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and company in GHOSTBUSTERS 2. After over-extending itself in that film by attempting to swallow an entire museum, The Blob became addicted to painkillers and was forced to take supporting roles in increasingly shoddy science-fiction films for cash before, in 1997, turning to porn.
That was a dark, dark time.
In 2004, The Blob found Jesus (in a nice callback to the final scene of THE BLOB ’88) and moved to Pasadena.
Today, The Blob hopes to return to mainstream movies, and is now lobbying for roles in both Rob Zombie’s scheduled re-remake of THE BLOB, and in the forthcoming sequel to JULIE & JULIA, against the Blob’s acting idol, the great Meryl Streep.
More up-to-the-minute showbiz info on Twitter!: @jonnyabomb