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The Blob (1988)

Middle America is under attack again. This time an archetypal small town is invaded by a hungry smudge of ooze that absorbs anything it comes across and expands into a globbering mass of protoplasmic nastiness that shoots out killer tendrils, snacks on necking teens and generally rips up the countryside. Our hero is Brian, played by Matt Dillon's even less talented brother, a leather-jacketed hoodlum whose sensitive underside is heavily telegraphed and who teams up with cheerleader Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) to kick some slime when it looks like the feckless authorities won't do anything to deal with the crisis. The Blob was first seen in 1958, when the young 'Steven' McQueen had the Dillon role, and has subsequently been glimpsed in Larry Hagman's Son of Blob spoof. This is the hi-tech, special effects-clogged remake, in which the red jelly is put through far more rigorous paces and allowed to do some more spectacular eviscerating and absorbing. Other recent remakes of '50s s-f hits - Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Thing, The Fly - have embroidered their originals and created genuine updates of their premises, but this Blob follows Godzilla 1985 and Invaders From Mars by simply being a more expensive elaboration without an original idea in its head. With hackneyed characterisations - evil government scientist, cool rebel, football hero, drunken preacher - and gloopy effects out of John Carpenter's The Thing, this throws in images and sequences ripped off from Them!, E.T., Aliens and so on, The Blob is a pleasant diversion when its monster is in action and mildly irritating the rest of the time. In the end, the new multi-purpose monster is somehow less fearsome and less interesting than the simple slime from the original film. And don't expect Kevin Dillon to appear in remakes of The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Getaway or An Enemy of the People.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: City Limits (issue unknown)


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