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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Blob (1988) (Limited Edition Series) (Blu-ray)
The Blob (1988) (Limited Edition Series) (Blu-ray)
Twilight Time // R // October 14, 2014 // Region Free
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted November 9, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

The filmmakers behind this 1988 remake of The Blob understand how ridiculous a giant gelatinous killer really is. Chuck Russell directs from a script co-written by Frank Darabont, and The Blob embraces its B-movie mentality like a long-lost lover returned. Thirty years of special effects maturation allows this remake to up the gory ante, and The Blob is delightfully over-the-top and disgusting. Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith star, and the film again takes place in a sleepy town terrorized by an alien life form. Darabont understands the importance of natural humor in such a ridiculous movie, and the film uses sight gags and witty, self-aware digs to good results. Squishy, loud and begging for audience participation, the remake of The Blob is an unexpected treat.

Like the original, a meteor brings an unexpectedly hungry alien presence to earth. Among the first victims is a homeless man (Billy Beck) that investigates the crater. Town jock Paul (Donovan Leitch) is on a date with nice-girl Megan (Smith), when he nearly runs over the injured man. Paul, Megan and bystander Brian (Dillon) rush him to the hospital, but the Blob soon devours the entire lower half of the man's body before escaping into the night. The local police are appropriately skeptical of Megan's wild story, so she and Brian rush to a local theater to save Megan's younger brother (Michael Kenworthy). As the town goes to hell, the group attempts to stop the unyielding Blob from killing everyone in its path.

There is something rather satisfying about watching a pure, unexplained phenomenon devour random townsfolk with ease. The Blob is not evil and it is not on some revenge mission. The Blob just is. The jelly-like, mutating thing is a ridiculous villain in the best sense of the word. The film wisely plays each death scene like a sick joke that is still kind of scary. Bones crack, heads explode and blood gushes in this nasty little remake. The sight of the creeping Blob elicits titters, but the subsequent gore still manages to shock. Tony Gardner's special effects are impressively realized given the film's age and modest $19-million budget, the principal cast understands what Russell and Darabont are doing here.

This film is not a thoughtful reimagining of the simple original but a sort of before-its-time meta thriller in on the joke. The supporting cast is only used as Blob bait, but Dillon and Smith survive the apocalypse well together. Dillon appears amazingly young at 23, and most viewers familiar with Saw and Smith's Amanda character in that series will not recognize the actress here. Darabont proves skilled at meshing horror and humor, and Russell seems more talented than his limited directorial career indicates: Bless the Child and The Scorpion King, really? For a film about a giant killer Blob you cannot do better than the 1958 original. This follow-up should definitely be your second choice.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image reveals the film's low budget and cheap-o, 1980s camera stock, but is far from bad. The grain levels vary due to the source, but that's OK and a much better alternative than a DNR-riddled image. Sharpness varies throughout, but there are many scenes that exhibit striking detail and texture. Black levels are important to the film and look quite good, as does the color saturation. I noticed very little print damage and a striking lack of digital tinkering.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is active and exciting, with plenty of surround action thanks to the rampaging Blob. Dialogue is clear and balanced appropriately amid the chaos. Surround effects immerse the viewer in the gleefully gruesome world, and the LFE is quite responsive. English SDH subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

Twilight Time releases The Blob as part of its "Limited Edition Series," and all 5,000 units produced are now sold out. Better check eBay, folks! The disc is packed in a standard Blu-ray case, which includes a multi-page booklet. Extras include an Audio Commentary by Director Chuck Russell and "Horror Authority" Ryan Turek that discusses the production and "deeper meaning" of the Blob. You also get a Q&A session with Russell, Friday Night Frights at the Cinefamily (18:00/HD); the Green Band (1:27/HD) and Red Band (1:23/HD) trailers; and an Isolated Score Track in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Although the 1958 original is probably a superior film, this 1988 remake of The Blob is extremely entertaining thanks to solid writing from Frank Darabont and some gleefully nasty effects. The film, about a giant killer jelly mass from outer space, never takes itself too seriously, and actors Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith are game for the mayhem. Twilight Time's Blu-ray looks and sounds good, and features some nice bonus content. Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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