The Blob (1988)

Most accounts of alleged visits from space aliens seem to imply the intelligence of the creatures from beyond the Earth. If true, alien abductions and the existence of advanced spacecraft capable of feats far beyond Earthbound planes or shuttles would definitely indicate an advanced intelligence equal to or beyond our own. Most science fiction stories follow this thinking. Aliens have either malicious or benevolent designs on the citizens or creatures of Earth. Humanity’s response to those incursions drives those stories. However, the assumption that all alien life that may reach our planet is intelligent is kind of silly in retrospect. Even the assumption that aliens are remotely humanoid seems to be a reach. What if the aliens are thoughtless and formless and driven only to consume? We got some of that in The Stuff but these types of movies still seem to be in the minority.

There are plenty of things born on Earth that would qualify as something alien to us although we hardly notice them. For example, there are 900 species of slime mold in the world. Slime molds are a collection of amoeba-like creatures bound together in a sheath of protoplasm. This seemingly simple configuration has actually exhibited surprising behavior. One study in 1989 indicates that slime mold communicates information similarly to neurons in animals. This seems to indicate that slime molds react and explore their environment in a manner similar to us human beings. Another study indicates that slime molds naturally form themselves into information pathways resembling a traffic pattern. This again indicates that slime molds exhibit behavior that helps them be more efficient. Of course, while slime mold can move around, they do not eat animals let alone humans.

The first thing I noticed was the name of Tony Gardner in the credits. I had no prior knowledge that he was a part of this. Tony Gardner is a legendary designer and has been part of the Chucky franchise for decades (among other things, of course). The small town setting is absolutely great and reminds me of a lot of towns that I have driven through (and one that I lived in). Gardner’s effects are absolutely terrifying. There is a reason why this movie is often listed on lists for the worst body horror scenes. There are so many good scenes of absolutely heinous and brutal damage to human bodies. Seriously, I am impressed at how many ways they figured out to have people die. The creature looks really good and I really like its movement. It makes me want to research how they did it all. 

The acting is very charming and reminds me of the wholesomeness of small-town living. Everybody does not love each other but they know each other. Kevin Dillon plays the tough biker delinquent and reluctant hero with a heart of gold. He is instantly likable in that Marty McFly kind of way. Shawnee Smith plays the sweet and innocent small-town girl who has had enough. Their chemistry together is really good and helps carry the non-Blob parts of the movie.  Jeffrey DeMunn plays the small-town sheriff who is suspicious of everybody. Del Close plays the town pastor and is almost comic relief. Joe Seneca plays the almost comically kind government scientist. The rest of the cast is just really good at being good character actors who fill out the world of the town. 

Overall, I really loved this movie. It was a really simple story but the special effects and the tension were both fantastic. I do not watch a ton of science fiction horror but this proved that maybe I should change that. This was a rollercoaster of a movie with plenty of surprises but also charming. I recommend this movie.

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