The Blob: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

March 1, 2013 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When you’re a teenager, it seems like the older folks will never listen to, no matter how important the information is. In this case, some teens have witnessed some unusual sights, as a strange blob of goo is on the loose and it is causing a lot of problems. Whether this blob is destroying property or attacking people, something must be done to stop it before things get too far out of hand. But when the teens warned the residents of the next town in the blob’s path, do you think they’d listen? Of course not and you know what that means, a bunch of dead older people who can’t believe their eyes. This blob seems to keep pushing ahead no matter lies in the path and if someone gets it in the way, the blob attaches to them and melts them into ooze. No attacks seem to even phase this being and the more stuff it takes in, the larger it grows and before long, it could be too big to stop no matter what. Can the teens and random survivors figure out what this monster is and also a way to stop it before it consumes all of them?

When you talk about the all time greatest cult classics, the original version of The Blob has to be mentioned. This movie packs a heck of a punch, what with low budget antics, an awesome evil entity, and of course, Steve McQueen. Of course, the film was supposed to be a horror flick, but in the end it is more of an unintentional comedy of errors. But the low production values and hilarious moments don’t make this a bad movie in the least, in fact this film has stood the test of time very well. I know fans of the monster movies from ’50s have seen this one, but I think anyone who likes creature features and B movies should check The Blob out. It stands as one of the all time genre highlights, never really dropping into obscurity like the scads of other movies in the genre at the time. Hence, it has been released as part of The Criterion Collection and if ever a monster movie deserved it, this one is the one. I can’t stress enough how much fun this movie proves to be and though the budget was limited, that just raises the ante a little. Criterion has issued a superb disc for this cult classic, so why not give it a spin?

This is a time tested cult classic, so it is no surprise to find Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr. at the helm. Yeaworth only directed a total of five movies and while none of them close to the following of The Blob, all of them have amassed fanbases over the years. I always try to turn people on his films as while they might be low budget and cheesy, they’re also a heck of a lot of fun to watch. The Blob is Yeaworth’s crowning achievement and still remains one of the elite films to be given the cult classic title. I do wish we saw a little more of the jello-ish monster in the movie, but I think overall Yeaworth delivers a solid and enjoyable motion picture. I am unsure if he knew how the audiences would react, but I can’t imagine a single reason for him not to be proud of his work here. Other Yeaworth films include Dinosaurus!, Way Out, 4D Man, and The Flaming Teen-Age. At the head of this film’s cast is the ultra cool Steve McQueen (Bullit, The Great Escape), who of course would go on to become a massive star in the business. The cast also includes Aneta Corsaut (Tv’s The Andy Griffith Show), Olin Howlin (Santa Fe, Hellfire), and Alden Chase (The Lone Rider In Ghost Town).

Video: How does it look?

Criterion’s initial offering of the DVD that came out some time ago looked pretty darn good and for this Blu-ray release, they’ve created a new 4K transfer by scanning the 35mm interpositive.  That sounds like a mouth full, but in layman’s terms it means that the Blu-ray is a few steps above the standard DVD in terms of image quality.  The movie is now 55 years old, though it doesn’t look it.  Detail is amazing and seems to give the movie a bit of depth that I hadn’t seen before.  Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched this film, but contrast and black levels are rock solid which, again, make for a great-looking presentation.  Suffice it to say that this is the definitive version of The Blob out there – I can’t imagine it looking any better.

Audio: How does it sound?

This isn’t one of those movies that gets re-mastered and now has a DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio mix.  Nope.  Criterion has given us pretty much what we expect here with a LPCM 1.0 track.  It’s essentially mono with a fancy-sounding name.  Now just because we have a mono track doesn’t mean that it sounds bad.  It doesn’t.  Vocals are strong and clear and though I heard a few very minor hisses and pops, they’re few and far between.  Like the video presentation, it seems that Criterion has gone though with a fine filter and removed anything and everything that could get in the way of a nice-sounding track.  A good effort here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As is the cast with most of Criterion’s Blu-ray films from existing DVD’s, there’s no additional bonus content here.  That’s ok, though, since the improvement in audio and video quality more than make up for any supplements that cold have been added.  The film’s theatrical trailer is packed on, as well as an extensive gallery of production photos, props, promotional materials, and more. I spend a lot of time with the stills, titled Blob-abilia and I am pleased Criterion has included it all on this disc. The disc also houses two audio commentaries, one with producer Jack H. Harris and film historian Bruce Eder and the other with director Irvin S. Yeaworth and actor Robert “Tony” Fields. The former is more focused on the technical side of the coin, while the latter is more relaxed and informal. Both were well done and worth a listen, but were quite different in what they focused on. It is nice to have both sides covered though, so kudos to Criterion for seeking out two audio commentaries for this edition.

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