Beware! The Blob (1972)
AKA Son of Blob
Starring Robert Walker Jr., Gwynne Gilford, Richard Stahl, Richard Webb, Shelley Berman, Godfrey Cambridge, Larry Hagman, Carol Lynley, Marlene Clark, Gerrit Graham, J.J. Johnston, Danny Goldman, Rockne Tarkington, Dick Van Patten, Tiger Joe Marsh, Sid Haig, Burgess Meredith
Directed by Larry Hagman
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Beware! The Blob is a sequel to The Blob, but it’s also not. There’s nothing to connect the two films other than the blob. Beware! The Blob is also a horror comedy, but the genre line is blurred with enough genuine comedy and enough genuine horror to make anyone question which should be labeled as the primary genre. I’m gonna go with horror even though I feel it’s more of a comedy than a true horror film. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’m going with that only because a fan without any interest in horror would never choose to watch this, nor would they find it all that funny. Probably. I can’t speak for everyone.
In order to facilitate a lot of truly outlandish comedic scenes, there isn’t much of a plot. Plots get in the way of inspired, unconnected moments like an opening credit sequence of a kitten exploring a field, a long-haired hippie asking for a haircut from a clean-cut barber (played by stand-up comic Shelley Burman), or when a group of hobos (two of which are Larry Hagman and Burgess Meredith) do their best to battle the blob with a pitchfork. The plot here is nonsensical and pointless, but its free-flowing nature helps the film from getting too dull as the blob absorbs and assimilates its victims into its gelatinous mass.
This is most definitely a low-budget film, but the blob FX looked pretty great to me. Of course, I also can’t ignore that a lot of them look ridiculously cheesy and fake, but they fit the tone of the film very well. I get the impression that they wanted to make something of an homage to the monster movies of the ’50s with this one, so the poor FX could be seen as the realization of this goal. Regardless of the intent, the FX both good and bad help the film attain a high level of entertainment, and really that’s all I care about in a movie like this.
I hesitate to call these blob films a series as none of them were made by a connected creative team, but for my purposes here, let’s assume the three films (the 1958 original, this film, and the 1988 remake) constitute a disjointed series. Each film is unique in tone and story, but they are all representative of the times they were made in.
The original film deals with themes of juvenile delinquency and outside invaders threatening the classic American small town. Y’know, classic ’50s issues. The Blob is just as much social commentary as it is fun monster movie. Beware! The Blob came out towards the end of the Vietnam War, but the film does not confront this troubling topic, instead it turns an homage-focused eye back towards the style of movies from the more idyllic 1950s when America was on top. Escapism has always been part of the cinema experience, but it reached new heights in the 1970s with the dawn of the blockbuster in the latter half of the decade with films like Jaws and Star Wars. Beware! The Blob isn’t all escapism, though, as there are many instances of poor communication between the older generation and the fun-loving younger generation of hippies, reminding us that issues similar to those explored in the original film still ring true. The ’80s film then just goes hog-wild into total escapism as many films of that era do, showcasing motorcycle jumps that save the day and incredibly gooey gore FX. At the same time, it is again a throwback to a ’50s style monster movie and contains elements of the same disconnect between the generations. Some things are just universal truths that continue to resonate no matter what era it is.
Beware! The Blob is easily the most dated of the three blob films — it has a relentless 1970s quality to it — but it’s a lot of fun if you let yourself slip into its groove. A healthy love of B-Movies, killer blobs and strange humor will help quite a bit.