Beware! The Blob (1972)

bewaretheblob_1Beware! 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

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


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.

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Batman (1966)

Batman (1966)
AKA Batman: The Movie

Starring Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp

Directed by Leslie H. Martinson

Expectations: Moderate. I expect to have fun.


I’m sure that anyone sitting down to watch the 1966 Batman film based on the TV series knows what they’re getting into, but just in case you don’t, Batman is pure camp. It’s ridiculous, over the top, and going directly at the laughs. When Batman runs around the pier searching for a place to dispose of a bomb, it’s not nail-biting, it’s hilarious. It’s important to know this going in, because you must leave all expectations and logic at the door. The filmmakers immediately acknowledge this as well, with a rather funny dedication that opens the film.

The plot is somewhat inconsequential as you’re really here for the laughs and the crazy Batman hijinks. I tried my best to follow it through its many twists and turns, but by the end I found myself completely lost in a sea of exploding sharks, dehydrated pirates and Robin shooting a giant raygun into the sea. That’s not to say the film is incoherent, just so overboard and ridiculous that it becomes mind numbing and easy to lose track of exactly what’s going on. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the major Batman villains have teamed up so our caped crusaders must face off against not one, not two, but four supervillains!

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Clash of the Titans (1981)

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Starring Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, Pat Roach, Jack Gwillim, Neil McCarthy, Susan Fleetwood

Directed by Desmond Davis

Expectations: Moderate, but I LOVE Harryhausen stop-motion.


As I’ve said in reviews past, going back to watch old-school special FX extravaganzas is something of a double-edged sword. You really have to throw yourself into the mindset of the times and consider the film within its place in time. If you hold it up to current standards the whole thing will usually fall apart and you’ll be left picking up the broken pieces of the film you spent the last two hours picking apart. So as a 1981 FX-filled adventure, Clash of the Titans soars and delights, but like the current wave of 80s and 90s nostalgia, Clash of the Titans seems to rise directly out of a nostalgia for the 60s and the glory days of stop-motion monsters with films such as Jason and the Argonauts or The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

All of those classic films share one defining element behind the scenes, the work of stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen. Clash of the Titans is his swan song, and it contains some of his best work. The Pegasus moves with a realistic quality that makes you question its nature, the Medusa slithers and stalks her prey with glorious fluid motion, the deformed Calibos fights hand-to-hand with Perseus in perfect sync and integration with the live action footage. I could go on, but if you are a fan of stop-motion and you haven’t seen this one, it’s a must.

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