Monday, March 23, 2009

Svengoolie revue: The Blob!

This week I'm debuting a new feature on the blog. If you've listened to our podcast, I'm sure you've heard me talk about Svengoolie. He's a local legend in Chicago, and he hosts the Saturday late-night movie on one of the local stations. They do a lot of horror and sci-fi, mostly classic movies and classically bad movies (a few years ago he actually did "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"! I kid you not). I always watch, so I figured I should start reviewing them here.

This week's offering: The Blob, from 1958, starring "Steven" McQueen! This was the last time he was billed as Steven instead of Steve. Anyway, the movie begins with an asteroid landing in the middle of the woods. An old man comes to investigate, and finds this thing that looks almost like an egg. He cracks it open, and this goopy stuff comes out and immediately attacks his arm. The old man is found shortly after by a pair of teenagers, who take him to the local doctor.

The movie is very slow to begin with, but once it gets going things move pretty fast. The goopy stuff keeps growing, until the old man is devoured. The doctor's lovely assistant is next, followed by the doctor. The teens see something through the window, but the police have trouble believing that the doctor was attacked by some sort of monster. Especially when the kids telling the story are the same young whippersnappers who are always drag-racing and causing a ruckus (don't you just love the fifties?). It also doesn't help that after devouring the people, the Blob just kind of rolled off and disappeared.

Of course, the blob turns up again. This time it's large enough to scare an entire movie theater full of teenagers (and, for some odd reason, another old man...I never did understand why he was at the movies in the middle of the night) out into the street. Our hero and heroine are trapped by the Blob, which by this point is large enough to cover an entire building. They discover that it doesn't like cold, so the police (who by this point finally believe them) gather up as many CO2 fire extinguishers as they can to freeze the Blob and rescue the people inside.

Essentially, "The Blob" is about a ball of goo from outer space that wobbles around and eats people...kind of like a psychopathic version of flubber. There were some neat shots--the Blob oozing into the movie theater was pretty cool--but overall this movie is bad. It's bad in a fun way, though. I particularly enjoyed the opening song, written by none other than Burt Bacharach (click to watch it on Youtube). Terrifying, no?

Beware of the Blob!

Svengoolie also does little skits during breaks in the movie, similar to the MST3K host segments, including a song every week. He re-writes the words to a well-known song so that it fits with the movie, and they're hilarious. This week there were actually two songs. The first host segment was a classic Sven bit from some years ago when he ran the sequel to "The Blob," and the song was "Blob of Red" to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann." It was very clever. For the new song, he capitalized on the fact that the main actress was also on "The Andy Griffith Show" and so he set words to the Andy Griffith theme about how "the Blob town's just like Mayberry."

Coming next week: Child's Play! Probably the most recent, "mainstream" horror movie they've done, at least since I started watching 4 or 5 years ago.

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