Saturday, December 19, 2015

Never Noticed THAT Before :: Creeping the Leak in Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont's Remake of The Blob (1988).

The first time I watched Chuck Russell's remake of The Blob (1988) at the old Imperial 3 Theater I thought it was pretty good as far as rehashes go; a fairly faithful modernization of a classic creature feature with what I thought, at the time, contained one bizarre flaw. That flaw being Where in the hell did Sheriff Geller go? He was there, and then suddenly he up and disappeared never to be heard from again.

See, the first time through the film, already reeling from watching the poor fry-cook getting sucked down the kitchen sinkhole by our titular and every-growing gelatinous mass of death (-- now that was a helluva scene), when poor Franny (Clark) barely makes it out of her cafe alive and into the phone-booth to call the Sheriff (DeMunn) for help, with whom she had a sweet romance that was about to burgeon, I was too busy focusing on Franny's plight, stuck inside the glass enclosure, as the blob oozed its way around, encasing and eventually crushed her fragile sanctuary, that I failed to recognize the half-digested corpse already floating around the creature's undulating mass. 

Nope, it wasn't until the second viewing a few days later in the very same theater when I finally noticed the Sheriff's badge on the corpse. My bad. And with that, a pretty good movie got even better in my opinion.

But it wasn't until I dusted off the DVD and watched The Blob again around Halloween time this year that I finally noticed something else, the death of a far less significant character until you realize who it might have been. Okay, bear with me, here. 

Now, do you remember the scene where our heroine, Meg (Smith), breaks into the local theater, looking for her little brother, only to find the Blob has already beaten her there and in the process of gruesomely processing a lot of moviegoers into something more ... digestible? 

And then in the middle of all that chaos and mayhem, Meg trips over that one girl, lying unconscious in the aisle?

Now, if you remember back to the beginning of the film, to the football game, this same bespectacled gal was a fellow cheerleader. 

A best friend perhaps? 

Which would explain why Meg would stop and reach out for her in all that pandemonium and imminent death. 

And why it adds a little more weight when this all proves for naught. 

Never noticed that before and I love uncovering little details like that. Alas, the part is un-credited. And 'part' might be stretching things a bit. Still, it's a memorable death in a film chock-full of them, with some outstanding F/X provided by Dream Quest Images and Anatomorphex.

Often forgotten about when people talk about decent monster movie remakes, director Chuck Russell and screenwriter Frank Darabont had teamed up the year prior with Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987), easily the best sequel in that franchise until New Nightmare (1994), and together, they co-wrote the remake of The Blob. I'm not sure if the big twist of making the Blob a man-made pandemic was necessary but it works well enough. Darabont is a huge fan of Stephen King and between the mutant extinction-level germ gone awry to many character names, The Stand definitely had a huge influence on the screenplay. 

I can tell you for sure that one of the best things they did was twisting-up one of the central plot points, making it not about “closing the beaches” despite the danger in this derelict winter resort town but the fact that the beaches were already closed and how the lack of snow was counter-productive when it comes to the monster. I can also dig the subverting twist that sees the nominal hero (Leitch) get eaten in the first fifteen minutes of the film but, in hindsight, if they really wanted to be subversive it was the rebel outcast (Dillon) who should’ve been the one to get blobbed to death.

The Blob (1988) TriStar Pictures / EP: Andre Blay / P: Jack H. Harris, Rupert Harvey, Elliott Kastner / D: Chuck Russell / W: Chuck Russell, Frank Darabont / C: Mark Irwin / E: Tod Feuerman, Terry Stokes / M: Michael Hoenig / S: Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch, Jeffrey DeMunn, Candy Clark

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