The Blob (1988) is a strange film that has one foot in both the horror and comedy camps. But to be honest I found myself laughing out loud more than I was shaking with terror. Part of the reason for this are all the gags. We have everything from slapstick dirt bike jumps to mistaken identities involving condom purchases, priests, and angry parents. And the comedy works. But the more I laughed the less scared I felt. Then when the killing started, and it starts early, I was in such a good mood that I didn't care if they all died.
Most of the horror, and I'm using that term loosely, is geared toward gore, something I shy away from in large doses. I can only handle so much melting skin before I have to disconnect from the characters in order to maintain my own sanity.
I'm guessing that if I had seen this film in 1988 it may have had more of an impact. Parallels to both the Cold War and the AIDS crisis have been made online so I won't get into those here, but it's easy to imagine the big pick ooze being a stand in for either an epidemic or the overreach of government authority in the guise of public protection.
After doing a bit of digging (and by digging I mean a Google search which led me to IMDb trivia) I discovered that this film has some interesting parallels to Stephen King's The Stand. And since I'm a self confessed King fanatic I can't stop myself from presenting them here. The male lead in the film is named Brian Flagg which is close to the villain Randal Flagg from The Stand. The blob's first victim is named Can Man (the homeless guy) which is a close resemblance to Trash Can Man who is Randal Flagg's most devoted follower. Also, both stories feature an organism that is the result of biological warfare.
These connections might seem a bit tenuous until you consider that one of the writers of the film, Frank Darabont, has had a hand in developing several of King's projects to both television and film. Projects that include: The Mist, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and Nightshift Collection. So it's a safe bet to hazard that Darabont has read and peppered the script with a bit of King.
So what does all this mean?
I'm not sure other than the fact that Stephen King is so great people cannot help but insert his characters and ideas into other projects just to spice things up a bit. He's like a seasoned salt for story development. Add a dash of King and you're good to go!
But getting back to The Blob...
It was a fun horror comedy that didn't throw any profound experiences my way, but it was an entertaining way to spend the afternoon. And sometimes that's all I need from a movie.