B Movie Challenge: Beware! The Blob

In 1980, my parents were (jelly) rolling through hills of Germany on vacation, and of course being Americans, they were asked over and over again the most important question ever asked to a tourist: “Who shot J.R.?” (spoiler alert: It was a Kristen, that cheating female dog!). It is estimated that almost eighty-three million Dallas viewers turned in after an eight-month hiatus to see whose itchy finger took out J.R. Ewing, but If I had to take a guess (and I mean, really dig around that squishy mess of a brain) I would predict the number of those who had never seen “The Movie J.R. shot!” called Beware! The Blob (or Son of Blob as it is sometimes called) would be about eighty-three million! Yes, its a follow-up made on the slimy backbone of a fun 50s Steve McQueen monster-flick, that has an all-star cast (the likes of Robert Walker, Sid Haig, Garrett Graham, Shelly Berman, Dick Van Patten, Cindy Clark, and Burgess Meredith to name only a few), and was directed by I Dream of Jeanie and Dallas headliner Larry Hagman, but given all of these components mixed makes one hack of a tasty cinematic just-desserts!

Seeing the success of schlocky monster flicks showing at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Producer Jack H. Harris borrowed a few bucks, asked some friends to act in the film, and (somehow or another) locked down an unknown McQueen to slither out the classic The Blob, which due to McQueen’s fame was a regular on late night TV circuits and made Harris a glob of Washingtons. So it is not surprising he didn’t want to ruin the legacy of this class by rolling out sequel after sequel, even when he was offered again and again. As the 70s dawned Harris’ projects began to wane and his son Anthony Harris came aboard to make the sequel. Another person eager to join (or jump) ship was their next-door Hagman, who had never seen the original. After seeing a screening Hagman said he could get an all-star cast of his friends to come on board for cheap because “everyone wants to get eaten by the blob… as long as I direct the film!” Thus, the blob heated up interest, a cast and crew, and a lot of cult fans over the years (although like how you have to defeat the blob, the box office was cold upon release)

After all of these years of blissful peace and harmony in the world (yeah, right!) after we “Han Solo-ed” the blob into Antarctica, someone with gelatin for smarts dug up a batch of dirt with some of the red goop underneath. Instead of turning this in to the bosses, or alerting the National Guard, or, I don’t know, JUST LEAVE IT ALONE, the man brought it back to put in his Frigidaire! What could go wrong? Oh yeah, that whole it unfreezes and rolls around, smothering and eating people thing!

Our two main people (Robert Walker and Starting as a little teeny pile of red slosh, the blob grows as it consumes celebrity after another, including Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs) as a Cub Scout Leader, Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2) in a gorilla suit, and Sid Haig (Spider Baby) as a conservative cop trying to bust a few dog-gone hippies (at least he doesn’t have the beard or clown make-up for once). Like the first movie, the blob finds its way where most of the town folk are, this time the local bowl-a-rama, which just so happens to include an ice skating rink. Psychedelic filmmaking (far out, man), idiots getting fruit roll-up into the beast ( there is a paint roller with red goo on the end being spun in front of the camera), and an aimlessly absurd amount of smashed soda pops and bullets for seventeen films in this steaming pile of film can nightmares!

Slipping through the cracks at a squishy ninety-one minutes, and released sometimes as Son of Blob on VHS with “The movie J.R. shot!” tagline, if you are in the Phoenixville, Pennsylvania area in the summer you cant attend Blobfest which is an annual event (in the movie theatre they shot The Blob movie theatre scenes) where you can catch the original along with this sequel often. You find this on most streamers but try to get your hands (and not let it slip away) on the 2011 Umbrella Entertainment edition, which features both films in one package. Just as a cautionary note: if you ever find pinkish slime in the permafrost, do yourself a solid favor by preparing to be filled with horrors of the shapeless kind, and remember, there’s always room for J-e-l-l-ooooooooooooooooooooooooAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands, the novel Lucky for Newfangle Press, and he has written short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights audio cast. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies in Pennsylvania.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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