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Chuck Russell
Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch
Chuck Russell, Frank Darabont

A deadly blob consumes everything in its path.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 10/29/19

• Audio Commentary with Director Chuck Russell and Historian Ryan Turek
• Audio Commentary with Director Chuck Russell, Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner and Cinematographer Mark Irwin
• Audio Commentary with Actor Shawnee Smith
• Interview with Director Chuck Russell
• Interview with Actor Jeffrey DeMunn
• Interview with Actor Candy Clark
• Interview with Actor Donovan Leitch Jr.
• Interview with Actor Bill Moseley
• Interview with Cinematographer Mark Irwin
• Interview with Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner
• Interview with Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman
• Interview with Production Designer Craig Stearns
• Interview with Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian
• “Gardner’s Grue Crew” Featurette
• Trailers & TV Spot
• Still Gallery


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The Blob: Collector's Edition [Blu-Ray] (1988)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 27, 2019)

Back in 1986, The Fly became a big hit. It remade a well-known film from 1958 and became arguably the definitive version of that tale.

Because Hollywood loves to follow trends, we soon got another remake of a hit 1958 horror film via 1988’s The Blob. Unlike the 1986 Fly, however, the 1988 Blob failed to supplant the 1958 original as the go-to version, and with a US gross of only $8 million, it flopped at the box office, too.

Set in a small town locale, a mysterious meteorite lands outside of city limits. A creature made of slimy goo emerges and soon attaches itself to an elderly vagrant (Frank Collison).

High school students Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon), Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) and Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) attempt to help the old man, but this doesn’t end well. As the menace of the blob grows, it threatens the entire town, but the kids can’t get anyone in power to listen to their pleas for help.

While the 1986 Fly clearly betters the 1958 version, that doesn’t render the latter impotent. Though not as good as the 1986 classic, the 1958 movie generates more than enough chills to remain a solid flick.

I feel less positively toward the 1958 Blob, though. It’s fun to see Steve McQueen in a very early role and the movie boasts some campy charm, but unlike the 1958 Fly, it doesn’t work as an actual horror film.

That left plenty of room for improvement for the 1988 Blob. Throw in the presence of talented filmmakers Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont and one might actually anticipate a pretty good remake.

Those two partnered for 1987’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3, the film that arguably saved the franchise. 1985’s Nightmare on Elm Street 2 disappointed fans, but Nightmare 3 did quite well.

It also firmly established the wisecracking Freddy who’d dominate the public view of the character. While the Krueger of the first two movies dropped some one-liners, he came across as more of a pure threat, whereas the Freddy of Nightmare 3 pushes the role more strongly into comedy – for better or for worse.

Russell and Darabont bring a similar mix of terror and comedy to Blob, but they don’t succeed as well as they did with Nightmare 3. I admit that flick feels a bit dated in 2019, but it still gives us one of the more compelling Nightmare movies, and I hoped that the confidence Russell and Darabont gained from its success would become a positive influence on Blob.

Though not a great movie, the 1988 Blob offers decent entertainment, and it fares better than the 1958 original. While both veer toward camp, at least the 1988 edition does so intentionally, whereas the 1958 film’s laughs come at it, not with it.

The 1988 Blob favors horror, but it tosses in enough comedy to give it a twist ala Nightmare 3. I wish these elements produced more actual laughs, though, as they too often feel forced and lackluster.

Does it count as clever that the filmmakers cut from a Blob attack to a shot of a kid who slurps Jello? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem especially inspired, and a lot of the comedy in Blob seems equally silly.

Again, I don’t want to overstate the amount of jokes in Blob, as it leans toward scares most of the time, and it occasionally hits the mark. To be sure, it boasts production values far superior to those of the 1958 film.

I expected the visual effects to look awful, but to my pleasant surprise, they hold up well after 31 years. It helps that the film keeps the Blob in low-light shots, but the creature still creates an effective horror presence that seems more natural and realistic than anticipated.

In addition, the 1988 film ensures that the Blob becomes a much more active participant in its own film. With the 1958 version, we lost track of the title character for extended stretches, but here, the Blob remains a force through much of the running time.

Though we wait too long to get to it. In a negative move, Blob takes too long to get going.

Sure, it uses this time to establish characters, but it doesn’t explore the roles well enough to justify the amount of cinematic real estate the intro occupies. The movie postpones the title monster’s introduction for too long, and that can make it drag.

At least the film generates pretty good material once the Blob really starts to do its thing. Though not a thrill a minute, the second act builds the action in a positive way and the third act generates a fairly solid sense of drama.

Despite a mix of flaws, I think The Blob becomes a more than watchable horror flick. Nothing here really excels, but it does enough right to entertain most of the time.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus A

The Blob appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt pleased with this fairly solid presentation.

Sharpness was positive. Some softness occasionally interfered with wide shots, but those issues remained modest. Instead, the movie usually appeared fairly distinctive and detailed.

The image suffered from no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and it also lacked edge enhancement. Grain remained appropriate, and the image showed no print flaws beyond a couple of small specks.

Colors came across as pretty good. The film utilized a fairly natural palette, and the Blu-ray replicated those tones with accuracy and vivacity much of the time.

Blacks seemed similarly tight, and shadows showed reasonable clarity, though some nighttime shots could feel a bit murky. This was a mostly appealing transfer.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield usually stayed with a forward bias. In that realm, elements were accurately placed and meshed together pretty nicely.

The music demonstrated fine stereo presence and the effects helped create a good feeling of atmosphere. The surrounds largely just reinforced matters and didn’t add much unique audio, but they managed to bring nice support to the track.

Audio quality continued to seem strong for its vintage. Dialogue always came across as natural and concise, as the track lacked edginess or other concerns.

Effects sounded dynamic and bold, with clean highs and fairly deep low-end. Music also showed good presence and range. Nothing about the mix floored me, but it worked well for a movie of this one’s era.

We get a slew of extras from this “Collector’s Edition”, and we open with three commentaries. Recorded for an earlier release, the first features director Chuck Russell and film historian Ryan Turek. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, the original and its adaptation, cast and performances, music, effects, sets and locations, editing, photography, effects and connected domains.

From start to finish, this becomes an excellent track. Russell covers a slew of useful topics and does so with gusto, so we find a strong, informative track.

New to the 2019 release, the second commentary features director Chuck Russell, special effects artist Tony Gardner and cinematographer Mark Irwin. Accompanied by moderator Joe Lynch, all sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of the same subjects in the first track, though with more emphasis on the effects and photography.

Lynch tells us how Blob influenced him, and he brings a lot of energy to the piece – for better and for worse. On one hand, I appreciate his fervor, but on the other hand, his side of the chat pushes the others toward more of a gushing tone than I’d like.

Don’t get me wrong: we still learn some good details, even with the inevitable repetition from the first commentary. The track just devolves into too much praise/happy talk and not enough solid content.

Also exclusive to this disc, the final commentary comes from actor Shawnee Smith. Along with moderator Justin Beahm, she brings a running, screen-specific chat about her career and experiences on the shoot.

The disc saved the worst for last, as Smith’s track offers a snoozer. Smith occasionally tosses out a few decent nuggets, but she usually goes more down a banal path.

This means odd remarks like one in which she sees a young costar and speculates that the child’s “probably” grown up now. Given Blob came out 31 years ago, I’d hope so!

Smith also apologizes for talking too much, a statement that makes me think no one explained the concept of a commentary to her. During other tracks, Beahm helps keep participants focused and informative, but here he lets Smith meander and does little to prod her into useful memories.

All that and no mention of 1987’s Summer School, Smith’s best movie! Expect a dull commentary.

We hear more from the lead filmmaker in a two-part Interview with Director Chuck Russell. All together, these segments span 48 minutes, 58 seconds.

Russell discusses how he got into movies and early experiences, various projects on which he worked, and aspects of Blob. Some of this repeats from the commentaries, but Russell adds a lot of new notes, so these programs become effective.

Performers dominate the next bunch of reels, and we start with an Interview with Actor Jeffrey DeMunn. In this 14-minute, 13-second piece, DeMunn talks about his push into acting as well as his time on Blob. DeMunn offers a decent chat but not one with a lot of fascinating observations.

Next comes an Interview with Actor Candy Clark. In her 16-minute, 40-second chat, Clark covers her life, career and experiences on Blob. A lot of these Shout Blu-ray interviews last too long, but given the breadth of Clark’s career, this one is probably too short.

Another performer shows up via an Interview with Actor Donovan Leitch. Over his 15-minute, 21-second conversation, Leitch examines his show business family and his move to acting, his feelings about horror movies, and working on Blob. This becomes another decent overview.

An Interview with Actor Bill Moseley spans 18 minutes, 38 seconds and provides Moseley’s take on his career and time on Blob. This reel follows the pattern of its predecessors and delivers a moderately interesting piece.

For the next few segments, we hear from movie crew, and we get an Interview with Cinematographer Mark Irwin. He appears in an 18-minute, 10-second chat that covers his work on Blob. Irwin offers a blunt, entertaining take on his perspective.

An Interview with Blob Mechanic Peter Abrahamson occupies 12 minutes, 23 seconds. Unsurprisingly, Abrahamson focuses on elements of how the filmmakers brought the Blob to life. An animated speaker, Abrahamson makes this a fun chat.

Next comes an Interview with Special Effects Artist Tony Gardner. This one goes for 22 minutes, two seconds and gives us more info on the film’s attempts to make the science-fiction elements realistic. Gardner gives us a lot of good details about the effects.

During a 26-minute, 14-second Interview with Special Effects Supervisor Christopher Gilman, we learn about his career and his work on Blob. The makes it similar to other interviews, and Gilman brings us useful notes.

An Interview with Production Designer Craig Stearns fills 20 minutes, 32 seconds and discusses Stearns’ time in films and his activities on Blob. He provides a likable chat.

After this we discover an Interview with Mechanical Designer Mark Setrakian. During this 19-minute, 41-second program, Setrakian gets into more issues connected to the movie’s execution of the title character as well as aspects of his career. It’s another effective reel.

A featurette called Gardner’s Grue Crew runs 28 minutes, 18 seconds and presents silent video footage from behind the scenes accompanied by movie music. Most of this just shows Leitch as he gets gooed up for a body cast, and that long sequence seems dull.

We then get some glimpses of a few other effects elements. While these offer more value than the Leitch segment, the lack of commentary makes the whole package less than valuable.

In addition to trailers and a TV spot, we end with a Still Gallery. It brings 65 images, most of which focus on publicity pieces. It’s a good compilation.

Though superior to the original version, the 1988 remake of The Blob fails to turn into anything excellent. Still, it manages reasonable entertainment across its 95 minutes and remains a decent horror tale. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with an extensive compilation of bonus materials. Fans will love this terrific release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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