A look back at The Blob
Although the Blob isn’t exactly on the same level as the The Day the Earth Stood Still, it was a big, popular hit that spawned a sequel, an under-rated 1988 remake, which was written by Frank Darabont, and several remake attempts since.
The Blob was the big screen debut of Steve McQueen, and as a kid watching it on TV, the concept of a big mass that sucked you in on contact that you couldn’t tear yourself away from absolutely terrified me.
When people joke about cheesy sci-fi movies, sometimes they’ll quip about being chased by Jello, an obvious reference to The Blob, and funny enough, it was reportedly made of silicone, which wasn’t around that much in the 50’s, and it proved a good consistency for a malevolent amoeba from outer space.
As horror chronicler Tom Weaver reported in his books Interviews With B Science Fiction and Horror Movie Makers, The Blob cost a reported $240,000 (another report puts it even lower at $120,000) for a 31 day shoot - with nine months designated to setting up the special effects.
As reported on Turner Classic Movies, Paramount picked the film up for $300,000 putting it in the black, while the movie’s theme song was penned by legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach, and Mack David, brother of Bacharach’s future songwriting partner Hal David. It was even a Top 40 hit.
Producer Jack Harris claims The Blob made back somewhere in the $40 million dollar range, obviously a huge return on investment in the days when a movie ticket was 68 cents.
In 1972, there was a sequel, Beware the Blob (aka Son of Blob), that was directed by Larry Hagman, JR Ewing of Dallas, who lived next door to producer Jack H. Harris on the beach at Malibu. It was a "modern" movie for the time with hippies, and there’s even a Star Trek connection believe it or not. The female lead, Gwynne Gilford, is the mother of Chris Pine, the modern day Captain Kirk. After Hagman became infamous from playing the villain you loved to hate on Dallas, Beware the Blob was re-released as "The Film JR SHOT!"
The Blob will probably return one day, and the crawling mass in the ’88 version was pretty hi-tech for the times, although it’s definitely a monster you can make cheaply. As Variety reported way back in 2009, Rob Zombie was going to write and direct a Blob remake, although oddly he said, "My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing – that’s the first thing I want to change. That gigantic Jello-looking thing might have been scary to audiences in the 1950s, but people would laugh now."
The Blob without the Blob didn’t sound like a good idea, just like remaking the Citizen Kane of horror, Halloween, wasn’t a terribly bright idea either, so eventually Zombie moved on to Lords of Salem.
At one point, producer Scott Rudin (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) was also going to make a remake of the Blob at Paramount years ago, and Bloody Disgusting reported that Blob was now an acronym, Biological LethalOrganic Bomb. Like modern day zombies, this blob was going to move fast too.
That version of the Blob, like many projects announced in Hollywood, also seeped through the cracks, or as I should joke, got frozen in its tracks, the only way you can actually stop the Blob because like any true 50s monster, it is immune to bullets and conventional firepower.