Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blobby Things

Ever since I was a wee young lad of seven or eight I’ve been afraid of blobby things.  Naturally enough, it started when I watched, unsupervised, The Blob on my grandparents furniture-sized black-and-white teevee.  Made it up to the point where the old tramp poked the blob nucleus in the meteor, only to have the damnable thing slither up the branch and latch onto his hand.  The agonizing howling from the old timer haunted me for years and years and years.


That followed with Son of the Blob, watched this time with my father, who, truth be told, really wasn’t that good at picking out appropriate movies to watch together (cases in point: seeing Hot Dog: The Movie and Scarface in the theaters).  Anyway, the scene of the bowling alley repair dude, trapped in the bowling alley machinery, getting his lower half digested, well, that did it for me.  Icing on the cake, and all.

Even my beloved Star Trek could not resist the blob.  The “Devil in the Dark,” the episode with the Horta monster, was blobbish enough to enter my nightmares at that stage of my life, roughly ten years of age.

So I stayed away from blobby thing movies.  In the interim, I began a Stephen King phase and recall being particularly bloodcurdlingly chilled by two of his blobby tales: “Gray Matter” from 1978’s Night Shift, and “The Raft” from 1985’s Skeleton Crew.  I was able to enjoy and even revel in the Kingian horror of it all, possibly because there were no visuals.

That mistake was rectified upon seeing Creepshow 2 in the movies with my buddies.  It was a trio of tales based on stories by Stephen King.  The second of which was based on “The Raft.”  I was actually physically and mentally horrified and petrified during that half hour of my life.  Good thing in the dark none of my friends could tell.

Then, I read Dean R. Koontz’s Phantoms.  Splendid book, excellent mystery.  Which resolves itself into an evil blobby thing.  Again, because of the lack of visuals, I was able to completely lose myself in the novel.  (Phantoms was my second Koontz novel; in two or three years I wound up devouring fifteen more.)

Ben Affleck and – gasp! – Peter O’Toole had the misfortune to appear in the mid-90s movie version of Phantoms.  This lacked the punch of “The Raft” segment from Creepshow 2, and, being a fairly reasonable and responsible adult by this time, it had just about none of the residual Blob and/or Son of Blob effect on me.  Either that or it was just a crappy flick.

I keep reading of a Blob reboot in various stages of production.  With today’s CGI effects, animatronic blood and gore effects, and Hollywood’s general no-holds-barred attitude towards hideously and mercilessly killing off people onscreen, I will not be seeing it.  Heck, I could only bring myself to watch the 1988 remake on regular teevee, with all of the real gruesomeness edited out.  (And, man, was that one heck of a gruesome movie.)

Despite all this, blobs have fascinated me over the years.  In my ultra-geek Dungeons and Dragons phase thirty-some years ago, I always stashed gelatinous cubes in my evil underground labyrinths.  I recall being equally repulsed and fascinated with the slime line of toys that came out in the late-70s, early-80s.  One of the first stories I wrote was about a blobby creature from the sea that had morphed into a faceless, identity-less man washed up on the beach.  I remember an aunt telling me about a blob movie she saw as a kid, and nagging her ceaselessly to wrench more and more details about it (and those details she did recall were sick!).  To this day I still try to find that movie on IMDB or Wiki, but haven’t succeeded yet.  And most of all, the greatest comic book from my youth, the one I read a hundred times in our fourth grade class, featured futuristic astronauts on a immanently dying world fighting off a monstrous blob.

So … why does the blob creep me out more than any monster I’ve ever seen on the big screen?

That’s easy.

You can’t hide from the blob!  It’ll crawl under the bedroom door, and covers are ineffective against it!

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