A production still from the 1958 movie The Blob of the famous movie theatre fleeing scene

The Blob Creates a Cultural Phenomenon

A Low Budget Film Makes a Cult Classic

The Blob is about an alien life form that consumes everything in its path, growing more and more as it eats. It’s up to high-schooler Steve Andrews, played by a 30 year old looking Steve McQueen, to warn the town before they all become consumed. Seriously, Steve McQueen looks like he’s at least in his late 20’s in this film. I don’t buy for a second that he’s in high-school.

The film itself was originally going to be named The Glob, but the producers received some bad information and thought that the title was taken. Thus they named the film The Blob only to later find out that there is no such film called The Glob. In hindsight, I think the Blob is a lot better anyway.

The effects in The Blob were achieved by pulling the blob material off of something, or pushing a table so that it falls off, and then reversing the footage. This creates the effect that the Blob is latching onto something or someone to crawl or consume.

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The film would go on to inspire pop culture references and media creations such as R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book The Blob That Ate Everyone. Such a simple concept forms a classic monster with so much meaning.

A Horror Town Is Born

The Blob lives as a huge cultural phenomenon within the town it was filmed in. In Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, every year at the anniversary of the Blob’s release, the town reenacts the scene at the Colonial Theatre, where the Blob chases people out of the Theatre, during the Blobfest’s annual “run out.” The art director of The Blob, William Jersey, remarks about the event:

“It was a kind of wonderful sort of community experience about something that probably didn’t have any great significance socially, cosmologically, etymologically, or any other logically. Instead, the film was significant in that it created a bond between a group of hard-working directors, producers, actors, and set-builders, who put the heart and soul into the movie. There is an emptiness of so many films today that try so hard to be serious, or wise, or clever, or funny.

-William Jersey

It is amazing how such a small film can create a large cultural movement.

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