“Possibly the greatest personal danger ever to confront mankind.”
The concept is ingeniously simplistic: a little gob of sticky red goo shows up–from somewhere–and begins to consume co-stars, growing bigger with each acquisition. It has no face. It cannot be appealed to, nor can it be reasoned with. It has no political agenda and no score to settle. Why does it exist? Because it is there: a rolling and rampaging force of Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, bent on seemingly indiscriminate absorption.
First things first: Hard working Chester Hargis (Godfrey Cambridge, Cotton Comes To Harlem) returns home after three months “putting down a pipeline that absolutely nobody wants,” and he’s brought with him a silver specimen jar containing a sample of something he discovered in the Arctic Permafrost. Chester’s plan of keeping the jar’s content in the freezer until he can get it to the lab is scotched by his wife (Marlene Clark, Night of the Cobra Woman), who won’t allow such muck to mix with her frozen foods. Once said sample thaws to room temperature, the sticky business begins.
Who will and who won’t go into the candy-colored terror taffy? That’s really the only mystery associated with Beware! The Blob, the sum and total of actor Larry Hagman’s (I Dream of Jeannie, Dallas) cinematic directorial career. Hagman himself shows up briefly as a drunken layabout–in the company of Burgess Meredith (Day of the Locust) and Improv comedy pioneer Del Close–billed as one the film’s celebrity “guest stars,” most of whom go down, slathered in Marmalade and screaming as sweet, syrupy death overtakes them. Other guest stars of note include Cindy Williams (Laverne & Shirley), Shelley Berman (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Carol Lynley (The Poseidon Adventure), Sid Haig (Jason of Star Command) and Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough).
To his credit, Hagman refuses to take matters seriously, though the biggest joke turns up in the opening credits, where no less than four people are credited with the screenplay, which amounts to little more than specifying up a location (Birthday party, Bowling alley, etc.) for barely-established characters to utter gems along the lines of: “Hey! What’s this? I-uh-ugh-aaaahhhhh!” I, for one, wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn that much of the dialogue herein was improvised on the spot.
Kino Lorber’s high definition 1.85:1/1080p DVD transfer of Beware! The Blob probably bests most of the prints that criss-crossed America throughout the seventies, where it played almost exclusively at drive-ins and double features in shabby downtown cinemas. The colors are remarkably vivid and the picture looks surprisingly unblemished, considering the source material. The DTS-HD Master Audio mono track does an acceptable job, bringing forth every loopy note of Mort Garson’s Moog-heavy score, not to mention the various screams and squishy noises that pass here for witty badinagee and plot advancement.
Bonus features include an amazing audio commentary track from Horror film aficionado Richard Harlan Smith, who provides a bit of interesting biographic info on just about everyone associated with Beware! The Blob, both on and off-screen. Other extras featured include an alternate title sequence (the film also traveled for a time under the title: Son of Blob), the original theatrical trailer and trailers for several other Kino Lorber releases of the same ilk: Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, Deranged and The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant. When in Rome, right?
In the final analysis, what can I say? Beware! The Blob is indefensibly brainless and yet, it’s the kind of time-wasting, mindless fun that will no doubt inspire me to rewatch it now that I own it. I’ve reported; you decide.
Guilty and Not Guilty.