Beware! The Blob (1972)

Beware! The Blob or Son of the Blob is a big idea to get your head around. While the original was presented as horror, this film pretty much leans in to how ridiculous it all is. Written by Anthony Harris and Jack Woods from a story by Richard Clair and Jack H. Harris, a lot of this was improvised on set and the script — even though it took all those people — was mostly ignored.

Harris was also the producer and Anthony was his college graduate son. They were next door neighbors with Larry Hagman — who had previously directed episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and The Good Life — who had never seen The Blob. Harris screened his print for the actor/director, who loved it and said that he could get a lot of his Hollywood friends to show up and get blobbed, as long as he could direct.

Fifteen years after the original Blob destroyed parts of Pennsylvania, Chester (Godfrey Cambridge) has brought a piece of that creature from its frozen grave in the North Pole, where he does the sensible thing and puts it in the fridge. It grows in size as it eats a fly, a kitten, then his wife Marianne (Marlene Clark) and finally, while Chester watches The Blob on TV, it eats him too just in time for Lisa (Gwynne Gilford) to watch him get claimed by the creature.

As she tries to get her boyfriend Bobby (Robert Walker Jr.). to believe what she’s seen, the red jelly eats its way through Los Angeles, claiming the lives of two hippies (Randy Stonehill and Cindy Williams) in a storm drain — were they looking for Simon? — as well as officer Sid Haig, chickens, horses, a bar, a gas station, Scoutmaster Dick Van Patten, a barber (Shelley Berman) and even some home-displaced folks (Hagman, Burgess Meredith and Del Close, who is wearing an eyepatch as his cornea was scratched by a cat previous to filming; he’d return with a similar look as Reverend Meeker in perhaps the best horror remake of all time, 1988’s The Blob).

It takes an ice rink — which was torn down shortly after filming — to stop the monster — maybe — this time. As for the bowling alley in this movie, it’s Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction.

In the first movie, the Blob was made of silicone and dyed red. It had to be stirred throughout the movie to keep its color. This Blob was made from a red-dyed powder blended with water, as well as a big red plastic balloon, red plastic sheeting and a red drum of hard red silicone spun in front of the camera. Tim Baar and Conrad Rothmann created these effects and beyond working on second unit camera, Dean Cundey helped, years before he’d become such a force in filmmaking.

In 1982, when Hagman was on Dallas and the shooting of his character J.R. Ewing was the biggest moment in pop culture, this was re-released with the headline “The film that J.R. shot!”

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