Monstrous Horror Marathon: The Car (1977) & The Blob (1988)
by Alex Billington
October 10, 2010
I'm in New York right now, so I'm not fully up to speed with my Monstrous Horror Movie Marathon, but I do have a few films I want to talk about that I saw earlier last week before I flew out here. One horror movie I've been looking forward to seeing for a very long time is The Car, from 1977. I first picked up on it when Futurama referenced it for the episode "The Honking," which also got its title from The Howling, a werewolf film I've got on my list to see when I get back home. But it was up the Toronto Film Festival after I interviewed Guillermo del Toro that I got the final kick in the ass that made me want to watch it right away.
If you haven't heard, Guillermo del Toro (who is a big horror aficionado) is building his own replica of the car from the movie, and he opened up his laptop after my interview to show me some early pictures of his progress on building it. It looked pretty badass and that was all I needed - it was time to watch The Car!
The Car (1977) - If you don't know about this movie, you need to rent it or buy it right away and watch it. It was as awesome as I was hoping. The concept is that there's a car, a Lincoln Continental Mark III (above) to be exact, that's driven by pure evil. It doesn't actually have a driver, it just roams around menacing and killing people in a small town. It's another one of those classic 70's films where they just did whatever they wanted just because they could. And it's so much fun, such a joy to watch, not even that scary but still totally entertaining. My only complaint was that it felt way more epic than it should and there weren't enough kills.
Maybe it was my own expectations going in, but I was expecting some kind of Hitcher-like killer car that would murder hundreds of people over the course of the movie. While he did kill a few people, it wasn't as epic as I wanted it to be (or rather, he didn't kill as many people as I was hoping). But at the same time, I felt like this was the start of a franchise and this awesome killer car would get his chance to shine again in more sequels. Alas, it never did get a sequel, but it still was a great concept. James Brolin stars and the film was directed by Elliot Silverstein, who never went on to direct another feature film after this. The Car is highly suggested, one of my new favorite guilty pleasure "horror" films. I definitely won't be forgetting this one!
The Blob (1988) - Although I know there is also the original The Blob from 1958 that this is a remake of, I pulled this DVD off my shelf to watch because it's the only one I had and it was on my mind. This version of The Blob was directed by Chuck Russell (who later directed The Mask and Eraser) and starred Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith. I guess I didn't know what to expect, but holy shit this fantastic! What an incredible horror remake - it is definitely possible to remake something and deliver what may be an even better movie. Although this has a few inescapable cheesy 80's elements, it was damn good, another new favorite of mine.
I guess what I was most impressed by were the kills and effects. If you don't know what The Blob is about, it's about a gelatinous blob of goo from outer space that begins roaming around and killing people in a town (that sounds like every horror movie). Every time it "consumes" someone it grows and by the end it's a giant blob that they have to destroy. But the way it kills people is awesome. In one scene, a woman gets trapped inside a phone booth and the blob engulfs the entire thing and leaks in, blowing up the person by squeezing them to death, essentially. None of the kills looked cheesy at all, they all looked very realistic. As I said, I was considerably impressed. And with all the horror we have today, it takes a lot to impress me with gore.
There's another great kill, one of the first ones in the film also seen on the cover of the DVD, where a kid basically gets overtaken by the blob. Eventually it starts pulling him apart and as he screams and grabs out for his girlfriend, his skin corrodes away and his head gets ripped open vertically, as if his jaw were being pulled apart. Again, I was impressed seeing that. For a horror remake from the late 80's, this seemed way better than it should. I suggest seeing this remake of The Blob at the very least for the effects. It was also shot well, though I think the story was the weakest part, as I don't even remember half of what happened.
Those are the latest horror films I've seen. As soon as I get back from New York later this week, I'll be diving headfirst into an enormous pile of new horror DVDs that just arrived at my place. I also watched about half of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake with Donald Sutherland on Blu-Ray before leaving, but need to re-watch it from the start before writing my thoughts on it. Don't worry, while things have been a little slow recently, I'll be getting into a lot more horror in the next few weeks before this month is over!