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!
Reader Feedback - 19 Comments
the car is a great movie but the blob id wait till next halloween
pulp fiction212 on Oct 10, 2010
The car was awesome, the blob remake (1988) is ok but the original is better. Still all around good choices
Jimmy Love on Oct 10, 2010
"The Blob" truly is underrated. Mild spoiler **** I love how the typical hero type is taken out so early in the film. It's the first sign that this isn't your ordinary horror film. And while the effects are first rate for the era, the acting is solid and so are the shocks. There's talk of Rob Zombie remaking "The Blob." Can't imagine him topping this ...
Christian Toto on Oct 10, 2010
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about The Howling. I finally watched that a couple of years ago and I really hated it... I was so disappointed.
Kevin on Oct 10, 2010
The Blob (1988) is definatly not set in 1950's. Unless they had Sony walkmans and Colombia jackets in 1950.
Happy Camper on Oct 10, 2010
The Blob remake is pretty awesome, good call.
LINKFX on Oct 10, 2010
I found an old and used copy of the book "The Car" in the late 80's. I'm sure it was a book written after the movie, and I loved it. I rented the movie a few years later and it didn't disappoint.
Film Fan on Oct 10, 2010
You want horror Alex? Then try some Old School Itallian horror by legends Argento & Bavi......Watch these 4 ...DEMONS, ZOMBIE , CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD , & SUSPIRIA.....and if u have time ....DEMONS 2 & ZOMBI 2 ......... nuff said
TRUE BLUE SPIDER-MAN FAN on Oct 10, 2010
"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. " Did'nt you just say you haven't seen the original? Sorry but I call bullsh*t
Tim on Oct 11, 2010
The Sutherland remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers remake is also really great, I believe it's one of the best all time horror thrillers. The screenplay is so good.
LINKFX on Oct 11, 2010
@ alex b, you are right in this case however, the Blob remake is waaaaaay better than the original, just like the donald sutherland invasion of the bodysnatchers is better than the original. They are the exceptions to the rule. That being said the 1988 Blob is not perfect by any stretch(or is it ooze? Haha) of the imagination.
LINKFX on Oct 11, 2010
"The Car" is definitely a must see classic. Along the same vein is "The Duel" directed by a young Stephen Spielberg (It might have been his first real feature film) about a woman driving across the desert and a pychotic tractor trailer that's trying to kill her. We never see the driver of the 18 wheeler, so we could also assume that it's being driven by "pure evil"... and by the way, this one came out in 1971, way before "The Car".
Telltale Twin on Oct 11, 2010
The Donald Sutherland Bodysnatchers is NOT better than the original... bite your tongue #13!!! Both are great, but the original is fan-freakin-tastic. Now John Carpenter's The Thing? THAT is miles above the original.
Kevin on Oct 11, 2010
The original blob is way way way better than the remake
Jimmy Love on Oct 11, 2010
THE CAR...great film, and good call! It terrified the s@!* out me as a kid, but watching it now as an adult, it still holds up. And it also had two great leads in James Brolin and Ronnie Cox. I also liked how the nature of the Car was never really explained. It's still a darned good film--it ain't THE EXORCIST, but it's still worth watching. THE BLOB from 1988 is better than the 1958 film...but that's just my opinion. Plus it had a great cast, and it did several things that are just about taboo in films...the killing off of a main character in the opening minutes and killing a child (remember the sewer sequence?). And Frank Darabont worked on the screenplay too. It seemed to borrow a bit from Koontz's PHANTOMS (the book, not the film), but hell, it worked. It's certainly a remake that equals or is better than the original. ...But, that's just my 2-cents.
Marc McKenzie on Oct 12, 2010
The Blob remake was set in the 1980s.
mcqueen on Oct 13, 2010
The car is and always my fav car movie!
johnf.hinson on Dec 15, 2012
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