DVD: Beware! The Blob / Son of the Blob (1972)

December 1, 2014 | By

 

BewareTheBlobFilm: Poor

Transfer:  Good

Extras: n/a

Label: Image

Region: 1 (NTSC)

Released:  September 19, 2000

Genre:  Horror / Science-Fiction / Comedy

Synopsis: The blob returns when idiots ignore the ‘do not thaw’ warning. Unfortunately for our collective gene pool, the purple goo fails to devour enough of the film’s talent to ensure bad filmmaking is ground to a halt for good.

Special Features:  (none)

 


 

Review:

After the success of the original Blob (1958), producer Jack H. Harris had a story for a sequel, but it wasn’t filmed until 1972, long after the rights to the first film flipped back from Paramount to the film’s original right holders, and when strangely enough, Harris’ Malibu neighbour, Larry Hagman, was interested in the film project.

It’s unclear whether Harris wanted the film to be a comedic spoof or whether it was developed into one after Larry Hagman was signed on to direct the film (the actor had directed a few episodes of his popular sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie), but the final results were immensely poor.

Harris’ film background was in distribution, and as he said of himself on the commentary track for the Criterion edition of The Blob, he often applied potent marketing tactics to handle ‘other peoples’ mistakes.’ In exhibition, that rarely meant pooling more money to save a turkey, and although he produced Beware! The Blob, very little was spent to develop a decent production. It just seems as though the bare minimum was done for the film, including script development.

Boosting the lead characters from high school teens to drinking & pot smoking college brats contemporized the film, and the deaths were also increased, mostly as a means to get bit parts off the screen and gradually move the focus from intercut vignettes towards a virtual replay of the original film’s conclusion, reset in a bowling alley/skating rink instead of a cinema and small diner.

The film’s biggest curio value comes from its casting, which includes pre- Laverne & Shirley Cindy Williams, pre-Phantom of the Paradise Gerrit Graham, pre-Eight is Enough Dick Van Patten, pre-Young Frankenstein Danny Goldman (“Isn’t it true…”), and Poseidon Adventure‘s Carol Lynley. Larry Hagman also makes a small appearance as a mumbling hobo who keeps trying to peek under unbilled Burgess Meredith’s poncho, plus many supporting and bit roles are filled by veteran TV actors.

Future Halloween cinematographer Dean Cundy is credited with photographing the blob’s animated sequences, but overall it’s a cheapjack production written by hacks, former actors and one-timers whose emphasis is on sometimes bizarre vignettes. (A hair salon scene is a complete one-off, and feels like skit from The Groove Tube or Kentucky Fried Movie.)

The effects vary from neat to awful (Harris seems to have mandated the replication of some original Blob effects, albeit tailored to a more gooey blob creation), Al Hamm’s photography is often blurry and clumsy, Hagman failed to capture any sense of menace, and Mort Garson’s score feels like a screwdriver that’s periodically hammered a little deeper into one’s ear.

Garson’s mickey-mouse music blends early Moog electronica with pop jazz, and the few orchestral styled cues (mostly in the final scene) are tinny and strained in their effort to evoke vintage monster movies. (Harris would’ve been better served to just track Ralph Carmichael’s originalBlob music in the film.)

Image’s DVD is adequate, given the original photography is ugly to begin with (there’s little continuity between daytime, day-for-night, and nighttime shots), and the sound mix has distortion from its pinched mix and over-modulated location sound. There are no extras documenting the production, nor any trivia material relating to the film’s unique mix of talent and no-talent.

Harris’ prior production venture was the cult film Equinox (1970), and his later efforts included John Landis’ directorial debut Schlock (1973), and the 1988 remake of The Blob.

 

 

© 2008 Mark R. Hasan

 


 

External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB  — Composer Filmography
 
Vendor Search Links:
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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