In the original, with a budget of only $150,000, the blob was a barrage balloon dragged across the room by a fishing line. When it was supposed to devour a diner, it was a merely lump of jelly sliding across a photo. Such would clearly no longer suffice in this post The Howling (1980) and An American Werewolf in London (1981) era, and with a $17 million pricetag The Blob 1988 offers a top-drawer battery of stop-motion animation, miniature sets, air-bladder transformation and latex prosthetics. This blob is a fearsome state-of-the-art shape-changer indeed, it would make the perfect date for Rob Bottins The Thing (1982). There are some wildly over-the-top set-pieces with it dragging bodies down plugholes, pursuing victims across ceilings at high-speed, collapsing around phone booths to reveal a half-devoured body in its midst and creating giant maws to reach up after climbers. There are at least two visions that step over into the genuinely unnerving the half-glimpse afforded by a strobing light of a huge mass of half-melted bodies in a cinema, and the scene in the hospital as a giant sphere of pink bubble-gum drags Donovan Leitch out a window, leaving Shawnee Smith clutching only a dismembered hand.
The original film sat among the peculiar pulp of 50s teen rebellion films and hit a nerve of anger at the failure of teens to be taken seriously by adults. The Blob 1988 abandons the subtext for an intermittent parody of the John Hughes teen-angst and mating rituals staple it becomes something akin to a The Blob Devours the Breakfast Club. It has some occasional moments of humour in scenes that dig at teen angst a nervous guy entering a pharmacy to buy condoms only to be served by the dates father although these seem half-hearted. Where the films sense of humour comes into its own is in the entertaining suggestions about the origin of the blob now the mutant lump of cranberry sauce has been tied in with military-conspiracy theories and a genetic-engineering conception and is at one point even ingeniously suggested as being the source of the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
A further remake of The Blob was announced in 2010 purportedly from Rob Zombie, although has yet to be greenlit.
Director Chuck Russell previously made A Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors (1987). In his subsequent films The Mask (1994), Eraser (1996) Russell began to call himself by his given name, Charles, then became Chuck again for the horror film Bless the Child (2000) and the sword and sorcery film The Scorpion King (2002). In these films, Russell demonstrates an aptitude for big-budget special effects but most of these films otherwise feel dramatically lacking. Screenwriter Frank Darabont would go on to become an impressive director in his own right with the likes of The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999) and The Mist (2007).