Beware! The Blob (1972)

Beware! The Blob (1972)‘I don’t cut hair, I sculpt it. Do you want a hair sculpt?’

A pipeline engineer working at the North Pole brings a specimen back home that he discovered buried in the permafrost. Unfortunately, his unreasonable wife won’t let him keep it in the family refrigerator.  When it thaws out, it turns out to be The Blob!

Painfully laboured sequel to the 1958 movie that launched Steve McQueen’s career. It’s supposed to be a comedy, but any chance at hilarity (or even vague amusement) is killed stone dead by a pace so slow that it’s almost petrified. There’s only enough material in the thin script for a film about half this length so a lot of the scenes are poorly improvised by the lacklustre cast.

The project was the brainchild of legendary independent producer Jack H Harris, who happened to be living next door to TV star Larry Hagman in the early 1970s. Harris, who had produced the original movie, still had the rights to the property and had unsuccessfully attempted to put together a sequel before. Hagman had helmed a few episodes of his hit TV show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and expressed an interest in directing another attempt. Unfortunately, no-one remembered to get a decent script.

Robert Walker (‘Charlie X’ on ‘Star Trek’) is an amiable leading man, but doesn’t break too much of a sweat and the rest of the cast is filled out by figures from the alternative comedy scene, including Cindy Williams and Geoffrey Cambridge. Hagman probably called in some favours, getting brief cameos from Burgess Meredith and 60’s blonde bombshell Carol Lynley.

Beware! The Blob (1972)

Something strange had come between them.

Too much of the comedy is directed at hippies, who provide a tiresome and easy target with endless jokes about their long hair and washing habits that must have seemed old even at the time. Stoners get stoned, get hassled by the Man, get eaten by the Blob. That’s about the size of it. In one scene comedian Cambridge watches the original movie on his TV, which isn’t really funny but is probably the most inventive gag on offer.

The brightest spot here is heroine Gwynne Gilford, who heroically delivers the only really committed performance in the film. Mind you, this kind of thing must be in her genes. Her mother Anne Gwynne was there for ‘Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe’ (1940), chummed up with the Wolf Man in the ‘House of Frankenstein’ (1944) and messed with voodoo in ‘Weird Woman’ (1944). And, almost a decade after fighting off the Blob, Gilford made a far more major contribution to the world of science fiction by giving birth to the new Captain Kirk. Yes, she’s Chris Pine’s mother!

In the 1980s, when Hagman’s face was everywhere and the world (apparently) thrilled to the question of ‘Who Shot J.R.?’, some bright spark decided to put the movie out again. It was advertised as ‘The Movie that J.R. Shot!’ Unfortunately, this is a lot funnier than anything in the film itself.


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