Thursday, September 16, 2010

warehouse video counter: blobby business



From the vaults (of YouTube), the Warehouse brings you the directorial debut of television star Larry Hagman (I Dream of Jeannie, Dallas). The sequel to the 1958 drive-in classic, Beware! the Blob (or Son of Blob) was among the nominees in "The Most Humiliating Performance by a Future TV Star" category in the book Son of the Golden Turkey Awards:

Amazingly enough, it took fourteen years before someone in Hollywood stepped forward to take this obvious challenge and to unfreeze the man-eating strawberry Jell-O for a second attack on the human race. The resulting sequel - inevitably called Son of Blob - defined new lows in cinematic sloppiness and left audiences longing for the sincere stupidity of the Steve McQueen original. The new film tried to combine humorous and terrifying elements in the celebrated style of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes but in its confusion failed either to frighten or to entertain. As one wag put it at the time of the film's release: "What they wanted was tongue-in-cheek, but what they got was finger-down-throat."

Treating the opportunity as something of a gag, and as a welcome opportunity for learning how to use a camera, Hagman helped persuade many of his pals from the world of TV to join in his fun by portraying bits of blob chow...They must have had a splendid time on the set, since the finished film looks like the home movie of a private party, where all the guests are so drunk or stoned that they have begun to look on every belch or hiccup by one of their friends as a brilliant bit of improvisatory humour...There is also a good deal of incoherent social commentary: Hagman the director delivers some laughably topical touches about hippies, policde brutality, drug abuse, the generation gap, and the homeless.

Not to mention slightly lecherous "hair sculptors" (Shelley Berman's sequence screams improvised, and is one of the legitmately funniest parts of the flick).

[For the curious, the winner in the category was Joan Collins running around in K-Mart finery in Empire of the Ants (1977). Other nominees included Raymond Burr (Bride of the Gorilla, 1953), Danny Thomas (lead role in the 1953 version of The Jazz Singer), Merv Griffin (Phantom of the Rue Morgue, 1954), Linda Evans (Beach Blanket Bingo, 1965) and Tom Selleck (Daughters of Satan, 1972).}

Watch for a brief appearance by the director as a hobo, alongside improv guru Del Close (who later appeared in 1988 remake of the original movie) and an uncredited Burgess Meredith. To build on Hagman's evening soap opera noteriety, the producers reissued the film in 1982 with the tagline "The film that J.R. shot!"

The Blob has received the full Criterion treatment. Son/Beware!? Not so much.

Warning!!!: This film is not recommended for viewers easily traumatized by red Jell-O attacking cute kittens or by large men wearing nothing other than a fez. - JB

No comments: