You can normally count on the Criterion Collection for eclectic choices: a 60s European masterpiece here, a recent obscure indie there; a box set of a forgotten director here, a restoration of a forgotten classic there. Not often do they bring us the sort of films that some refer to as ’lowbrow schlock’. But, if you’re into such signifiers, "The Blob" qualifies with aplomb.
Steve McQueen stars in this masterpiece of the 50s drive-in; which follows the titular alien - basically, an amorphous slab of gelatin - as it takes a man’s hand, then (very) slowly begins to go after the rest of the town. McQueen and his buddies, at first too busy street racing to care, eventually end up as the town’s final hope.
This is one of the ’trashiest’ films Criterion has ever released, yet they’ve gone ahead and given it a beautiful treatment: an impeccable 4K digital transfer that retains all the popping colors and exuberant brightness of Technicolor cinematography. And this isn’t one of their barebones releases, either, they’ve given it the treatment: two separate audio commentaries boost the package (one with producer Jack Harris and a film historian, the other with director Irvin Yeaworth Jr. and actor Robert Fields,) while also including the standard critical essay and trailer. But "Blob" isn’t just schlock, it’s cult - and for those on the bandwagon, there’s the "Blobophilia" extra. It’s essentially a ginormous set of stills and information; more Blob trivia than you could possibly remember. Don’t get overwhelmed.