It’s hard not to like a creature feature as silly as “The Blob,” but the folks in a new short-subject documentary called “Blob Town” love it to the point of obsession. So much of the photography took place in Phoenixville, Pa., that residents can identify its geography all throughout the film, some parts of which still look more or less as they did in 1958. Seeing that stuff in person is a big deal for fans, so much so that Phoenixville’s BlobFest attracts camp connoisseurs from all over the country. Good luck getting that kind of turnout for “Little Fockers.”
Material like this is familiar territory for James Rolfe, the critic-cum-filmmaker whose reviews on www.cinemassacre.com deal with everything from A-list blockbusters to Z-grade flops. Of course, if projects like “Blob Town” are any indication, he has a decided preference for obscure oddities, and while a drive-in classic like “The Blob” isn’t necessarily obscure, it’s still strange enough to qualify for oddity status.
As big of a fan as he is, though, even he’s somewhat aghast to find it getting so much attention in the form of screenings and memorabilia exhibitions, most of which take place in or around the Colonial Theatre. Even if that place doesn’t ring a bell, it should look familiar – it’s the theater where the blob assaults unsuspecting moviegoers during one of the most famous scenes in schlock.
Since the Colonial Theatre’s still in operation, the folks who come out for BlobFest can see the film that inspired it there, which must be fantastic after watching it on TV for so many years. They even get a bonus rock concert, as well as competitions for best scream and Steve McQueen impersonator. (“The Blob” was one of his first gigs, though he appears in the credits as “Steven McQueen.”) Rolfe was bold enough to record some of what happened during the screenings, namely the ad-libbing the audience did throughout. The Colonial Theatre’s probably used to that kind of thing – when Rolfe gets a shot of the marquee, you can see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has a screening coming up.
Rolfe has a lot of fun talking about “The Blob,” but he’s a responsible enough documentarian to let the festival’s notables have their say, including a music producer whose company sells the soundtrack and a guy who owns the original blob. That Rolfe went to the trouble of pulling them aside for interviews means a lot, considering so many amateurs on the Internet generate stuff in closed systems of individual points of view.
Come to think of it, Rolfe is to blame for many of them – his reviews on Cinemassacre and YouTube get so many hits that he’s become something of a Web phenomenon, and makes the whole thing look so easy that it’s bound to attract imitators. Maybe the reason why he appreciates “The Blob” as much as he does is because he knows what it’s like to have made a monster.
Watch “Blob Town” here: www.cinemassacre.com/2010/12/28/blob-town
This article originally appeared on AllMediaNY.com