It has no shape. It has no brain. It oozes in where it is not wanted and wreaks havoc on the innocent people of the local community. It is in the hands of an apocalyptic clergyman. No, it isn’t the Republican Party, it is The Blob (1988). Having just watched the remake of the 1958 sci-fi film of the same name, a number of elements relevant to this blog (blob?) stood out in sharp relief. The most notable change from the original movie comes in the form of the role played by Reverend Meeker, the (apparently) Catholic priest turned tent-preaching revivalist. Of course, the whole government conspiracy plot is also new to the film, but that is best left to other blogs.
As noted in previous posts, religion and horror genres share much common ground. While it is hard to take a blob seriously – the role of Bob the blob in Monsters vs. Aliens is precisely comic relief – the idea of a crazed minister unleashing chaos is perhaps a little too believable. The real source of terror in the 1988 version of The Blob is not the monster but those who control it: the government and the church. When the government demonstrates that it cannot control the monster it has generated, it moves into the hands of Reverend Meeker. Here it rests until, after a sermon about the end of times, the reverend pulls out his jar of blob and indicates that as soon as he receives a sign from God, it will be released.
In a strange way this strange film proved prescient. The move of religion into politics was underway already in the Reagan years, but it was a threat few took seriously. It was not until W’s reign that the implications began to become clear. A religiously motivated electorate resembles a blob in significant ways. Once released it is difficult to contain, even by its creators. In aspect it is laughable, but in consequence it is deadly. It stops at nothing short of total domination. This film, which never made the impact that many horror films achieve, may turn out to be the scariest movie of its era after all.