THE BLOB/ IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA: A MONSTROUS DOUBLE REVIEW OF B-MOVIES!!! BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
THE BLOB. (1958) DIRECTED BY IRVIN YEAWORTH. STARRING STEVE MCQUEEN AND ANETA CORSAUT. THEME SONG WRITTEN BY BURT BACHARACH.
IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA. (1955) DIRECTED BY ROBERT GORDON. STARRING KENNETH TOBEY, DONALD CURTIS AND FAITH DOMERGUE. STOP-MOTION ANIMATION EFFECTS BY RAY HARRYHAUSEN.
These are two extremely special B-movies, probably my favourite of the genre along with TARANTULA (1955) and ED WOOD’s PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. I spent a most enjoyable Saturday evening recently watching the pair of ’em back-to-back with my family.
I had Ray Harryhausen’s 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) all lined up to go in the DVD player as well, but the disc turned out to be one of those pesky ‘wrong region’ ones and it sadly wouldn’t work in my machine. Ah well. Them’s the breaks…!
THE BLOB is terrifically good fun. It’s the story of a meteor that falls to earth one night in a rural town in Pennsylvania. The old geezer who’s first on the scene gets more than he bargained for. Which is to say, an icky, jelly-like substance that attaches itself to his hand like a limpet and refuses to shift. The auld fella is understandably dubious about the whole thing.
It falls to ‘teenager’ Steve McQueen in his first leading role (he’s nearly flippin’ thirty years old, haha!) and his wasp-waisted girlfriend Jane to help the beleaguered old gent and persuade the town that there’s a ravenous ‘monster’ on the rampage that eats everything in its path. Well, they might as well. As Steve’s having trouble persuading Jane to put out, he’s got nowt better to do, as they say.
Steve McQueen is both brilliant and (probably!) unintentionally funny as a teenager with parents and curfews and rules to live by and everything. His other ‘teenage’ chums- well, they could be old-age pensioners for all I know!- are the only people to whom he can turn for help. They all do a great job of alerting the initially sceptical townsfolk of the impending danger.
The Good Cop-Bad Cop routine is hilarious. One cop is inclined to believe Steve’s crazy story. Well, after all, in the words of Steve’s ‘old man,’ ‘Steve’s not in the habit of telling lies.’ The other cop thinks everything that’s happening in the town is the work of no-good punk teens. What, there’s a giant Blob eating everyone over at the movie theatre? Damned no-good punk teens…! Okaaaay, Officer Sceptic. Why don’t we just wait and see who’s eating whom, huh…?
IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA is a fantastic action-adventure movie about a radioactive giant octopus. Disturbed out of its natural habitat deep-down in the Pacific Ocean by hydrogen bomb testing in the area, it decides to come and hang out in the San Francisco Bay area instead and eat some people. Well, the poor fellow’s hungry and tetchy and thoroughly pissed-off. What would you do…?
A sexually-charged triumvirate of personnel is given the mammoth task of identifying, locating and ultimately neutralising the threat of this giant octopus. They’re all three of ’em dirty horn-dogs, if you ask me, and I’m entirely on the side of the eight-legged one.
A scientist and a submarine commander spend more time sniffing around the third point of this… this filthy sex-pyramid, a lady scientist, than they ever do trying to save the world from the creature, one of stop-motion animation maestro’s Ray Harryhausen’s finest creations. What with all the sexual tension simmering away just barely beneath the surface of their smutty, innuendo-laden conversations, it’s a wonder they ever find the time to do any actual bloody work at all, haha.
The magnificent creature is the star of the film without any shadow of a doubt whatsoever, but my favourite scene not starring the Octopus is the one in which Professor Lesley Joyce uses smokes and her smouldering sexuality to persuade a frightened man to admit to her that he’s seen the creature.
It’s in her walk and in the click of her high-heeled shoes. It’s in the sway of her hips and the swirl of her tight-waisted skirt, it’s in her voice and it’s in the way she cups her hand around his while he lights her cigarette for her. Skanks of today, take note. That’s how it’s done…!
Both films are superb examples of the kind of ‘delinquent teen-slash-monster-movies’ that were so popular at the time. It’s only a decade or so after Hiroshima-Nagasaki and the end of the Second World War, after all. It was a time of nervousness and paranoia all round. Well, that explains the radiation-and-mutant-monster element, anyway. Why the teens of America suddenly started rebelling en masse, well, that’s anyone’s guess…! Maybe radiation was to blame for that too, haha.
I’ll leave you with my favourite line from THE BLOB. I’ve already quoted it but it just cracked me and my family up when we heard it primly uttered by Steve McQueen’s button-down ‘Pops’ in the movie and, don’t ask me why, we’ve been randomly quoting it ever since and laughing out loud all over again. All together now:
‘Steve’s not in the habit of telling lies…!’ Not laughing? Maybe you just had to be there. And remember, if you haven’t run screaming from the Midnight Spook Show while being chased by a man-eating lump of strawberry jelly the size of Moby Dick, then you haven’t really been…!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can contact her at: