Beware Of The Blob.

Source: Parc Zoologique de Paris

The Parc Zoologique de Paris has a new exhibit of a creature that is neither plant nor animal: a slime mold. The particular species they have on display is Physarum polycephalum, although their information refers to a 1973 case when people in Dallas, Texas thought their neighborhood had been invaded by aliens when yellowish blobs appeared on lawns and started crawling up telephone poles. In their case it turned out to just be Fuligo septica, which is more commonly and appetizingly known as “dog vomit slime mold” or the “scrambled egg slime” and that’d probably put me off mushroom omelets for life if I didn’t think it was so cool.

Anyway I thought I’d take the excuse, like I need one, to consider some famous cinematic and literary blobs.

The Blob (1958)-The emperor of all blobs. The original film is one of my favorites. Some horror fans rank The Blob as the worst movie monster of all time because it lacks any personality, but the film cleverly makes a group of teenagers, led by Steve McQueen, the real focus of the story. It combines classic ’50’s paranoia and fear of conspiracy–see such non-blob related films as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and Invaders From Mars–with an increasingly influential youth culture. It’s both an interesting meta-commentary on generational transitions and a reminder that the kids are all right. And it has the catchiest theme song of any horror film.

The Blob (1988)-The thirtieth anniversary remake doesn’t work quite as well for me, but it’s a fun ride, and the recreation of that famous movie theater scene is even more terrifying when update.

B.O.B. from Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)-Also known as Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate B.O.B. proves that brains are overrated which, interestingly, is also true in the case of slime molds. They can learn and transmit what they’ve learned to other slime molds and just looking at real slime molds I can believe they’d also have the voice of Seth Rogen.

Jell-O-I’m including Jell-O on the list because it’s horrifying. I’m with Winston Zeddemore on this one, and also my grandfather who didn’t like Jell-O because it “looks nervous”. And it was some kind of bona fide mad scientist who looked at a horse’s hoof and said, “What if I boiled one of those and put fruit chunks in it?”

Lichen from Interstellar Pig by William Sleator (published 1984)-Even though the lichen from Mbridlengile in this young adult novel isn’t described as a slime mold or blob it behaves like one, bubbling along as it feasts on all organic matter in its path. If you know a young adult reader who likes science fiction give them the gift of this novel about a teenage boy who accidentally draws the Earth into a cosmic game of death and destruction.

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12 Comments

  1. Kristine Laco

    Why do people insist on telling me how they make gelatin. Now the moulds. Really? Is nowhere safe anymore?
    BTW: That theme song is hysterical!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      When it comes to gelatin-making all I can say is blame The Simpsons. And here’s a fun fact about The Blob theme song: it was written by Burt Bacharach.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    The notorious B.O.B.!!!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There is no blob better. I feel like B.O.B. and I are kindred spirits, and it’s probably best to not think about what that says about me.

      Reply
  3. Allison

    I love The Blob Theme Song so much, I bought a digital copy for my playlist. I need to get the spousal unit to watch with me this weekend – he introduced me to it a few years back. Time for a screening!

    It creeps and leaps, and slides and glides…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Your spousal unit is seriously cool. I think it’s about time I rewatched The Blob too. It’s been a few years. I have to remind myself how great it is, except for that kid, the one who chases after the dog, and who’s the worst child actor ever to appear on screen.

      Reply
  4. Tom

    Look at the size of that font! 👀

    My favorite Blob of all time is the one from X-Men Vol 1, Issue 3. A character with the ability to stand in his own fat and resist all attempts to budge is just super-cool. Say, what would happen if the Juggernaut – who cannot be stopped by any force on Earth when he begins momentum forward – were to run into the Blob – who cannot be moved on any force on Earth once he stands his ground? 🤔

    If I were more savvy I’d include a picture. Barring that here’s a link: 😉

    https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/X-Men_Vol_1_3

    “Beware of the Blob!”

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The X-Men’s Blob is pretty impressive, and I remember Juggernaut from the third X-Men film, although he doesn’t get much treatment. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? There’s no better place than comic books to address such a philosophical conundrum.

      Reply
  5. Arionis

    I’m usually not one who goes in for the animated feature films but I caught Monsters vs. Aliens on HBO and absolutely loved it. B.O.B. is great!

    Jello is not my favorite either. Now Jello Shots is another story.
    Arionis recently posted…The Amazing Big SurvivorMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hate to say I think it’s one of Reese Whitherspoon’s best roles, but, hey, she does an awesome job with it. But yeah, B.O.B. is a real standout in it, even if he can’t really stand.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    I love your grandfather, Chris, and his progeny.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      When you drop in to leave a comment it always makes me less nervous.

      Reply

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