Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Blob—A Memoir

Category: Issue 22

The Blob—A Memoir

    First off, I want to apologize to my fans. I’ve been in seclusion since my failed comeback in an unfortunate remake of my 1958 classic, The Blob. The 1988 release of the Return of The Blob was a big mistake, and for that I take full responsibility. I have been brooding over that fiasco in my Beverly Hills mansion ever since. Ashamed and addicted to alcohol and pain pills, it took years of therapy to undo the damage to my self-esteem. I am proud to say I am currently clear headed and drug free. One day at a time.
    When my last film flopped, I went into a downward spiral. I blamed my writer, my director, everyone but myself. I went on an eating binge and gained a lot of weight. I really became the blob. My affairs and divorces were sensational scandals and dominated the tabloids for months. My life was a mess. There is no need to go into all of that here, suffice it to say, I retired from public view and went into a 30-year sulk. Today, for the first time, I feel as though I can talk about my career without remorse. I would like this memoir to be my first step on the comeback trail.
    The world has changed so much since 1958. Those were the Eisenhower years and, when I look back, I can see just how innocent we all were. In those days it was enough to simply eat a few citizens to strike terror into an entire town. Those were the golden years to be monster in Tinsel Town. 
    That’s not to say it was easy to get work, there were always younger, hungrier monsters waiting to eat my lunch. I had some stiff competition—The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Thing, It Came From Outer Space, even Godzilla were all there, competing for scripts and headlines. But as frightening as those monsters were, they weren’t The Blob. I was the big cheese, the go to guy, the monster with the cult following. I had a lot of offers. My agent begged me to audition. I turned them all down. Looking back, I regret my foolish pride.
    The competition was purely professional, though. Off camera we all were friends. We hung out together. Sure we had different styles, different histories, but we were there for each other. We were pretty close, as close as celebrities can be. We shared scripts, starlets, saw each other socially, and played golf. None of the kind of sniping and backbiting so common today. We took care of each other. We had a lot in common.
    But tastes change faster than an actor can adapt. The public wanted fresh thrills—creatures from space, big, dumb monsters that killed without reason, mutant insects that just ate and ate without the slightest feeling. Monsters today have it easy. Modern screen techniques do all the work, all a monster has to do is snarl and show its teeth and the technicians do the rest. In the old days we really had to work to make look it real. Now some guy at a keyboard just pushes a few buttons. Sure some victim gets torn to shreds, and you hear the bones crunch and his brains pop out of his ears, but it isn’t real. It has no integrity. It isn’t all that scary and it certainly isn’t acting. Where’s the art? When I ate someone, I felt it and the audience felt it too. And we did it in black and white. I’m not saying monsters were kinder then, but somehow we were more human.
    A fickle public began demanding less gore and more relevance in its monsters. Young monsters, raised on Stanislavski, were only too happy to oblige. Hollywood spawned sexy monsters, monsters with motives, monsters with angst for Pete’s sake, as if being eaten alive wasn’t horrifying enough, you had to care what his motivations were. It was the era of method acting and it spilled over to our kind. Personally I thought it was a lot of silliness— a monster needs motivation, since when?
    I don’t think much of today’s monsters; I would ingest the whole lot of them and not even burp. Aliens, mutants, zombies—fah!—the whole lot of them are no match for the Blob in his prime. These days, I don’t know, I hardly eat anyone; I guess I’ve mellowed.
    My last film, the 1988 re-make of my cult classic, was a disaster, I admit it. I co-wrote the screenplay with the late, great Oscar Heimlich. It was a good gut wrenching eat ‘em up. It was our producer Leonard Malcontent’s idea to give the movie relevance. He saw me as a symbol, a vehicle to deliver a more subtle message— to reveal the dangers of Communism and explore the nature of good and evil. Heimlich and I wanted a straight forward monster movie filled with panic and confusion; an innocent town held hostage by an unquenchable menace, innocent town’s folk disappearing one by one or in small batches until the terrifying conclusion. That’s the role I was born to play. Fuck subtlety. But Malcontent insisted on a subtext and that was the movie’s undoing.
    The producer’s insistence on substance over action confused the audience, and resulted in hiring the wrong director, choosing the wrong cast and setting the whole movie in the wrong location. I mean, after all, what can you do to Newark, New Jersey to make it more terrifying than it already is? My artistic voice was muffled and the result was both predictable and inevitable—instead of a tawdry monster flick played for cheap thrills and maximum shock value, we got a half-baked psychodrama that convinced no one. It went directly to the drive-in theaters. Where it died a well-deserved death. The reviews were so bad I swore off acting and began drinking.
    I still have my fans and for that I am eternally grateful. They have stuck with me all these years. It is because of them that I have cleaned up my act and exploring some new opportunities. I have a new agent and am working on a screenplay. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it could be the beginning of an HBO miniseries on bullying, urban violence and the nature of good and evil.

Posted by tobiash on 04/28 at 01:19 PM | Permalink
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