The End of the World As We Know It

In the company of movie buffs, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some geek-chic windbag talking about how Invasion of the Body Snatchers was an allegory for McCarthyism. The polite thing to do under these circumstances is to keep your mouth shut and nod in agreement.

It is considered rude to point out that is sage observation is merely a regurgitation of what has been printed in countless film publications. Under no circumstances should you ask any pointed questions like “Was the paranoia drawing parallels to the witch hunts of the era or did the pod people represent the soulless existence under communist rule?” No matter what the filmmakers intended to say, the allegory was powerful and that should be good enough.

Powerful can also be passé. Most people haven’t gotten their panties in a bunch about communism since the Soviet Union imploded. Sure, China may label branches of their government “The People’s” this or that, but it’s mostly for show. They made the ideological shift from revolutionary Marxism to a large Singapore with nukes years ago.

This is not to say that 1950’s science fiction is devoid of wisdom pertinent to the here and now. One shining example of unnerving prescience is The Blob, released in 1958.

Think about it. The monster itself is the embodiment of consumerism run amok. Whenever the blob devours somebody, it doesn’t feel full and in need of a nap. It grows larger and more ravenous. Engulfing and devouring everything it touches, the blob has no place in the delicate balance of nature.

So metaphorically speaking, we’re talking about a creature that is equal parts gas-guzzling SUV, fat guy at a buffet table, and Wal-Mart. To make matters worse, the blob cannot be killed. In the movie, bullets, fire, and high voltage were met with a gelatinous shrug.

Though the monster cannot be killed, it can be stopped. While battling the obese juggernaut, svelte Steve McQueen discovers that cold will make it go dormant. He enlists his hotrod buddies to grab fire extinguishers and treat the blob to a freezing blast of CO2. The plan works and arrangements are made to transport the creature to the North Pole. Innovation and perseverance save humanity, at least for a while.

These were the last two lines of the film:

Lieutenant Dave: At least we’ve got it stopped.
Steve Andrews: Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.

Swell. Thanks to global warming, the polar icecaps are melting. Almost fifty years later, the message of this film rings loud and clear. The blob is us.

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