Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Childhood Fears - The Blob

Laugh if you must but as a young lad few things in this world frightened me more than the idea of the Blob coming after me. It was the boneless jellyfish-like form that did it. Such a creature could be hiding anywhere, its slimly flesh-eating substance patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. No place was safe. Every room in every house had numerous points of entry, the heating and cooling systems providing the carnivorous Jello-mold a perfect transportation system. It was a quiet predator as well, the only noises ever coming from it being that of the victims as their flesh, muscle, and bones were slowly dissolved. The worst part of all, however, was that I had no defense against the creature at night while in bed. Sure my family had a fire extinguisher, but the chances of them allowing me to sleep with it were so slim that I never even bothered to ask. I also doubted I would ever wake up in time to use it, not when the creature could ooze its way across the floor without making a sound. No way. My first inkling that something was even wrong would be the sudden burning sensation as my skin was absorbed into the creature, and by then it would be too late.

My introduction to The Blob (1958) occurred in the fall of 1991 while staying at my grandmother’s house (many of my greatest childhood fears originated there). I was in second grade at the time, and she thought the movie would be a perfect way to wind down the evening as bedtime approached. The suggestion was met with enthusiasm from me despite the fact that it meant forgoing our normal Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom viewing (I have no idea why but my brother and I always wanted to watch that while at her house, our favorite scene being the nauseating palace dinner party moments). Also, even if I wanted to how could I say no to a horror movie that my grandmother said was really good, especially after assuring her several times that I wasn’t afraid of anything? So, we sat down to watch it in her creepy family room, my enthusiasm quickly turning to regret as the doctor office scene played out. It was the moment the nurse screamed and knocked over the lamp that did it. After that the movie wasn’t something I wanted to watch anymore, but by then it was too late, I had to see the movie through, not because my grandmother wouldn’t have turned it off if I asked, but because I had to know what happened. I had to know whether or not the red glob of asteroid slime was killed or left free to roam the world.

Now, even though the entire movie scared the crap out of me, there was one scene in particular that really got to me, that being the moment when the Blob passed through the heating vent into the movie theater projection booth followed by it oozing through the tiny windows onto the crowd below. My god, talk about associating an everyday item with sheer terror. Not a moment went by after seeing that where I wasn’t aware of the heating vents around me (even while in school), my eyes always wanting to glance over and make sure nothing was oozing out. I also never wanted to sit under a heating vent in our basement when watching TV or playing video games, and at night I would always do my best to cover up the one in my bedroom floor with something heavy before going to sleep. It was crazy, and to this day I’m still not really all that fond of the heating vents, and while I know the Blob probably isn’t going to come through one, there are plenty of other ‘real life’ things that could slither their way into my place at night.


Johnny Thunder said...

Yeah, the Blob always freaks me out too. Really well written and well said!

William Malmborg said...

Thanks Johnny, for a moment there I feared I might be the only one. Good to know I'm not alone.