Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre hosted its annual Blobfest this weekend. The three-day event celebrated The Blob, a 1958 science-fiction movie that was created in the suburban Philadelphia area. The venerable movie house was a set in a handful of scenes in the flick, allowing fans to watch The Blob in the same theater that it was filmed.
As is the case with many sci-fi/horror movies of its era, The Blob is not a gold standard for cinema. It is a fun and campy film. The most notable member of the movie’s cast was a young Steve McQueen. It was one of the future star’s first film roles.
The movie begins with two teenagers in a lovers’ lane situation. A meteorite falls near them. An amoeboid inside the space debris slowly creeps out and beings absorbing citizens of a rural Pennsylvania town. As the substance devours humans it grows to epic proportions. It slithers through the town, notably entering the Colonial Theater and causing a panic.
The Blob was an unexpected success in 1958. The movie grossed $1.5 million within the first month of its release. 60 years after the film hit theaters, Phoenixville continues to promote one of its signature cultural moments.
What Is Blobfest?
Blobfest is an annual event commemorating The Blob. The festival began on Friday night and continued until Sunday afternoon. The celebration is centered around the Colonial Theatre.
On Friday night fan reenacted a scene from The Blob by running out of the Colonial Theatre. The film itself was screened throughout the weekend. It was incorporated into double-features with Creature From The Black Lagoon, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, and Demon with the Atomic Brain.
There was also a scheduled Q&A on Sunday afternoon. The Blob cast member Keith Almoney (the actor who played Young Danny) and Bill Jersey (the art director for The Blob) were slated for the session. Other guests included Chris Mihm (director of Demon With The Atomic Brain) and Ricou Browning (who played the Creature from Creature From The Black Lagoon).
Blobfest features a street fair with vendors hawking an assortment of sci-fi movie memorabilia. Gear from the vendors included t-shirts and some unusual merchandise. If you needed Blob soap to decorate your bathroom, you were covered.
The street fair cordoned off the area directly outside of the movie house. Parking was easily accessible. It was fun to stroll the streets and take advantage of Phoenixville’s restaurant and bar scene near the theater.
The Colonial Theatre’s pricing for Blobfest is good value for moviegoers. For $11 you were able to see a double-feature of sci-fi films and keep a pair of collectible Blogfest 3D glasses.
Extreme fans of The Blob could take advantage of the Colonial Theatre’s VIP package. For $75 fans could gain access to every screening, gear, and a ticket for the Friday night run out.
The atmosphere of Blobfest was both fun and self-aware. The event holds the movie in a positive light and it does not take itself too seriously. At no point does the movie theater pretend that it was a scene in Citizen Kane.
The Blob in 2018
I was at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday afternoon for the double-feature of The Blob and Creature From The Black Lagoon.
As a dramatic endeavor, The Blob does not hold up well. The dialogue includes many lines that are unintentionally laughable. Even though Steve McQueen is the clear star of the movie, the future icon was not the polished actor that he would evolve into shortly after the movie.
The audience in the Colonial Theatre appreciated the film with the right spirit. The crowd cheered when the theater appeared in the movie. It was also fair game to call out the plot holes and laugh out loud at the dialogue and tone of the flick.
The film was superior to its double-feature partner, Creature From The Black Lagoon. It was not the first time that I had watched either movie, but the 3D film from 1954 was not as enjoyable as its predecessor. The movie lacked the camp of The Blob. Its razor thin plot was weighed down by the trappings of the era (i.e. why does the only woman scientist in the movie swim in the Amazon River in an impractical bathing suit?).
Creature From The Black Lagoon has recently regained some relevance. The creature’s desire for the female protagonist was the inspiration for Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning film The Shape Of Water.
Blobfest is a fun weekend outing for movie fans. The festival is family-friendly and an enjoyable day of summer fun. It is also a good way to stretch your entertainment dollars for both individuals and groups.
I liked the double-feature and the Blobfest street fair, but watching The Blob in the Colonial Theatre was the clear highlight of the day. It was great to take in a movie of that ilk with like-minded people who enjoy a bad movie as well as I do.