BEWARE! THE BLOB (1972) Blu-ray
Director: Larry Hagman
Kino Lorber

Some 15 years after the beloved baby boomer cult classic, THE BLOB, the late great actor Larry Hagman (FAIL-SAFE) was somehow brought in to direct this silly but enjoyable sequel. Also known as SON OF BLOB, the film was re-released in the early 1980s (after it was already playing on television) with the tagline, "The Film That J.R. Shot," embracing Hagman's then incredible success on "Dallas." Anyone who is a fan of Hagman will immediately recall him being the notorious villain JR Ewing on “Dallas” which was one of the longest running prime time TV shows, lasting 13 seasons. Prior to that he was Major Anthony Nelson on the hit 1960s sitcom, “I Dream of Jeannie” with Barbara Eden (who later appeared on “Dallas” reuniting her with Hagman). This was Hagman’s only feature film as a director (and he got involved since he was next-door neighbor to producer Jack H. Harris), and it’s quite the doozy.

Geologist/technician Chester Hargis (WATERMELON MAN) stores a frozen Blob specimen in his home freezer (nice move). His wife Mariane (Marlene Clark, NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN) accidentally unleashes the red Jello and it quickly devours the couple's adorable little kitten. Chester, who sits on the Blob while drinking beer and watching a horror movie (the original THE BLOB, showing a scene with Steve McQueen) in an easy chair, becomes literally neck-high in Blob goo, much to the dread of his wife who discovers him. In the meantime, a hip chick named Lisa Clark (Gwynne Gilford, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE) discovers Cambridge in near death, but when she brings her boyfriend Bobby Hartford (Robert Walker Jr., EASY RIDER, THE SAVAGE SEVEN) to the scene, no evidence is left behind and nobody – including the police – believes her story about the oozing menace. After calming the traumatized girl by offering her an avocado sandwich, Bobby soon witnesses the shapeless creature, as the whole town becomes terrorized.

In a sense more fun than the original (sacrilege, we know!), BEWARE! THE BLOB is played for laughs, as it unwraps as a series of weird and ridiculous vignettes concerning the Blob and his various victims; an overcharging barber (Shelley Berman, EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE ONE) plunges a hippie's (John Houser’s) head into a sink unknowingly containing the Blob, a mean police officer (an unbilled Sid Haig, GALAXY OF TERROR) is attacked from behind after being warned by some doped-up hippies, a bald Turkish man (Tiger Joe Marsh, HEAD) runs in the street naked after the Blob enters his bathroom, etc. The film commences at a roller/ice skating rink and the cheap special effects (using a lot of reverse camera tricks) aren't too bad when put into perspective of that early 1970s charm.

A lot of BEWARE! THE BLOB was improvised in favor of the original screenplay and Hagman himself appears in a cameo, along with Burgess Meredith and Del Close, as a campfire drunken hobo (Meredith and Close babble on about hippies in their stupor, truly a sign of the times of when this was made). You'll also spot a pre-AMERICAN GRAFFITI Cindy Williams (“Laverne and Shirley”), Carol Lynley (THE SHUTTERED ROOM), Dick Van Patten (as a scout leader of all things), Gerrit Graham (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) as a nut wearing an ape suit at a party, Rockne Tarkington (BLACK SAMSON) as a smirking deputy, Danny Goldman (YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN) as a bearded party-going hippie, TV actor Richard Stahl (“The Odd Couple”) as the cantankerous rink owner and Richard Webb (HELL RAIDERS) as the glory-monging sheriff. Written by Jack Woods (a sound editor, who also wrote EQUINOX, another Jack H. Harris film) and with a screenplay by Anthony Woods (composer for STARBLASTER aka PRISON SHIP, which is also part of the Harris library), BEWARE! THE BLOB is pure camp mixed with a few effectively chilling scenes with the Blob attacking people in the city and the wild ending.

Kino Lorber presents BEWARE! THE BLOB in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in 1080p HD, with a MPEG 4, AVC Encode, and the results are just outstanding; the colors look fantastic, vivid and sharp, skin tones look spot on, daylight scenes look terrific, and film grain is handled well. The Blu-ray quality is simply superb and easily blows away the old, now obsolete Image Entertainment DVD. The audio used for BEWARE! THE BLOB is what Kino Lorber uses for 99% of their releases, which is DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0. The dialogue and other sounds such as gunfire and the squishiness of the Blob, as well as the music score, come off just fine. No subtitle options are available on the disc.

Kino Lorber has included some great extras for this release. An audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, who talks about how the sequel to THE BLOB came to be, is very definitive and thorough as he gives background info about the cast and crew and where they had appeared prior to this film and what they went onto after its production. One interesting note is about Larry Hagman not speaking on Sundays, and he has no lines in this movie, because it was shot on a Sunday, a theory of Smith. In his commentary, Smith mentions that the death by “Blobbing” scenes (being eaten by the blob) are more disturbing to him than other character death scenes from other films of more noteworthy acclaim. Other extras included in this release are an alternate title sequence (under the SON OF BLOB title) and trailers for BEWARE THE BLOB! ("Larry Hagman and his pals try to stop the Blob with a pitchfork"), THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT and WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO? (the latter two also available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber).

Kino Lorber has done such an excellent job with BEWARE! THE BLOB that we as fans and collectors can now highly anticipate what this label will be able do with other Jack H. Harris classics in their upcoming release slate including THE LEGEND OF HILLBILLY JOHN, APE and THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES. This release is highly recommended! (David Steigman)