Appropriated By The Other: “The Blob” to

10 12 2012

Appropriated By The Other: “The Blob” to “The Body Snatchers”

We’ve all seen Romero’s comments about zombies representing the tide of consumerism. Some critics say that the original “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was supposed to be about the fear of communist subversion. The original version of “The Blob” has had very little theorizing about it, aside from it being just great camp fun. These monsters are all exploit a great fear: being appropriated by an outside power to destroy loved ones.

Why not vampires? Why aren’t vampires included in this list? Because, for their supposed wickedness and sinfulness, vampires still think and feel. It has been easy to imagine vampires regretting their evil, shunning their appetites, and yearning to be human. Can you imagine someone making a Twilight knock-off of The Blob? This spectrum of monsters has had all humanity excised, leaving only the useful husk.

The creatures here have these qualities: destruction or absorption of the victim in body, or even in mind, so that it can gain more victims through impersonation.

The most chilling parts of these movies and books were the first few days. The toddler shrieking and shunning her Body-Snatched mother, while the unsuspecting father watches puzzled. The wary neighbor who decides to go take a shower. What question could you ask that a Thing or a Snatcher couldn’t answer? (“So…how was that trip through outer space?” “Oh not bad. Not ba – dammit!”)

Have you read or seen “Phantoms”? Dean Koontz created an ur-monster that ate then impersonated a whole army division in an evening. How about “Blood Music” by Greg Bear? An intelligent viral infection decides to make the world more efficient, with hideous yet miraculous results for human consciousness. You could even argue that “IT” by Stephen King works, because Pennywise leeched the sympathy from the folks of Derry, took over their minds, and ate the townskids.

In the not-soon-enough-released SF thriller “Antiviral”, the appropriation is turned on its head. The movie imagines a black-market trade in celebrity genomes so that you could: a) inject yourself with a flu of Joseph Gordon Levitt, and b) have a black-market steak from cloned muscles of Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Let’s take it in other directions. First: a Twilight knock-off. The novel series “The Host” plays with this idea by having all of Earth possessed by alien minds. But if we go farther, The Thing would be the most likely candidate for a romantic treatment. The Sparkly Thing would already have absorbed countless alien creatures, and have access to their powers. It would be the most sensitive and proficient lover depending on who it’s eaten. And no babies to gnaw from wombs, as the baby would just ooze on out.

Second: a protoplasmic King Thing like the Changelings from “Deep Space 9” using the rest of the Universe as reference materials.

Or some semblance of a victim’s consciousness may survive and battle The Thing which consumed it. Imagine writing that from the absorbed victim’s perspective.

A tame Thing used as a familiar and counselor for a magician.

Fun Fact: Hey Comedy Improv People! Did you know Comedy Olympic founder and pioneer Del Close has two connections with The Blob? He wrote a horror comic book series with one story featuring a blob-ish creature. Del also appeared in the 1988 gritty-reboot of “The Blob” as a Baptist minister preaching The End Times. Which was written by Frank Darabont of “The Walking Dead”.



2 responses

10 12 2012
Alan Breakstone

Continuing with Star Trek, the Borg would be another example. Picard was absorbed into it, then had years of PTSD after getting un-absorbed.

10 12 2012

Good point! NextGen’s had a few episodes of Body Snatcher-like critters.

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