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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | August 7, 2006

Oh Shawnee Smith, Shawnee Smith, you’re hot. You’re still hot.

I remember seeing you in “The Blob” when I was a wee lad. I used to watch it every other day on WPIX Channel 11 before it was taken over by the WB, and even though most of the film was edited and chopped up, I watched not only because it’s one of the best remakes of all time, but because, well, you’re really hot.

I remember being ten always watching “The Blob” before I went to bed. The movies always started at eight and, come hell or high water, they ended at ten for the news, and that’s okay, because that’s when I went to bed. I remember being ten and watching your sweet self running around screaming and just being an all around hotty, even when in the sewer all wet and dirty.

I remember reading years later that you love to be recognized as the girl from “The Blob”, and then I just thought that if you weren’t already married and knocked up, I’d stalk you. Just kidding… not really. Most actresses really disown their past even if they do or don’t make it. Barbara Hershey won’t talk about “The Entity” and try to get Jennifer Aniston to discuss “Leprechaun”, but even when you took part in a successful horror trilogy, you’re still unpretentious.

You love horror, you love horror fans, and we love you. You’re gorgeous, and we enjoyed your performance in “The Blob” as a cheerleader who defies the trappings of the cliché becoming this courageous heroine. And then you were in “The Stand” as Flagg’s insane sidekick, and then there was “Saw”.

There was a lot of hooplah involved in that film. Some loved it, some hated it, others panned it, people despised the surprise ending, but, not too surprisingly, the object of “Saw” that was given most of the hype was you and your brief walk on as Amanda, a drug addict who manages to escape the infamous jaw trap.

And let’s not forget “Saw II” which you’re given a bigger role and a more prominent importance in the series. See, I usually bash studios for them to do this was a smart move. The movie was great, and you were better, but I remember watching an online interview with you and you were so accommodating to us horror geeks. Hell, even though you know most of them don’t even know how to talk to women, you were still great.

I forgot what the point of this entry was…

Now sure, I’ve always said no one can ever top Steve McQueen, but in the remake of “The Blob”, Kevin Dillon in a long curly mane comes close. Oh so close.

“The Blob” is really one of the better remakes to be made, and it’s to the point where it almost tops the original, mainly because it’s played with a tone that’s both utterly dramatic yet campy enough to enjoy. I mean how many guys thought twice about reaching into to cop a feel on our unconscious date after watching this?

None, I know.

But “The Blob” is really one of my favorite remakes. So after watching it for the thousandth time on premium cable (ain’t I fancy?) and learning of Hollywood’s plans to remake it yet again, I felt the need to muse on one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen. News on the remake made me wonder, what would we get? PG-13 fare? Another showcase of CW stars and one person from “Lost”? One of Hollywood’s newest methods is taking a remake and completely saturating it to the point where it’s indiscernable from the original.

Take for example the upcoming “The Visiting” which is or was yet another remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (the ’53 version is by far my favorite) now will take place in London, star Nicole Kidman, and have a story that’s somewhat similar towards the original source but completely differ in terms of concept and alien motives, thus it’s a completely different movie, while acting as a remake. Hey, it worked for “Slither”.

I subscribe to Joseph Dougherty’s thoughts that “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” should be remade every ten or fifteen years, basically because each version has always managed to reflect current social overtones, and currently with the “suspect everyone, trust no one” sensibility in terms of terrorism, it’s about time we had another “Invasion” remake harping on that topic.

As for “The Blob” it’s a concept and story that can be taken as a campy comedy, or a horror film with a stern drama tone. The original McQueen installment was played with both a comic novelty and a mildly horrific tone. But the eighties remake was altogether a different cut of the same cloth. This film reflected the eighties in every way yet played the story with a more horrific tone with some camp thrown in every so often.

The psychotic preacher, the gun toting scientists, the waitress who decides to get herself trapped in a phone booth instead of running and hiding, Kevin Dillon’s long mane, and a hero who can basically maneuver his motorcycle around the sewer without much trouble. But, in spite of its evident camp, “The Blob” is played with very much horror, and the blob itself is a creepy presence. The person we think is the main character (Donovan Leitch) is offed in the first half of the film in a rather gruesome fashion, and the character we assume will be thrown away ends up saving the day. I haven’t seen anything like that since “Jason Lives”.

As always, the plot involves a meteor that crashes, an old hobo that discovers it and brings it with him, and the rest of the film is basically Smith’s character attempting to prove to everyone that the blob is around, while the gelatonous monster oozes around and devours anything in sight, and there are some torn limbs here and there, and a poor h***y schmoe who gets eaten in an attempt to cop a feel.

“The Blob” is that rare remake that I can watch over and over because it’s so cheesy, but it goes down so easy. Is there a better sight than watching a dish washer being sucked down a small sink drain? I think not! And what about the ending that leaves the door open for a sequel? Did they ever plan a sequel?

It’s not very intricate, it doesn’t try to give any political commentary, and it just gives us what the original gave us: guiltless entertainment. And I enjoy it. I enjoy it when the two young boys are attempting to watch the cookie cutter slasher film and two noisy patrons are scooped up from behind them by the blob that looms on the ceiling, I love how such a huge theater doesn’t notice a humongous ooze hanging above them, I love the strobe effect when the film dies out and the audiences are attempting to book it, and there’s really not a scene in horror films that I’ve seen many times that leaves me tense as when Smith’s character Meg is stuck in the sewer with her brother and his best friend.

Suffice it to say, for a kid who was only eight around the time it appeared on basic television, it was surprising to see a small kid get dragged from the safety of an adult into the water to be eaten alive from the blob. All of which leads up to the fun climax where the gigantic blob begins to consume the entire town, with no help from the police whom seem to be MIA. It swats, it scoops, it grabs, and it breaks people in two, and Smith goes Rambo on that purple bitch firing off a semi-automatic, planting grenades, and even giving a war cry. If this isn’t pure eighties, I’m not sure what is.

I’ve always thought the point of remakes were the notion of a studio to try again with a film they weren’t happy with the first time, or one that has aged consistently. Worked for “The Thing” (though I still love the original), and it worked for “The Fly” (though I still love the original). The problem is, I don’t see the wrinkles on “The Blob”, so I’m perplexed as to why they’d remake it again.

Maybe it’s because this current version is a childhood favorite, one I would watch right before bed. Maybe, I just enjoyed this film so damn much, and maybe it’s the sentimental value, but I just don’t see how it could be thought of as obsolete. Sure, McQueen’s film isn’t so hot these days, so they scored with a remake. Why do it again and risk a bomb? Yeah, I know the answers, but these are just rhetorical questions. Its easy money, and a resume filler for some sitcom star.

And I’ll welcome it. I want to see what they have for us.

And I want to see the Strawberry Jam scoop up some hapless small town sap, again.

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  1. stalker says:

    I would bang her in a new york minute she looks so fuckin good in becker!!! to bad it got cancelled (sp?)

  2. Felix Vasquez Jr. says:

    I never got to see “Becker”, but my uncle used to watch it just to see her. She’s got it where it counts, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to see her evil in “Saw 3”.

  3. Gigi says:

    It’s good to see Shawnee back. I remember her in a ton of stuff in the 80’s. Ever see her in “Becker”? She looks great for her age.

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