A surprisingly smart piece of 50′s camp, The Blob holds up pretty well 52 years later. Sure, the special effects are supremely silly—the blob itself looks like little more than a gradually growing, great gob of jello —but Yeaworth smartly masks this by keeping most of the action and suspense off the screen (and credit where credit’s due: the blob oozing through some dark windows late in the film is a nice piece of color cinematography). The Blob also boasts something few 50′s b-movies can: a genuine charismatic lead in a 28-year old Steve McQueen, who springboarded to stardom off his performance as Steve Andrews, the only person in his small town who knows that something truly horrible has arrived in town. The combination of McQueen’s screen presence, a solid script, and Yeaworth’s intelligent choices make The Blob consistently entertaining, if a step below Don Siegel’s The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, released two years earlier. There are lots of charming touches, such as the blob choosing a cinema as its public coming-out party, and a shout-out to Bela Lugosi for making this whole affair possible. But there’s also some allegory here: the blob’s unstoppable growth could easily refer to the rising fear brought on by the nuclear era (its ultimate Achilles heel lends some credence to this theory). Even if you decide that reading anything deep into The Blob is overdoing it, it’s still a stronger-than-expected work, and I understand why Criterion chose to pick it up way back when, its pure cult value aside.