The Phoenix Reporter & Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

‘The Blob' returns to Phoenixville for the annual far-out family festival


By Jaimi Rubin Gordon, For 21st Century Media

Friday, July 12, 2013

When most people hear the Blob is coming they would run away — but not in Phoenixville, where they not only run to see the Blob, but they also celebrate it!
This is the 13th annual festival celebrating “The Blob,” which was filmed partially in Phoenixville in 1958. BLOBFEST includes screenings of the movie, street fair vendors, food, fun, music, costume and other contests, live entertainment and more. This weekend-long event takes place July 12 to 14 in and around the Colonial Theatre located on Bridge Street in downtown Phoenixville.
In 1957, Good News Productions produced “The Blob”, starring Steve McQueen, with scenes from the movie being filmed at the Colonial and other spots in and around Phoenixville.
Whatever its flaws as a film, a none-too-scary monster chief among them, “The Blob” is a uniquely compelling monster movie. The decision to shoot in Technicolor, largely on real locations in Pennsylvania, invests it with a high-’50s feel money couldn’t buy.
The remarkable seriousness that the actors, particularly method disciple McQueen, bring to the material makes the film difficult to dismiss as mere camp. So does a finale that unites the entire town, teens and grown-ups alike, in an all-metaphors-aside fight against an alien threat, a moment that seems to confirm historian Bruce Eder’s description of “The Blob” as “like watching some kind of collective home movie of who we were and who we thought we were... ...Or maybe it’s simply the best film ever to pit hot-rodding teens against a mass of silicone. It delivers the goods any way you look at it.”
As BlobFest committee volunteer Joan Kelly explained, BLOBFEST started as simply the re-enactment of the “Run Out” scene and a screening of “The Blob.”
“One of the best parts is watching the film on the big screen in the theater where scenes were actually filmed. I think that the fans’ enthusiasm is great as well. We have many people who come back year after year.
“BlobFest has expanded over the years, with more films, more activities out on the street and bigger crowds. We’ve added things like the Shorty Awards and the scream contest and a Friday night stage show. However, the biggest constant for BLOBFEST is the screening of the film, and of course, the ‘Run Out’.”
Kelly said, “People come from all over the country to attend BLOBFEST. I just saw a post on our Facebook page from someone saying he’s coming from Palm Beach, Fla. We usually have a U.S. map out for fans to place a pin on the location where they came from. We’ve seen people come from the West Coast and even Alaska.
“This year we have a prize for the person coming the farthest — they will be guest judge for the costume contest.
“BlobFest is a family event. All ages are welcomed. The sci-fi movies of the ‘50s are much less intense and frightening than those produced today, even for younger kids. There is a lot to keep kids and adults entertained all weekend.”
Given that it is a festival about the Blob, there are many events to enjoy at BlobFest. Kelly said that there are many not-to-miss events.
“The ‘Run Out’ is one of the most popular events of the weekend. We re-enact the scene from the film where the audience runs out of the theater to escape the Blob. In addition to our own Dr. Frank N. Stone, we’ve got horror host Mr. Lobo and characters from Ghoul A Go-Go with us all weekend.
“On Saturday, we’ve got a StreetFair that includes the Costume Contest (first prize is $250), rockabilly band The Buzzards, Storytelling by the Patient Creatures, the original fire truck from the film and vendors.
“Inside the theater, on the third floor, we have Wes Shank and the actual Blob prop from the film. Our special guest, Keith Almoney, who played little Danny in the film, will also be there to greet fans and sign autographs.
“Of course, we’ve got multiple showings of ‘The Blob,’ along with several other sci-fi films.”
Tickets for BlobFest are available at thecolonialtheatre.com.
Kelly added, “Be sure to check out the BlobFest Facebook page and please ‘like’ it. We’re just shy of 3,000 likes.”
IF YOU GO:
BlobFest takes place in and around Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville, PA 19460, July 12 – 14.
For more information, call 610-917-0223 or thecolonialtheatre.com.