USA / 1958
Director: Irvin S Yeaworth Jr
Writers: Theodore Simonson, Kate Phillips (from an idea by Irvine H Millgate)
Cast: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corseaut, Earl Rose, Steven Chase, John Benson, Olin Howlin, Vince Barbi, Audrey Metcalf, Elinor Hammer, Keith Almoney, Julie Cousins, Robert Fields, James Bonnet, Anthony Granke
In this quintessential ’50s monster flick, feisty teenagers Steve (Steve McQueen) and Jane (Aneta Corseaut) battle a blob of unidentifiable alien goo that has fallen from the sky in an asteroid. It’s alive, nasty and has a taste for human flesh, eating its victims by dissolving them.
The kids find an old hermit (Olin Howlin) blind with pain and with half an arm being dissolved in a strange, sticky substance. They take the old man to the doctor who prepares to amputate the afflicted arm but the messy mass of goo gobbles up the old man, the nurse and the doctor as the youngsters make their escape.
The kids tell the local police who refuse to believe them so Steve takes it upon himself to do something about the menace and, with the help of his young friends, sets out to awaken the community to the expanding, space-age threat.
This was McQueen’s first starring role (only his third feature appearance and the last time he was billed as Steven). He was 27 at the time, prompting US reviewer, Hollis Alpert, to note that the film boasted “the world’s oldest teenagers.” But the biggest attractions are the special effects: the monster was created using a silicone-smeared weather balloon.