My apologies, noble readers, I have been so wrapped up in the awesomeness of this year's Blobfest, that I've neglected my writing. I spent the near entirety of this past weekend in slowly revitalizing hamlet of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. For me the trip is just a ten minute drive, but Blob fanatics come from all across the county to immerse themselves in everything gooey, alien monster related. I spoke with a couple from California who make the trip east every year as part of their vacation. Indeed the push pin map set up outside the theatre noted fest goers from thirty different states.
So what brings these folks to this famous town? Well, for starters, there's the kitschy 1958 Steve McQueen film, The Blob, which was shot at locations around Phoenixville, Downingtown and Royersford, including The Colonial Theatre, setting for famous scene of panicked movie goers fleeing from our gelatinous movie monster. Among the various activities at Blobfest, there is a reenactment of this famous scene, where lucky participants get to harness their inner 50's creature feature extra. Check it out:
Really though, the Run Out is just the tip of the iceberg. It's proceeded by a variety show, a scream competition, a short form horror film competition and it is the traditional kick off to Blobfest. Hosted by an honest to goodness horror host imported from the west coast, Mr.Lobo, Blobfest brings together a motley crew of horror entertainers and luminaries with a wink and a nudge to the darkside within all of us. And we're cordially invited to let our inhibitions ooze around the neighborhood like that all consuming blob of murderous alien slime.
Right after the Run Out finishes, the annual Blob Ball begins. It's a 50's themed dance party with a live band. This year Atomic Age rocked the downstairs of PJ Ryan's, a local pub, till all hours. Greasers mixed with Betties mixed with swingers while Elvis and Buddy Holly shared the mic.
Ah but the heart of Blobfest has always been the Street fair on Saturday. The picturesque revitalized small town main street is closed off, to allow gussied up classic cars and one of the actual fire trucks used in The Blob to be exhibited. Vendors up and down the street hawk wares that normally wouldn't garner much attention, but to attendees are better than a night with a young Jamie Lee(maybe). Rare, out of print VHS and DVD horror films, iconic geek chic t-shirts, monster movie magazines from yesteryear and collectables of all sorts. Personally, I cleaned up, picking up both a DVD copy of the very out of print Silent Night, Deadly Night and a very old MST3K VHS release. The rock ability band provides your afternoon soundtrack and there are themed events galore.
The morning kicks off with a fire extinguisher parade, Phoenixville's way to warn off any young, brash, up and coming Blob monsters. The fantastically macabre Ghoul-a-Go-Go bring their brand of 50's children show dance party to the delight of everyone with some modicum of taste. They're based out of New York City and are an extremely popular public access show. It brings back my memories of childhood television and while that's awesome, it's also saddening that there isn't anything like that around in most markets now. I get my dose of it each year in Phoenixville.
Double features run throughout the day inside the Healthfully Air-conditioned Colonial Theatre. During the day, The Blob was billed with the fantastic Invaders from Mars, which got the 'Cheese treatment HERE. The late night spooky show is a double bill of The Blob and It Conquered the World, a fantastic Roger Corman classic staring Lee Van Cleef and Peter Graves. And if you need a break from the movies, the 3rd floor of the theatre is open for you to meet Wes Shank, the keeper of the actual blob, still in it's five gallon pail. You could even take a gander into the actual projection booth, where the monster we all know and love consumed an oblivious projectionist.
Even the stores and restaurants up and down Bridge Street get in on the act, offering Blob themed specials or treats. Particularly awesome were the offerings from Iron Hill Brewery, two delicious Blob beers, and from the Artisan Gallery & Cafe who had this amazing custom pastry. Even the sign is edible white chocolate.
We love The Blob(as we discussed HERE). If you do too, or if you love reveling in the nostalgia of things now lost to us, start making your plans to attending next year's Blobfest. You seriously don't want to be left out again.