Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Memories Change with Time

The other night, the original The Blob (1958) aired, staring a very young Steve McQueen with female co-star Aneta Corsaut, and it was a stark reminder of how memories can change over time and aren't always reliable. First I was surprised to see that it was filmed in color. My memories told me it was in black & white. Second, I realized I only remembered how it began and ended but not anything in between.

This was the first time I had seen The Blob in at least 30 years a number of years. The very first time I watched this film was with Mamma Cheese when I was a wee lad. We saw a commercial that it would air on a local television channel late on a Saturday night. She said it was one of those classic she had always meant to watch, and since up to that point in my life, Mama Cheese was my biggest influence in my tastes in horror films, if she said we needed to watch it, then by the gods I was going to watch it with her! This was pre-DVR and before we owned a VCR, so we had to stay up until past midnight. I remember the experience but only remember the final scenes. But as proof that human memories are fallible, I thought it was in black & white. Rewatching it the other night, I was quite surprised to see that it was filmed in color. I was also able to rewatch it with a more critical and experienced eye. One of the things that struck me earlier on in the film was that I didn't understand why early in the film more than ten minutes is spent in a drag racing scene between Steve McQueen and some other teens. The only thing I can figure it that drag racing would have been something of interest to the young crowd of the time, but other than that, it did nothing to propel the plot forward.

Mama Cheese and I went to bed at the movie's conclusion, and the rest of life was normal. A few weeks later though, we saw another commercial, and that exact same television station was going to show The Blob at noon that coming Sunday. She said a few choice four-letter words, I shook my head, and eventually we went to the theaters and watched one of Roger Corman's last films,  Battle Beyond the Stars.

Per my last two blog postings, The Blob was remade in 1988 and stared Kevin Dillon and young, emerging scream queen Shawnee Smith (from horror film Saw fame). From what I remember, it was a worthy remake, not nearly as bad as many I've seen. Although ironically, unlike the original in which I only remembered the beginning and the end, with this remake, I can only remember the middle portions. I do remember though that both Dillon and Smith were decent enough actors that they didn't embarrass themselves, and the special effects for this film were fairly decent.

But all this goes to show that we should rewatch the classics from time to time and refresh our memories of them. Plus, with the passage of years, we've changed as individuals and may discover new aspects about the film (or classic books) that we didn't notice the first time around. We'll approach it with a different level of expectations and relive those portions we loved the first time around. Finally, rewatches remind us of the people we shared the experience with, and maybe sometimes, for a few ethereal moments, that person is with us again.

Until Next Time...
Nostalgically Yours,

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