by Ari Roth
For fifteen years, BlobFest has celebrated one of the great early horror classics, The Blob, from 1958. The film follows the titular alien blob as it wreaks havoc on Downingtown, PA and the surrounding area, consuming everything and everyone in its path.
The site of the festival itself – the famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, also has a special connection to the movie. As Chuck Francisco, a new member of the BlobFest committee, tells me, “the most famous scene from The Blob is when the Blob is squeezing its way out of the projection booth into a fully packed theater full of people who are watching a horror movie, and so they all come screaming out of the front of the theater. We hold that close to our hearts – we love that it’s a part of the town, we love that The Blob and the theater are synonymous with each other, so we started doing a festival fifteen years ago.”
At first, there were simply annual screenings commemorating The Blob and its place in the theater and the town’s history. Francisco tells me “and patrons would come to the screening, and when it was finished, they would spontaneously reenact the running out of the theater themselves.” From there, the festival grew around this tradition, and today it is an enormous yearly event, that – much like the blob itself – just continues to grow and grow every year.
Naturally, the three day event will feature the film itself on a big screen, but there will be much, much more for all classic camp horror and science fiction fans to relish. In addition to screenings of The Blob, this year’s festival will center around Kaiju monsters – the classic schlocky Japanese monsters (Francisco tells me that the word means “strange beast”) that ruled cinemas around the same time as The Blob. To that end, there will also be screenings (paired with The Blob as a double feature) of Mothra and King Kong vs. Godzilla. Francisco says that the latter is particularly exciting, because “it’s such a fun, wacky time, and it’s bringing together the two most famous giant monsters – the American King Kong and the Japanese Godzilla.”
The festival will also feature The Giant Spider, a new film by Christopher Mihm that was shot as if it was a classic 50s horror flick, that Francisco says “feels like it was put in a time warp in a little vault and unearthed recently to be watched.” Also featuring will be live music, a costume contest, special guest Joel Hodgson (the original host of cult 90s movie-riffing TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000), screenings of amateur films, talks, lectures, a street fair, and more.
BlobFest 2014 will be held on Friday, July 11th, Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th. The event kicks off on Friday at 7 PM, on Saturday at 10:30 AM, and on Sunday at 1:30 PM, finally concluding on that day at 5 PM. As previously mentioned, BlobFest is held in the small town of Phoenixville, PA, at the Colonial Theatre, which is located at 227 Bridge St. Tickets to individual screenings within the festival can be purchased here.