With more and more movies finding themselves in legal limbo due to rights and ownership issues, producers behind a planned remake of the 1958 cult horror film, The Blob, are battling in court to try and retain the rights to the franchise.
The Blob remake was first discussed all the way back in 2009, when Rob Zombie, former musician and director of numerous horror movies, was connected to the project. Six years later he dropped out and was replaced by Simon West, with Richard Saperstein and Brian Witten down to produce and Jack H Harris, who produced the 1958 original, as executive producer. Now a whole 12 years on from the announcement that a new remake was in the works, it is this hiatus and Saperstein and Witten's request for more time to complete the movie that has led to the courtroom fight ensuing.
Saperstein and Witten, who between them have produced some memorable horror movies such as the Stephen King adaptations, The Mist, Cell and Creepshow, as well as Books of Blood, Silent Night and Chernobyl Diaries, are partly citing the Covid19 pandemic for the latest delay, but Worldwide Entertainment Corporation is pushing back on their request for more time, leaving the movie in a very uncertain position.
Worldwide Entertainment Corporation is currently run by Judith Harris, whose late husband was the head of the studio behind the 1958 version of The Blob, so it could be argued that after more than a decade in development hell it would not be surprising that they should want to see the movie either move on or pack up.
THR reported that the producers state they have spent $418,000 on the remake since taking the option, and are claiming there was an extension agreed with Harris verbally, but it was never then confirmed.
"In Los Angeles Superior Court, Saperstein and Witten are now suing to retain rights," the report states, "They claim that Harris orally agreed to an extension and then failed to put it in writing despite multiple emails and even a $50,000 offer. And if a judge doesn't recognize this as an oral agreement, they are falling back on the claim that COVID-19 represents a force majeure event that 'prevented them from attempting to produce the Picture, and as a result, the Extension term must be tolled through the present date.' "
The Blob is one the most iconic b-movies of the 50s, starring Steven McQueen in his feature film debut and co-starring Anete Corsaut and Earl Rowe. The story revolves around a jelly-like entity that arrives on Earth inside a meteorite and rapidly grows in size as it aggressively devours residents of towns in Pennsylvania. The movie received a sequel in 1972, Beware! The Blob, which was directed by Larry Hagman, better known to many as JR Ewing in US 80s soap Dallas.
The campy follow-up, which almost acted as a parody of itself while attempting to be serious, wasn't a major success, but that didn't stop The Blob returning to cinemas again in a 1988 remake from Chuck Russell and starring Kevin Dillon. Rob Zombie tried to remake The Blob, but that movie stalled and eventually went nowhere.
While a re-imagining of the gelatinous alien invasion tale would no doubt be lapped up by new audiences, who cannot seem to watch anything made before 1990 without complaining about its "cheap" special effects, there will be a number of fans of the original that would be happy to see the new remake go down the drain. This news was first reported at Bloody Disgusting.