Ladies of Horror May-hem: Meg Penny


Aw, this was the perfect draw for a Friday. I have had The Blob in mind as a potential Flashback Friday entry for a while. This remake was one of my favorite horror movies when I was a teen, for many reasons (which I might detail if I ever do add this movie to my Flashback Friday entries).

It’s also, IMHO, a perfect example of how to do a remake well. True, it has cheese galore when viewed through the prism of modern CGI capabilities (although I swear that practical effects still trump CGI any damn day). However, here are the four reasons that I think this was a successful remake: They waited a significant amount of time between the original and the remake (30 years is way more substantial than, say, the 10 years certain people waited to reboot the Spider-man franchise); during the time that passed in between the original and the remake, significant advances occurred in special effect capabilities (again, as opposed to the relative lack of advances made between 2002 and 2012); they freshened up the script so that it was the same idea but with different reasons and motivations that still worked within the parameters of the idea; and they twisted things up a bit by giving us a new hero…now a heroine in the form of Meg Penny.

This is primarily why I have chosen Meg Penny as a Lady of Horror May-hem: She was an early example to me of how remakes can switch things up and turn earlier accepted norms upside down in the best possible ways. Rather than sticking with the original plot’s male hero, played by a “teenaged” Steve McQueen (who was nearly 30 when he made this movie and looked nearly 40), this time they chose an actual teenager! And a girl! Shawnee Smith was 17-18 years old at the time she played Meg. In a review of this movie I posted elsewhere, I wrote of Meg:

She was cute, she was sporty, she could rock pearls and a machine gun. Plus, she had this hair that was like the most awesome non-mullet mullet in the history of mulletdom. I have no idea what this hairstyle was supposed to be…but she somehow made it work.

Additionally, one of the things that has always cracked me up about Meg is that, while she has an uncanny ability to adapt to a series of increasingly bizarre and terrifying events transpiring in rapid fire, she never ever gets the chance to pull off the perfect “So, there!” exit from a situation. You know what I mean…that great exit that everyone always wants to get the chance to do at least once in their life, usually right after delivering the perfect verbal burn or rigging a charge to explode canisters of liquid nitrogen. You all know what I mean, right?

Seriously, poor Meg simply can’t catch a break when it comes to making a solid exit, and that gave her a relatable quality that I always enjoyed. She’s a horror movie heroine, but she bumbles along sometimes just like the rest of us. We won’t ever make a mullet look quite so fabulous, though. Natch.