Most remakes of old movies, especially horror or science fiction movies, are pointless affairs that fail either to capture the spirit of the original or to add anything new to the basic premise. Occasionally, a smart filmmaker will come along and actually improve upon the original, as was the case with David Cronenberg's remake of THE FLY (1986). Luckily, Russell's remake of the 1958 "classic" THE BLOB manages both to capture the giddy drive-in feel of the original and improve upon it. Savvy enough to quote from the highlights of the original and clever enough to stand on its own, THE BLOB pits the small town of Arborville against a man-eating blob from outer space that threatens to devour the entire community. Well directed by Russell, THE BLOB is fast-paced, frightening, revolting, and witty, delivering the goods that come with the genre while developing characters and themes at the same time. Although the state-of-the-art special effects are duly impressive and come at a breakneck pace, what works in this remake is not just the improvement in effects technology but also a striking rethinking of the film's subtext. If one accepts the popular notion that the original BLOB was a reflection of American fears in the late 1950s, the new BLOB serves the same purpose for the post-Irangate-Pentagon scandal of the 1980s. The screenplay by Russell and Darabont is a left-leaning reaction to the Reagan era. Whereas the original blob was seen as a representation of the creeping evil of communism, the remake sees the threat as domestic rather than foreign--with a thoughtless, paranoid, and cynical American government whose obsession with communism leads to disastrous results for its own citizens (the blob is the product of a botched US Army experiment with chemical warfare). This remake of THE BLOB is a fine, multilayered effort from a director who understands the genre and appreciates its traditions. Anyone who has been disheartened by the mindless, cynical, and misogynistic road that science fiction and horror films have taken lately should be delighted with the genuine thoughtfulness and fun behind THE BLOB.