Discovered, restored archival print of 'The Blob' coming to Campus Theatre

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Oct. 14—LEWISBURG — Campus Theatre will host a special screening of the 1988 cult horror classic "The Blob" on Sunday as part of a Halloween movie series.

The 35mm archival print was acquired through the estate of a local theater owner and restored inside Campus Theatre's projection booth by technical director Andy Seal.

The theater's one-day-only showing of "The Blob" this Halloween season starts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $5.

"It was the last film shown at the Silver Moon Drive-In. It would have been Halloween of 1988," Seal said. "Somebody said they found it in a garage. They knew the story and they knew the background of it."

Additional movies to be shown as part of the Halloween series are "Haunted Honeymoon" at 7 p.m. today, "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at 9 p.m. Oct. 29 — an annual event at the theater — "The Exorcist" and "The Shining" at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 30, respectively, and "Monster House" at 1 p.m. Oct. 31 and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" at 5 p.m. Oct. 31.

"Caligari" is a silent film from Germany released in 1920. It will be accompanied by live music. Tickets are $10.

Extreme temperature changes over the past three decades caused the "The Blob" film to warp, giving it a wobbly feel that would show up on the screen, Seal said. It was also very dirty.

About a week's worth of work was put into the first-level restoration of the archival reel, Seal said. Higher levels of restoration are more laborious. Seal's work on "The Blob" involved cleaning the film with two different solvents, repairing splices and perforations and running it several times through the theater's Kinoton projectors to even it out.

"We've been able to work it out a little bit," Seal said.

Scotta Magnelli, Campus Theatre's executive director, said local cinephiles are often excited to watch a movie in its original format, in this case, 35mm film.

"As far as I know we're the only historic theater in the area that has the ability and expertise to restore these prints. That puts us on the map in a different way," Magnelli said.

The 1988 version of "The Blob" is a remake of the original from 1958. Details in the plots of each movie are different but the gist is this: a man-eating blob spreads through a California town threatening to devour the entire population.

"If you're into special effects, which we have some fans of the theater who are, they're very fascinated by the film. By 1988, special effects and visual effects, which would have been post-production stuff, were already in full swing. This film, any of its special effects were basically recreations of what they would have done in the original," Seal said.

The rights to show the film were acquired through a film company owned by the granddaughter of a producer on the movie. Seal anticipates once word spreads that Campus Theatre now owns the archival print, other theaters with 35mm projectors may request to borrow it. That's common practice, Seal said, adding that he hopes this experience leads to expanded archival print work at the Lewisburg theater.

The movie was part of a double-feature with the Chuck Norris movie, "Hero and The Terror." Campus Theatre acquired that film, too, and Seal expects to restore it before showing it perhaps next year.

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