Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Blob Versus A Shoggoth

Yesterday I was watching The Blob on TV and I got to thinking; who would win in a fight? The Blob or a Shoggoth?

On the surface it seems like a pretty even fight. Both are seemingly indestructible, indescribable space-amoebae that few earthly weapons can resist. But what if the two were pitted against each other? Let's take a look at the competitors...

The Blob:

Arriving on Earth in a meteor, the Blob introduces itself by breaking open it's meteoric vessel and painfully attaching itself to an old farmer's hand, inevitably absorbing him. The Blob then goes on a nigh-unstoppable rampage (mostly off-screen), absorbing more and more people until it's large enough to menace a whole movie theater. It's reign of terror comes to a tragic end when it's puny Human enemies discover it's aversion to cold. Gathering all the fire extinguishers they can, they freeze the Blob long enough for the military to banish it to Alaska, where it remains frozen until the sequel.

Besides it's ability to absorb people and grow, the Blob has no outstanding powers. It's offensive capabilities are limited and it doesn't seem particularly intelligent. The Blob is little more then a wild animal in this regard, an exceptionally gelatinous wild animal.

The Shoggoth:

I've mentioned Shoggoths here before, the unspeakable primordial horrors in At The Mountains of Madness by one Mr. Lovecraft. Created by the Elder Things for manual labor, the Shoggoths are mindless protoplasmic blobs of bubbling black goo that can form body parts at whim (just like the Thing, we'll get to that later). From their sticky acidic surface forms hundreds of eyes and tentacles. The whole creature is so obscene and blasphemous that mere Humans go insane just looking at it.

Truly such a cosmic horror is more then a match for a mess of silicone and food coloring...or is it?

Like the Blob, Shoggoths have little intelligence. In At the Mountains of Madness, they endlessly parrot an ancient set of instructions, or possibly an incantation, tekeli-li. Likely left by the Elder Things. But the Shoggoths have no agency of their own, they're completely mindless, much like the Blob. Plus, their ability to form spikey-bladed arms or crushing tentacles means little to the Blob's superior surface tension.

Either way, splitting the Blob in half or smashing it would only make the Shoggoth's job harder, since it would have two or more smaller Blobs to deal with, rendering the Shoggoth's many tentacles, suction cups and other aquatic implements useless. Likewise, the Blob has no way of harming the Shoggoth. The more I think about it, the more it seems like this fight wouldn't really be a fight, more like two gelatinous masses harmlessly trying to engulf each other...or so it would seem.

If they were fighting on the Shoggoth's home turf of the Elder Thing's windowless basalt cities in Antarctica, it would have the obvious home field advantage. The Blob's infamous aversion to cold would doom it as it would quickly freeze in that harsh wilderness. All the Shoggoth would have to do it sit around and wait for it to turn into a giant blob-sicle and declare itself victor.

However, if the fight took place in, say, Valley Forge Pennsylvania, the outcome might be very different. Because the Shoggoth's ability to absorb other lifeforms is never a focus of the stories they appeared in, we can assume that it wouldn't have an spectacular advantage over the Blob in the assimilation department. Plus, the Blob's only stated weakness is cold. It might be able to overcome the Shoggoth's acidic goo and engulf it's enemy in spite of it.

Also, explosions would only help spread the Blob. If someone were to blow it up they would only succeed in blasting thousands and thousands of tiny bloblettes over a huge area, giving them ample opportunity to spread general chaos and terror. This is very different from the Shoggoth. If we take the video game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth as canon then the Shoggoth actually has a weakness to explosions and can be killed by them outright. I'm not saying our two combatants would have access to explosives, but the point still stands that the Blob is the more physically durable of the two jellies.

In the end, I'm going to have to say that the two are pretty evenly matched. Both are depicted as extremely durable, and while the Blob might win out slightly in that category, the Shoggoth gets bonus points for having no obvious weaknesses and for being the more obviously horrifying of the two. Of course, anything can be scary when it's compared to a ball of bright red silicone. Still, I can't shake the feeling that the Blob would win out in the end. Through sheer tenacity it would manage to absorb the Shoggoth until nothing was left but an oily black stain on the ground. I know this to be true because the Blob has the superior theme song.

Alright, so the Blob won, and receives the entire town of Valley Forge as a prize. But what if it had to fight off the Shoggoth's even more malevolent doppelganger, The Thing?

Well then it would be in serious trouble. The Thing has a malicious intellect the Blob can't hope to match. However, like the Blob, it has serious trouble getting used to colder temperatures, but I don't think that would be a problem because the Thing would have access to sweaters during the fight.

Also, it's never explained exactly what the Blob is made of. If it's not made of cells as we know them the Thing might have trouble assimilating it, but not vice versa. In fact, the Thing might be in the same boat as Steve McQueen from the Blob's debut movie. But then again, it's funny to think of a mass of mismatched alien limbs scrambling to scrounge up fire extinguishers.

The way I see it, it all works like this: the fight between the Shoggoth and the Blob is a brutal fight to the death, with the Blob just barely winning out against it's eldritch nemesis. But in round two, the Thing easily outsmarts the Blob and freezes it, claiming all of North America as it's smorgasbord of biomass to assimilate. Meanwhile, Da Huuuuuuuuuudge would probably be stealing Strong Bad's fondue pot again.

Feel free to continue the debate in the comments. Or not.


mom said...

did you hear they are making new movie out of the thing?

Shadgrimgrvy said...

Actually, it's already been out for a while! Sadly I couldn't see it because no one else wanted to go. But y'know, we had plenty of time to see Planet of the Apes.

Strange how that works out.

Shadgrimgrvy said...

Oh my god what has happened to my beautiful comments section.

mom said...

it is strange, but more funny how that worked out. planet of the apes...HA!

Anonymous said...

i think you are missing on the Shoggoths is that they built the entire civilization of the Elder Things as slave labour and fought their wars against Mi-Go, Cthulhu, and all the others that arrived on earth, that would suggest at least a marginal intellectual advantage over the Blob, even more so since in the Mountains of Madness, its clear that they continued to evolve their intelligence, enough to destroy their masters, a race that ruled earth for many millions of years and created earth life in the first place.

also, the 1988 Blob remake has a clear origin for the blob, it was manufactured as a bio-weapon by US scientists and therefore would have a DNA structure just like any other earth creature. The Thing would make short work of the Blob

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