The Incredible Melting Man (1977) Review (Arrow Video Blu-ray)

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William Sachs (Galaxina) wrote and directed this, a story of an astronaut, who after a mishap in space, comes back to earth and finds that he has a skin condition. Well, by skin condition I mean… his skin is melting from his body. It blends elements of science-fiction and horror with a detective-style hunt that feels like a dated investigative show from the 70’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Steve West (Alex Rebar) is the only survivor from his squad and returns to earth after a calamitous mission to space and finds that he is carrying a disease that makes him radioactive and causes his skin to melt from his body. He unwraps his bandages in hospital (Invisible Man style) to reveal that his hands and face (and the rest of him) is melting. He freaks out, like you would, and rushes out of the hospital, clawing a nurse’s face and leaving a trail of goo, blood and sticky skin drippings behind him. The cleaner of that hospital must have been in a good mood that day. Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) discovers that the disease also causes a craving for human flesh (zombie-style) and so sets off to find Steve. What follows is a strange, gory and completely ridiculous series of events involving our melting man being tracked down. It’s like an episode of Law & Order, only with a rotting ghoul in the place of the criminal, and a shit-load of terrible actors hot on his tail.

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It’s a silly concept and sounds ridiculous, but don’t let that fool you, this is completely serious. I’m joking. I’m not being serious at all. This is schlocky, corny and cheesy. A campy horror mystery science fiction film with, at times, completely terrible acting. But, the acting works because the premise is so bloody nuts. The melting flesh is gross, and often looks like raw meat covered in red snot, and that’s a good thing. Rick Baker’s make-up effects are fitting, fun and about as over-the-top as the film itself. Still, it isn’t all “silly fun” sadly, because it does drag on at times, and the cheesiness won’t appeal to everyone. The writing is pretty poor, and the music sounds more like a 50’s detective film than a late-70’s sci-fi horror film.

If you like your b-movie horror with enough slime and silliness to fill a bathtub, and acting somewhere between The Stuff and The Toxic Avenger, then check out The Melting Human Named Steve. Wait… it isn’t called that. It should be. The Incredible Melting Man. It’s a fun, mindless, poorly written b-movie, so at the end of the day, you get what you should kind of expect from it. I laughed out loud more than a couple of times, usually from the delivery of the dialogue and the random acts, such as the nurse, early on in the film, who while running away from Steve The Gob-of-goo, randomly runs through a glass door without reason or explanation, and appears unscathed by what you’d imagine would be hard and sharp glass. That’s what this film is really, a series of things that can’t happen, in ways that make no sense, and end up being damn funny in the process.

Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray release is damn fine too. The film looks crisp and clear, and the few special features that are on here are enjoyable. Fans of the film, and those who are curious about it, should pick this version up. I’m doubtful that there is a better version of this film out there today.

The release from Arrow Video features;

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements
  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio Commentary with William Sachs
  • Super 8 digest version of the film
  • Interview with Writer/Director William Sachs and Make-up Effects Artist Rick Baker
  • Interview with Make-up Effects Artist Greg Cannom
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film and more!

The Incredible Melting Man is available, on Blu-ray, from Arrow Video, now.

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