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

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The Incredible Melting Man - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

Cheese never gets as gooey as it does in William Sachs’ bloody awful The Incredible Melting Man.  Originally intended to be a spoof of horror films until money hungry producers – realizing there’s more money to be made in a serious horror film - got a hold of the print, Sachs’ movie is saved largely from the Horror Hall of Shame due to the mesmerizing makeup work of guru Rick Baker.

As a result of its “too many cooks in the kitchen” creation, the horror movie barely registers as a film – horror or comedy.  It’s uneven and choppy but – because there’s evidence of it – the seeds for something seriously cool are still there for true Film Frights to discover.  Sure, you have to dig a bit but there is much left in the final product to suggest that the original plan was a comedy.

Due its cross-editing and double-crossing hatching, a lot about the film suffers from poor acting, poor editing, horrible lighting, and general silliness involving an astronaut who, upon his return home, begins to melt after he is exposed to radiation during a space flight to Saturn.

Written by Sachs (whose scanty filmography includes the Dorothy Stratten sex-space romp, Galaxina), the film – heavily featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 - stars Alex Rebar as Steve West, the mutated astronaut who must kill, kill, kill before he melts away into nothing.  Burr DeBenning is the scientist trying to help him recover his soul and Myron Healey is the mean and nasty United States Air Force general seeking to capture him and keep his deformity a secret from the world.

There are some topless moments and super smexy girls thrown in for good measure and a couple of sidebars – including a scene featuring  Jonathan Demme (director of The Silence of the Lambs) – but the movie sadly never gets any better than Baker’s nastily convincing special effects.  You will believe a man can melt.

To suggest this film was inspired by 1955’s British horror film The Quatermass Xperiment is an understatement.  With comic-centered moments that depict homeless men noticing the melting man and saying to each other, "You think we've got trouble, look at that dude", The Incredible Melting Man offers no apologies for stealing its plot about an astronaut gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs that only human flesh can sate.

Blame the studio executives for mucking this one up, folks.  There’s a lot to admire and a lot to lampoon.  The Incredible Melting Man could have been something special for everyone and not just for those twisted souls who can’t help but look at cinematic train wrecks.

Ready to melt...again?

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Incredible Melting Man - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
84 mins.
Director
: William Sachs
Writer: William Sachs
Cast:
Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning, Myron Healey
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
The first new horror creature
Memorable Movie Quote: "You've never seen anything, til you've seen the Sun through the rings of Saturn!"
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Home Video Distributor:
Shout Factory
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 1977
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 30, 2013

Synopsis: An astronaut is transformed into a murderous gelatinous mass after returning from an ill-fated space voyage.

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The Incredible Melting Man - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 30, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Genre enthusiasts in charge of Scream Factory -- the invaluable horror imprint of the Shout! Factory label -- have restored The Incredible Melting Man to its original glory with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1.  It’s another solid offering from the imprint and displays nice bold colors and good definition throughout.  Due to its low budget, the film suffers from some low light level issues, including negligible shadow detail, quite a bit of the time but this is by far the best the film has ever looked before.  The original mono track is delivered via a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix.  Nothing outstanding about the track; it’s to be expected.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • On his bitter but amusing commentary, Sachs repeatedly asserts that the movie was intended as a spoof but was advertised as a straight thriller by the company that distributed the movie in the U.S. and talks a lot about what should have been.  The commentary is enjoyable for fans of the movie only or anyone who likes to hear bitterness by way of humor.

Special Features:

While Sachs and Baker appear to have been interviewed separately, there’s a lot of information to be unearthed about The Incredible Melting Man, including trailers; a photo gallery; featurettes with Sachs , Baker and Baker's assistant at the time, Greg Cannom.

  • Interview with Effects Artist Greg Cannom (3 min)
  • Interview with Writer/Director William Sachs & Makeup Artist Rick Baker (20 min)
  • Theatrical Trailers (2 min)
  • Photo Gallery (4 min)
  • Radio Spot

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