12th Oct2014

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

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning, Myron Healey, Michael Alldredge, Ann Sweeny, Lisle Wilson, Rainbeaux Smith, Julie Drazen, Edwin Max, Dorothy Love, Jonathan Demme, Janus Blythe | Written and Directed by William Sachs


If any movie deserved to be seen as one of the best worst movies of all time it would probably be The Incredible Melting Man, and no that is not an insult.  The acting leaves much to be desired, most of the film is about a guy in make-up walking around the countryside and the story never really finds a right direction, but you know what? I like it, and more importantly this is a movie that shows that sometimes the makeup department (and more importantly, Rick Baker) can cement the movie into the memories of those who have seen it as something a little special.

“You’ve never seen anything till you’ve seen the Sun through the rings of Saturn” are the words that Steve West (Alex Rebar) will come to regret on his return to earth.  Waking up in a hospital bed, the effects of seeing this event seems to be causing his body to melt.  Escaping he goes on a rampage, attacking and eating his victims while his friend Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) hunts him down before it’s too late.

To say this is a bad movie seems unfair in a way, because as a sci-fi fan I can’t help but see similarities between this and The Quatermass Xperiment.  In that movie, we have an astronaut returning to our planet seemingly affected by something he brought back, we pity him no matter what actions he takes, or what he becomes.  In The Incredible Melting Man the story of Steve West is not handled as stylishly or successfully but we still pity him for what is happening to his body.  There seems to be too much of a push to make him into a monster and this may be down to the William Sachs wanting to create a comic book-like style, but in the end this person who is melting into nothing never deserved what he got…I’m just not sure why the devouring of the victims is needed?

Arrow Video have done well with this release to not only give us a history lesson on the behind the scenes politics of this movie, but also highlighting just how good some of Rick Baker’s work was, even in low-budget movies.  With interviews with him and William Sachs the writer and director (who also provides a commentary) we really see not only how hard low-budget film making can be, but just what magic Rick Baker created with his make-up effects.  It’s good too that William Sachs gets his chance to try and show the audience what his true vision of the film was going to be.  Interestingly enough though I prefer the version we have now to some of the ideas he appears to have had for the movie.

When the make-up and special effects work is so important to a movie the picture quality for the Blu-ray is always going to be important.  The picture quality for this release is excellent, especially for a low-budget film like The Incredible Melting Man.  The oozing, dripping skin of Steve West can be seen in all its glory and seeing parts of him fall off as he makes his journey through bushes and past trees is darkly amusing.  Decapitated victims and body parts litter the scenes and really do look impressive.  It not be the best compliment for a movie to say that the make-up shadows the film in quality, but this is true for The Incredible Melting Man.

When you get past the bad acting and confused plot, The Incredible Melting Man actually has a story that makes you pity the monster of the piece.  He may be killing people and even taking bites out of them but in the end the audience would prefer for him to be healed, not that it ever looked like a possibility.  A good old-fashioned monster movie, this shows just how good Rick Baker’s makeup work is and how it can pull a movie that may have just been an oddity into a B-movie cult classic.

****½  4.5/5

The Incredible Melting Man is available on dual format Blu-ray from tomorrow, October 13th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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