Ah, nothing beats the smell of a Drive-in theatre. Popcorn, gas fumes, alcohol and MELTING FLESH! That’s right! The stench of blood and gore in THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN must have made a few folks nauseous back in 1977 courtesy of special effects master Rick Baker. This sci-fi gore flick is a fantastically cheesy b-flick with loads of blood that suffers from terrible acting and a non-existent plot. At least it has the sense to add a little nudity to appease some of you… you know who you are.
THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (1977)
THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN is like THE FUGITIVE. Well, at least when it comes to a full on chase flick and some dude with one arm. Yet imagine that particular Harrison Ford hit with really bad acting, a dumb storyline with plot holes galore. Don’t forget all the “serious” moments sloppily drawn out with relationship dialogue thanks to the script written by writer and director William Sachs. That’s what you get with this low grade popcorn movie. The story follows an astronaut named Steve (Alan Rebar) who witnesses the sun through the circles of Saturn or some shite. Well you know how they say don’t look at the sun during an eclipse? Maybe this would happen next time you find yourself looking through Saturn’s rings. So here you have a guy who barely survives some interplanetary travel and he suddenly finds his skin melting off his body. What’s a grotesquely icky dude supposed to do but go out and eat people or some garbage?
The beginning of this science fiction creature feature is pretty solid. Love the chase scene between the monster and some nurse in the hospital. She is running down this hallway and the entire scene is in slow motion. We even see a POV shot with the melting dudes’ hands and its pretty bloody fun. Yet after a promising start, this beast falls apart slightly… and I’m not just talking about his body parts. How many times can you watch this gooey mess of a man (played by Alex Rebar) grab people we have no interest in? And then of course there is the out of place dialogue where they would talk about children and the weather at awkward times. In the midst of this story is a simple chase flick. The melting man runs. The scientist Dr. Todd Nelson - played by Burr DeBenning – screams to cops, “I’m Dr. Todd Nelson!” and chases him. Basically, the only reason to sit through this flick is to witness the FX guru Rick Baker doing some early special effects. You’re in for a treat as the red stuff and puss-filled gore runs rampant here.
BEST SCENE TO GET YOUR DATE HOT AND BOTHERED!
There is one semi hot shot in this flick and that consists of Cheryl Smith bearing her perky breasts. Sadly, this gorgeous gal’s nude scene is far from sexy thanks to a creepy photographer (Don Walters) grabbing for her melons and tearing off her tube top. It gets even less arousing when a bloody victim of the melting man is discovered by the half naked model. Too bad you can’t “pause” a flick at the drive-in because the sleaze factor is layered in here much too often. No chance for a decent hand job.
SCENE THAT WILL HAVE YOU LAUGH SILLY
Why the hell did the old couple decide to stop for lemons? And they do so in the middle of the friggin’ night?!? This weird bit of business has the leading lady’s mother Helen (Dorothy Love) and her boyfriend (Edwin Max) stopping in the middle of the night to commit this serious offense. The dialogue is atrociously awful, as are the ludicrous performances given by the couple in question. Sure these crazy senior citizen lovebirds are terrible… at least however they are terrible in an entertaining way.
SCENE THAT WILL HAVE HER/HIM JUMPING IN YOUR ARMS!
Believe it or not, there are a handful of moments when Mr. Melty drips his way into a scene and offers up a scare or two. As previously mentioned, I loved the suspense early on especially with the nurse being chased down by drippy face. It is a well directed bit of business that reminds audiences why we should probably be weary of people with really bad skin conditions and oozing soars that happen to chase you.
GROOVE TO THE MUSIC!
The obvious and over-the-top score by Arlon Ober is very much a sci-fi traditional sound. With screeching violins and a deep bass, this is an impressive bit of business as far as low-budget scores go. It feels as if it is a cross between a Seventies slasher score and some Fifties sci-fi motion picture. It’s deliciously effective.
AN IDEAL DOUBLE BILL WITH:
If you are going to go for a “Melting Man” what would be the perfect double feature? With the pathetic acting and the lame story loaded with plot holes, you might as well pair this one up with the lovely and talented BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955). There are so many moments in THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN that seem to scream out Edward D. Wood Jr. that it would be fun to compare two excessively messy (and I don’t mean because of gore) movies together! Mr. Wood sir, you were ahead of your time.