Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Incredible Melting Man (1977)



          A laughably silly horror movie, The Incredible Melting Man delivers exactly what the title promises—a grotesque character melts throughout the movie. Yes, this one’s about a monster who becomes less formidable with each passing scene. Or at least that’s the logical implication. To make the movie work, the filmmakers fudge the premise by giving the monster superhuman endurance, so he never loses any of his strength until the very last scene. Most beings run out of gas if they burn through too many calories, but somehow the "melting man" retains his vigor even as his body is disappearing. As such, the underlying notion of The Incredible Melting Man is so astoundingly stupid it’s impossible to take a single frame of the picture seriously. But then again, even though the movie is basically competent in its execution, every other aspect of the storyline is just as astoundingly stupid. The picture begins with U.S. astronauts in outer space, where they’re bombarded with radiation from a solar flare. Returning to earth, all of the astronauts die except Steve West (Alex Rebar), who wakes up in a hospital and discovers that he’s become the sludgy shuffler of the title. Cue murderous rampage.
          The movie is dominated by the work of make-up master Rick Baker, who later won multiple Oscars (beginning with his prize for 1982’s An American Werewolf in London); in addition to creating the grotesque applications for the title character, whose organs and skin drip and ooze in loving close-ups, Baker made props including a realistic-looking disembodied head. Yet it’s a measure of the picture’s schlocky nature that the head is featured in not one but two slow-motion angles as it drifts down a lazy river—the money shot involves the head tumbling over a waterfall and then cracking open when it hits a rock at the base of the water, a geyser of crimson shooting forth. Perhaps offering a nod to The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), writer-director William Sachs follows his narrative all the way to a depressing ending, so the movie has a certain kind of bummer integrity, but, still, it’s hard to heap too much praise on a dull gorefest about a glop of goo. (Available as part of the MGM Limited Collection on Amazon.com)

The Incredible Melting Man: LAME

2 comments:

Ivan said...

Let's not forget Jonathan Demme's cameo as a dopey victim wandering in a dark house alone!

walkingf00l said...

I believe the story is that writer/director, William Sachs, originally conceived the film as a parody of horror films, but got convinced halfway through shooting to make it a straight film... thus we get comedically absurd moments mixed in a dark, serious-toned film.