Scream Factory continues its reign as the kings of classic horror restorers with the release of “The Incredible Melting Man” on Blu-ray. Here’s a movie most home entertainment companies would look at and giggle when presented with the opportunity to give it a proper high-definition transfer. Not Scream Factory. They’re more than willing to pony up the cash to give cult followers of this 1977 schlock-fest what they want.
Astronaut Steve West (Alex Rebar) wakes up in a hospital after a trip to Saturn and discovers he’s melting. His body is literally turning gelatinous before his (and our) very eyes. His new “condition” drives him mad and gives him an appetite for human flesh. When word of Rebar’s escape gets out, Doctor Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) and General Michael Perry (Myron Healey) must track him down before he does any more harm to innocent civilians or himself.
If ever there was a film ripe to be given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Horror Remix treatment, “The Incredible Melting Man” would definitely be a “high-priority” candidate. Everyone knows about “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” If you don’t live in certain areas of the country, you may not be familiar with a Horror Remix. Horror Remixes whittle your standard 90-minute horror or slasher film down to its bare necessities, which usually brings the running time in at 30 to 35 minutes. As they say, “It’s All Killer, No Filler.”
So much time is wasted with the Incredible Melting Man stumbling around through the woods. We also get highly awkward close-ups of actor Burr DeBenning. Another entertaining sequence features some of the most useless bantering between an old idiotic couple who run into our tragic anti-hero while walking in the woods to steal lemons. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds… and I love it! Add to all this a giant dose of awful dialogue and badly timed editing and you have a true low-budget feast.
The real star of “The Incredible Melting Man” is Rick Baker’s makeup effects. The oozing and dripping globs of dissolving flesh are genuinely nasty. Scenes of half-eaten limbs and a partially disintegrated head only add to the stomach-churning fun. There’s nothing quite like watching an eyeball slip slowly out of its socket and run down the gooey face of the lead character. Baker’s handiwork leaves you wanting to take a shower after viewing the film.
“The Incredible Melting Man” was originally released in 1977 and was rated R. It has everything you would expect in a low-budget sci-fi/horror flick from that time period. There’s plenty of gore, violence, bad language, and one scene of nudity. Did we need the nudity? I don’t think so, but every producer of these types of films did back then.
Although its Blu-ray transfer definitely makes “The Incredible Melting Man” easier on the eyes, it doesn’t rob it of any of its raw, “real” film flavor. The movie is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1). Unfortunately, all we get is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono as far as sound is concerned. A 5.1 surround upgrade would have been ideal, but it still sounds better than it has in any other released format.
As is to be expected, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray debut of “The Incredible Melting Man” comes with impressive special features. Audio commentary is provided by Director/Writer William Sachs. There are also new interviews with Director/Writer Sachs and Academy Award-Winning Special Makeup Effects Artists Rick Baker and Greg Cannom. Theatrical trailers round out the bonus material.
“The Incredible Melting Man” is obviously not for everyone. If you’re a film snob only interested in high-brow cinema you won’t appreciate this piece of horror history. This is for lovers of B-movies dripping with terrible acting that are so bad they’re good. Once again, Scream Factory deserves a hearty pat on the back for all the work they put into preserving these lost cinema classics.
“The Incredible Melting Man” is available now on Blu-ray.