The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

Steve West is the only survivor of the Scorpio V manned mission to the Rings of Saturn.  He awakes strapped down to a bed in a hospital with bandages covering his face and his hands covered in sores.  He gorks out once he sees himself in the mirror and kills a nurse and escapes the facility.  An exposition dump between Drs. Nelson (Burr DeBenning) and Loring (Lisle Wilson) clue us in that the others didn’t survive because they were weaker than Steve and his need for human cells to survive has triggered his instinct to kill.  He tears through the San Fernando Valley slaughtering and eating everyone he encounters.  His friend Ted Nelson is tasked to bring him in for study but the order proves too tall for him.  Eventually top brass General Perry (Myron Healey) and Sheriff Neil Blake (Michael Allredge) join in the pursuit. 

Soon after the goofy opening, the film takes a turn to towards the nasty.  The kills are gruesome and the effects rock-the Melting Man being a particularly remarkable feat.  Though he doesn’t lose mass he continues to shed parts, organs and slough off skin at an alarming rate in a run up to what plays out as a completely hopeless and nihilistic ending.  The effects are off the chart and the kills are as gruesome as can be.  When Steve attacks Nelson’s in-laws (!?) the fogies old car is rockin’ back and forth and he flings body parts and blood out the window!  You cannot beat that for a true WTF?! moment.  Others include the shocking finish that ends up in the waste bin…truly a downbeat ending.  The characters make some seriously shitty yet hilarious decisions in this flick such as Nelson hurrying home for soup when ordered to find the monster run amok.  Then he bitches his wife out over forgetting crackers…It has to be seen to be believed.

Thank God Steve started melting a handful of minutes into the film because Alex Rebar cannot deliver a line of dialog to save his life.  As a matter of fact DeBenning and Healey are downright awful too.  It’s a good thing the simple but sick story and effects carry the movie.  Rainbeaux Smith has a small part as a model who is only there to show her tits and be victimized by her lecherous photographer.  If you pay close attention you will also see Johnathan Demme before he gets eaten by Mr. Melty.  It’s a pretty good flick overall but it feels a bit long despite its 1:26 runtime.  

Bonus features on the Shout! Factory BD include theatrical trailers, photo gallery, radio spot, and interviews with the writer/director and effects artists.  The picture quality is great and the sound is good as well.  This is a fun flick despite its flaws.  The monster is compelling, the story is fairly simple and the ending is weirdo nihilistic fun.  Check it out!

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