The Incredible Melting Man (Blu-ray Review)

Incredible-Melting-ManSCREAM FACTORY returns The Incredible Melting Man to life for the first time on DVD or Blu-ray in the US.  A 10 year old Region 2 DVD was previously the only digital way to own this film.  Scream Factory once again resurrects another film thought lost in the annals of VHS.  This film is exploitation in pretty much its only concept; cool gore make up and effects. The intent of the writer is that he wanted to be a comedy that paid its tribute to the classic monster movies that Universal used to put out.  However, the further the production went, the more of a straight horror film he was challenged to alter and when he didn’t comply, the producers forced with their own hand during  reshoots.  The result is rather on oddity as it has been the source of both inspiration and comedy.  Either way, the film has a nice cult following.  And Scream Factory is there yet again to give royal treatment to a classic film that would barely even be given a thought from any major studio.

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A space mission to Saturn goes awry with a radiation blast and all but one astronaut on the mission is killed.  That man is Steve West.  After finally coming to in the hospital, Steve unravels his bandages to reveal the damage done by the radiation.  In a fit of rage he hunts down and kills a nurse, eating her flesh.  Steve’s body continues melting and he continues to get stronger the more he melts.  To keep alive he must feed off human flesh.  His doctor and General Michael Perry team up to hopefully find a way to capture or put an end to Steve’s murderous rampage.

I’m going to start with the good, and that’s the obvious.  These vintage practical effects are an absolute joy to watch.  A young Rick Baker (Star Wars) provided the work on this film, giving it a more legitimate place in film history.  The film is gooey, messy and totally gross.  It never disappoints in that department.  A lot of it is still impressive by today’s standards.  As a guy who prefers practical work over CG, seeing something like this makes me nostalgic for this art form and makes yearn for more of this in today’s film world.

The plot of the film is pretty basic.  It apes the structure of Frankenstein, but really cannot figure much to do with itself.  Once West escapes from the hospital, it’s a repetitive sequence of Doctor Nelson tracking and new characters being introduced solely to be killed seconds later.  The kills are good and graphic, but it becomes tired once the third set is introduced.  Its not a long film at all, but the way the film just doesn’t care about its peripheral characters makes one care a little less.

Acting is not The Incredible Melting Man’s strong suit, but that’s to its benefit.  Everyone in this film is laughably bad, adding some good entertainment when the film’s plot is getting tired.  Burr DeBenning who plays Dr. Nelson is the MVP of all the performers in the film.  His lack of range and defiance to show any sort of emotion is good enough to get some loud laughter at a bad movie night.

The film was intended to be a comedy, but the producers changed their mind during reshoots and wanted it to be a serious horror.  Due to some of this disconnect, the film ended up being unintentionally funny.  There are some weird editing choices, lighthearted fare when things want to tonally be serious and as I said before the acting is a treat.  The film was even the main feature on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Incredible Melting Man was once voted as one of IMDB’s worst 100 movies of all time.  They can vote it that if they want, but the film is far from unwatchable and boring.  If you’re a lover of vintage effects and are able to enjoy films that are “so bad it’s good”, this cult classic is right up your alley.  It’s a film to get a group together, with some drinks and crack jokes while watching together.

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Scream Factory delivers an astonishingly good 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture.  The films 1.85:1 frame is dazzling with detail.  During the opening sequence in space, I was absolutely shocked at the amount of detail on one of the astronaut’s leather looking gloves.  You could see every piece of texture, whether it be a scuff, knick or crinkle.  Skin tones are consistent as ever and facial texture near perfect.  There is some dirt and a few scratches in the print, but they are few and far between.  While this movie has vintage gore effects, the remastering and high definition quality does not do any harm to whether they look dated or not.  I was still enjoying them.  This is a really top notch job from Scream Factory.  Quite impressive for a little film like this.

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The Incredible Melting Man provides a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track to dish out the kills.  The level is at a nice loud level.  It also has some front action moving both directions with its speakers.  Its not a track that is going to wow anyone, but its very true to the film’s source and provides a good enough track for this experience.

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Scream Factory’s bonus content on The Incredible Melting Man is displayed in 1080p MPEG-4 AVC with DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound.  The content provided is more than sufficient and severely outdoes any treatment another distributor would have given it.

  • Commentary With William Sachs – The writer and director goes no-holds barred. He shares insight on the film while revealing many problems with the production and battles with his producers.  Oddly, the commentary ends a little bit before the film ends and never returns.
  • Interview With Makeup Effects Artist Greg Cannom (2:56) – Greg Cannom talks about his work during the reshoots.
  • Interview With Writer/Director William Sachs And Makeup Effects Artist Rick Baker (19:37) – Some looking back at how the production came together, its troubles, how the film has been inspiration and comical and Rick Baker’s thoughts then and now.  Also, William Sach’s name is misspelled “Sacks” in the video.
  • Theatrical Trailers (1:48) – Two trailers that provide a wonderful sense of nostalgia.
  • Photo Gallery – 52 photos of stills, publicity shots, behind the scenes, posters and lobby cards.
  • Radio Spot (:31) – A radio trailer for the film.

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If you’re a fan of practical effects or like to sit back and watch “so bad it’s good” movie and giggle, The Incredible Melting Man should definitely be in your arsenal.  Scream Factory doesn’t make you regret it either.  The film has a surprisingly impressive remastering job and the extras provide a fun look at this film.  Those of you who are going to get this know who you are.  If you’ve been a collector of all things Scream Factory but are on the fence with this one, need not worry.  While an appreciation can be found for its homage to classic monster films, The Incredible Melting Man is a goofy little film that you may want to show your friends and share some amusement later on.



Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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