The Incredible Melting Man riffs on the science fiction nuclear-age horror movies and comics of the 1950s. It’s about, Steve West (Alex Rebar) an astronaut who returns from a trip to Saturn – he’s a man, he begins to melt – incredibly. He also goes on a killing rampage because…err..why wouldn’t he? There’s little logic in director William Sach’s 1977 film. That acting is bad, the make-up is good (by maestro Rick Baker) and the film works in it’s own little way. This is a late-night movie for connoisseurs of schlock.
Sach’s says that The Incredible Melting Man is a comedy and a live action comic book and you can see that. It’s possible that he could be rewriting history to give the movie some context because it’s not a very good movie in the traditional sense. This is B-movie entertainment, the type of movie that appears to be played straight but filled with ‘so bad it’s good’ moments.
The late Burr DeBenning is the lead as the doctor tasked with tracking down West before he kills again and melts into a puddle. DeBenning has an impressive way in line delivery – I’m not sure if it’s good, but it’s sure as hell unique. Meanwhile Rebar gets to stumble around in Rick Baker’s make-up and look icky and deliver the line – ‘You’ve never seen anything, til you’ve seen the Sun through the rings of Saturn!‘. Baker’s make-up is the star of the movie and while this low budget may not be his finest hour, it does raise the movie in the watchability stakes. Good movie make-up is a lost art in this CGI age.
The Incredible Melting Man wears its B-movie concept on its sleeve. You can’t call a movie The Incredible Melting Man without knowing that what you’ve made is shlock, and schlock this is.
William Sachs, Rick Baker and make-up man Greg Cannom talk about the movie in new interviews. Sachs defends his work, while Baker seems to be aware that he was slumming it, doing the gig for a paycheque. Sachs also gives an informative commentary and there’s also a trailer and a super 8 digest of the movie. Good stuff.