Release Date: December 9th, 1977
Directed by: William Sachs
Written by: William Sachs
Music by: Arlon Ober
Cast: Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning, Myron Healey
American International Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 84 Minutes
The Incredible Melting Man is probably most remembered now for being featured in the seventh season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I thought it was a good but somewhat odd fit for the show, as it was a bit more gruesome than what they typically featured.
It is not a spectacular movie by any stretch of the imagination but the special effects are pretty decent for a late 70s low budget American International picture. Credit for that goes to the accomplished and now legendary Rick Baker. While the effects aren’t as refined as his style would later become, they’re definitely an example of passion triumphing over limitations.
The story isn’t great, it is a typical monster movie. In this one, an astronaut survives after a blast of radiation hit him on a trip to Saturn. Two other astronauts died. He is then seen in the hospital wrapped in bandages and doctors aren’t sure what is happening to him. The astronaut awakens and discovers his flesh is melting away. Obviously he panics and we have a gross out humanoid roaming the Earth scaring the bejesus out of people. The astronaut, having gone insane, discovers that he must consume human flesh to stop the melting. So we essentially have a radioactive melting space zombie.
The film, written and directed by William Sachs, was initially intended to be a parody. The humorous bits were eventually edited out, making this a straight up horror movie. Sachs was influenced by Night of the Living Dead. However, many considered this to be more of a remake of First Man Into Space, which itself was influenced by the Hammer film The Quartermass Xperiment.
The Incredible Melting Man was a box-office bomb and was critically panned. It isn’t really good other than some impressive effects. It currently holds a 3.8 rating on IMDb. It feels long, a bit too drawn out and is just a pretty clunky picture. Now this could be due to the film changing from parody to serious during production but the end result is the end result. In this case, the end result is a picture that is hard to watch and mostly a waste of time.