Astronaut Steve West (Alex Rebar), a man barely alive after a disastrous space mission to the rings of Saturn has become exposed to a mysterious organism, which has taken possession of his flesh, and is now turning him into a goopy flesh-eating ghoul. Escaping from his hospital bed, Steve embarks on a murderous rampage of the local countryside. Can concerned scientist Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) and dim-witted sheriff Neil Blake (Michael Alldredge) stop the melting human time bomb before the body count rises?
Director William ‘Bill’ Sachs originally envisioned his 1977 sci-fi The Incredible Melting Man as a comic book spoof called The Ghoul from Outer Space. He may have lost that fight, but his grisly humour is still very much evident; a turkey leg mistaken for a decapitated limb is a standout, as are the closing scenes in which Steve’s liquefied remains gets unceremoniously shoveled into a rubbish bin.
Taking its cues from the 1950s classics The Quatermass Experiment, The First Man Into Space (the crusty blood sucking creature scared the hell out of me as a child) and The Hideous Sun Demon, and with clear nods to James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), Sachs’ sci-fi is a silly popcorn treat that well deserves its reputation as a cult classic thanks to its riotous dialogue and comedic performances (especially Myron Healey as the General). But the real hero here is make up legend Rick Baker whose blood, pus and mucous dripping effects are simply amazing (they look even better on Blu-ray). The film also served as a launch pad for emerging SFX talents like Greg Cannom and Rob Bottin.
THE UK BLU-RAY RELEASE
Arrow’s High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature is transferred from original film elements in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with mono 2.0 sound (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray). The High Definition master was produced by MGM and made available for this release via Hollywood Classics.