Shortly after returning to Earth from a dangerously botched space mission, an astronaut discovers he's contracted an illness that causes his flesh to melt. As he slowly transforms into a mass of walking muck, he turns resentful towards humans and sets out on a ruthless killing spree, while government scientists race to stop him.
Directed by: William Sachs
. Starring: Alex Rebar
, Burr DeBenning
, Myron Healey
, Michael Alldredge
, Ann Sweeny
, Lisle Wilson
, Cheryl Smith
, Julie Drazen
, Stuart Edmond Rodgers
, Chris Witney
, Edwin Max
, Dorothy Love
, Janus Blythe
. Music by: Arlon Ober
First of all if there's one thing I can tell you, with one-hundred percent certainty, it's the fact that there's absolutely nothing remotely "incredible" about the movie "The Incredible Melting Man".
The title of this movie should really be "The Many Shortcomings of Dr. Ted Nelson" because that's whats going on for the majority of this profoundly mediocre movie, yet another example of lame and forgettable B-Grade Schlock-Cinema. On all counts The Incredible Melting Man is a very amateurish effort, a tepid combination of Sci-Fi and Horror, which ultimately is quit pointless and for the next 84 minutes boredom and disbelief will be your two primary emotions. Which is something I know quit well, having seen the MST3K-version of this movie several times, I find that there are few movies that do less or have a weaker plot then The Incredible Melting Man - not to mention the films glowing star-power! The cast of this movie is as bland and as forgettable as you'll ever see and that couldn't be more true when one mentions the actor, Burr DeBenning, who is the movies star and main character and also Blandness Personified. If one were to waste their time rating individual actors, it's really hard to think of one who had less charisma or screen presence then Burr DeBenning and really what kind of a name is that anyway?
The films feeble and poorly defined plot involves a trio of space explorers who are presumably irradiated "by the rings of Saturn"... or something like that, one of them "Steve" initially survives and makes it back to Earth, only he's not the same man that he was, thus he goes on to become: The Incredible Melting Man. There's really very few important details involving plot once Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) makes his grand entrance and for the next 84 minutes this movie is nothing more than a series of bland and uninspired events (a true master-class of mediocrity in the movies), all of which falls right in line with what I said about this movie being pointless. Thus this pitifully puerile little Sci-Fi flick proceeds to play out in a series of loosely connected occurrences (many of which are entirely mundane), which are happening somewhere in one of the less densely populated areas of southern California. One can't help but sense that the cast of this movie seems to be aware of just how bad the material is and are completely bored and indifferent to it, not surprisingly this negatively affects their acting, which is as flat, as it is uninspired.
From a visual stand-point this films just miserable, a murky combination of scenes, which when not showing-off someones riveting home life, are a mess of under-lit and poorly composed night scenes; that primarily focus on showing the melting man, who pointlessly ambles around various locations while committing a few murders. The murder scenes in this film are lamely carried out in a series of quick cuts or in some cases not shown at all, thus leaving us to just presume that a grizzly murder has taken place. The main thing that keeps Dr. Ted Nelson busy throughout the movie, other than entertaining General Perry and arguing with his wife about them being out of crackers, is when he's actively searching for the melting man with his trusty "Detectron" Geiger-counter and repetitively yelling "Steve, it's Dr. Ted Nelson, I want to help you." over and over. Another reason why this movie is so underwhelming (besides it's minuscule budget) and so utterly uninvolving, is because the very existence of the melting man is a closely guarded government secret, one that's on a strictly need-to-know basis or at least those were the General's orders.
One character who does inject some energy into this otherwise slow-going movie is the local Sheriff, who after at least four murders finally gets filled in on the situation, which leads up to the movies tepid and illogical conclusion. In the middle of the night Ted and the Sheriff track the melting man, by following his radioactive "pools" to a large and curiously accessible power-plant, where the final encounter is to happen. Here the movie ends even less logically then how it started, such as the melting man's "powers" increasing in potency as he literally loses limbs and further proceeds to melt, which even for an Incredible "Melting" Man, is evidently an unhealthy state to find yourself in. The logic of this movie is riddled with holes and plagued by one ponderous and poorly-acted scene after another and I know that it comes as a shocker, but this movie possesses many of the qualities which are typical of that of a bad movie. Gasp! Say it ain't so. Yet depending on how you see it it can be fun, as it should come as no surprise this movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and I would definitely recommend that version, if any.
My favorite part of The Incredible Melting Man, other then the "cracker conversation", is that just seconds earlier the movie introduced a great new "comic-book word" to the rest of the world. Which is heard when Dr. Ted Nelson carelessly burns his hand on a hot pot and yells out loud >>> OTCH-GHA! <<< all while wearing a dorky-looking, brown, turtle-neck - but hey, this was filmed in the 70's after all. One last thing and that is the fact that this Sci-Fi film was released somewhere in the latter half of 1977, which officially places it in the Star Wars Era (Stars Wars mania was rolling at full-tilt at the time), which when compared to those icons of the genre, only serves to make this excruciatingly amateurish excursion into Sci-Fi seem all the more pathetic.
Conclusion: Apart from Rick Baker's FX, The Incredible Melting Man is profoundly lame and was obsolete immediately upon release.
Review by Idiot-Deluxe from the Internet Movie Database.