Always loved this movie and was really jealous when as a boy a schoolfriend (who will remain nameless as he'll no doubt end up getting fan mail for being so cool) went to see this in America whilst on his holidays*.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this event (and his birthday) I present this review.
The Incredible Melting Man (1977).
Dir: William Sachs.
Cast: Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning, Myron Healey, Barack Obama, Michael Alldredge, Ann Sweeny, Rainbeaux Smith, Don Walters, Dorothy Love, Edwin Max, Jonathan Demme and Janus Blythe.
|"Don't shoot! I'm Ted Nelson!"|
Space: Not only the final frontier but it seems the final resting place for those movies that can only afford National Geographic style stock footage for their opening shots and in this case it's a blurry, scratched film of the sun hastily edited 'tween shots of three tinfoil-covered guys strapped into a portaloo pretending that they're orbiting Saturn.
Whilst peering out of the window and trying not to knock any of the broken egg timers cunningly disguised as scientific instruments off the MDF unit masquerading as a control console an eerie light envelopes the cockpit instantly killing two of the astronauts (to death) and seriously injuring the third.
Well it singes his porn mustache.
Back on Earth the survivor - Colonel Steve West (Rebar from the classic Sex, Pain and Murder, Episode Two: Castration Elation and an episode of Murder, She Wrote) awakens from his slumber to find his face wrapped with toilet roll and his body covered in a snazzy pair of Bri-Nylon pajamas just like the ones your dad wears.
Even down to the stubborn brown stain on the arse and the crusty eggy bits on the crotch.
His physician, the suavely sexy Dr. Lou Loring (A young pre-Prez Barack Obama using the stage name Lisle Wilson) is at a loss to explain how West survived the journey back to Earth or why he's been given such nasty sleepwear but when it comes to the bandaged face he informs West that to cheer him up the hospital staff has styled and dyed his 'tache tho' it's best not to remove them just yet as the colour is still to set.
|There's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America....and a melting man who lives there!"|
After Loring leaves (he's probably off to fake a birth certificate), West leaps from his bed and excitedly tears off the dressing in order to admire his (now) funky facial fuzz.
Imagine his horror then when he gazes into the mirror to be confronted not by a cooly coiffured mustache but by the flesh on his face - and hands - melting away like a caramac bar left on a radiator.
Slightly riled by this turn of events West begins to smash up his room only stopping when a portly nurse (Inch from the directors classic Vietnam tale There Is No 13) arrives to take his temperature.
Having a thermometer shoved up his arse is the final straw for our spaced-out pal and West suddenly turns violent, chasing the nurse - in bouncy breasted slo-mo - down a corridor before chowing down on her ample thighs and escaping into the nearby woods.
|"Shite in mah mooth!"|
Only being experienced in dealing with bunions and broken bones Loring calls on his scientist pal - and friend of West - Dr. Theodore "Ted" Nelson (Trash TeeVee stalwart DeBenning) for help.
Arriving at the scene in a snazzy tracksuit and armed with a handy Geiger counter, the pair soon come across (well she was fairly hot for a fat bird) the nurse's radiation wracked body and after much stroking of chins (as well as wiping their cocks on the remains of her uniform) the pair surmise that West must some how be melting due to the radioactive properties of Saturn and needs to consume human flesh to slow the process.
Which is a pretty good deduction from just looking at a chubby chicks gash.
As in the bite mark obviously.
Wanting to keep the operation low key (which is lucky seeing as the production doesn't seem to be able to afford a couple of lab coats let alone a troop of marines) Nelson contacts General Michael 'Scratch' Perry (Healey - best known as Arch Quinton in 'V'), an air force bigwig who was involved in the Saturn mission but now spends his time scoffing sandwiches at his desk.
With fuck all else to do other than slowly eat his way into oblivion Perry offers to help the search and flies out to meet Nelson.
Whilst we're waiting for our heroes to get their arses into gear West is busying himself causing all manner of trouble for the local populace, firstly beheading a local fisherman before turning his attentions to a group of buck-toothed pre-teens playing hide and seek.
Unfortunately the kids escape unharmed.
Realizing that the film is lacking some skin (obviously the fact that it's also lacking any good actors and a halfway decent plot isn't that important) we're suddenly introduced to the 'lovely' - if a wee bit undernourished wannabe fashion model Mavis (Ex-member of The Runaways and B movie babe Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith) and her sleazy photographer pal Clive (legendary porn producer/ director Walters) who is desperate to get Mavis to flash her boobs for his camera.
Anyone here aware of Smith's career wont be too surprised to find that this happens quite quickly but as she - feebly - attempts to fight of Clive's creepy advances our bony elbowed blonde trips over the fisherman's severed hand denying them (and us) any chance of some harshly lit loving.
We should be thankful for small mercies.
|Steffi Graf, up the casino, Blackpool, 1985.....YESCH!|
Armed with his handy Nelson Geiger counter and dressed in a fetching scoop-necked polyester jumper Nelson wanders the woods aimlessly pointing his high tech device at things in the hope of persuading himself that the paycheck is worth the effort but his intellectual musings are cut short when he finds West's ear stuck to a tree branch.
Meanwhile back at the other plot we're entertained by a 15 minute segment featuring FX god Rick Baker's fake fisherman head (I'm assuming it's fake) floating down a stream before falling down a waterfall and bursting like a melon whilst a crappy Bontempi score jauntily plays in the background.
With the film almost at the halfway point the director realizes that he has to get things moving so Perry finally arrives at the main plot, accompanying Nelson to the crime scene where the fisherman's body was found.
Hoping to avoid telling anyone about the mad, melty maniac stomping about the woods our dynamic duo desperately try to convince the peachy arsed Sheriff Blake Severn (Alldredge from everything you've ever seen including The Entity, Scarface and Iron Eagle. See how many others you can find.) that it was wolves what done it but he suspects that Nelson is lying.
Torn between telling the truth or continuing with his frankly shite lies Nelson heads home to berate his pregnant, straw haired wife Judy (M.A.S.H's Nurse Carrie Donovan herself Sweeny - no me neither) for not buying any cream crackers.
His hopes of a nice cheeseboard feast dashed Nelson's evening goes from bad to worse when Judy informs him that her whorish mother Helen (Love from Caged Heat and your Granddad's darkest dreams) and her 'boyfriend' Harold (Max who once guest starred on the radio drama Nightbeat with Frank Lovejoy fact fans) are coming over for dinner and the promise of a foursome.
Luckily on their way the pair are cruelly murdered by West.
Which may sound a wee bit harsh but anything that puts paid to their frankly arse destroying 'comedy' car antics is a blessing.
|The Ronko Wankotron 2000 proved a hit with Jessica Tandy.|
Off out looking for whores to murder Blake soon discovers the couples abandoned car and half-chewed bodies, quickly calling Nelson to come and identify them.
Poking about in Helen's innards Nelson quickly surmises that West is somehow getting stronger the more his body melts.
"Then he is surely an incredible melting man" Blake doesn't exclaim.
Back at Nelson's house, Judy has gone to bed leaving an - ever - peckish Perry to raid the fridge giving the director ample opportunity to share a horrendous amount of close-ups of the fat faced fucker greasily stuffing his face with chicken wings and pork sausages as congealed lumps of fat and gristle collect in the corners of his toilet-like mouth.
His gluttonous gastronomic gobblings are cut short tho' when West turns up unexpectedly and brutally slays Perry before stealing a bag of frozen peas and disappearing into the night.
Realizing that (an incredible melting) man cannot live on frozen peas alone, West breaks into the nearby home of newlyweds Terry and June (director Demme and owner of the world's peachiest arse and smoothest of smooth thighs Blythe from The Hills Have Eyes and Eaten Alive) in the hope of finding some potatoes and maybe a small portion of fish.
Or a little bit of chicken in a box.
|"Put it in me!"|
Unfortunately West's search for scran is disturbed by the couple returning home and our space-fairing freak responds in the only way he knows how - by bludgeoning Terry to death this a tube of Pringles before menacing poor June thru' a broken kitchen door.
June is made of sterner stuff than her hubbie tho' and viciously slices West's arm off with a kitchen knife before sliding sexily around he goo covered lino and phoning Blake for help.
Thank you Ms Blythe for bringing some much needed eroticism to the proceedings.
Following the ever stronger radioactive trail left by West the pair soon arrive at the local power plant to find West on the roof trying to build a makeshift hammock out of the electrical cables.
All that killing must be hard work.
Nelson and Blake soon realize that if West harnesses the plant's electrical power he will become invincible.
Will our heroes defeat the sticky space slasher?
And will the director cut back to Janus Blythe who by this point is (hopefully) taking a long, lingering shower to clean all that fake blood and goo from her smooth, lily white skin?
On viewing you have to ask that if this is the movie with the comedy completely removed then what the fuck did they deem to funny to keep?
I mean the whole endeavor comes across like some sub-Crackerjack version of Torchwood.
Which actually means exactly like a normal episode if you think about it.
|If only Saddam had thought to wave the white flag rather than snort it maybe ISIS wouldn't exist.|
The scariest thing about it tho' was the fact that the film actually became a massive commercial hit - thanks mainly to Baker's aforementioned makeup effects tho' critics unanimously derided it for being utter shite.
To a modern cinema-going audience this may seem true but let's be honest here - given the choice I'd rather spend 90 minutes in the company of creepy Colonel Steve than with the fucking whiny wee shite in the Babadook.
The perfect Friday night film and screaming out for a midnight showing alongside Contamination.
Which may sound like damning with faint praise but heyho.
So any brave cinema's up for it?
Answers to the normal email address.
*Tho' there's a chance he may have been lying - tho' not as much as Andrew Colley who told us all he'd seen Return of The Jedi in America and that during the film's climax Darth Vader gained robot wings and chased Luke around the still under construction Death Star interior whilst it was revealed that Boba Fett was Han Solo's evil twin brother.