June 4, 2011
A B-movie classic that gained infamy when it was featured on "Mystery Science Theater", "The Incredible Melting Man" has been unavailable on DVD forever. You were lucky to run into a bootleg rip of a laserdisc. Now, finally, Netflix has released it on instant streaming in what looks like it's better than DVD quality.
Now looking like it was filmed yesterday, "The Melting Man" was probably mastered for a DVD release -- only to have it scuttled following the financial challenges MGM has experienced in recent years. At least it made it to streaming.
An astronaut returns to Earth after picking up a virus in space which turns him into a dripping, oozing creature with a ravenous appetite for human flesh and blood. The acting is horrible. The spaceship "effects" consist mostly of stock photography from real-life astronaut missions. You know you're in for one cheesy movie when an obese nurse takes one look at the astronaut-turned-monster and runs through a shut glass door. Wonder how much they paid her to do that stunt.
The film is saved, however, thanks to the impressive make-up and gore effects of Rick Baker. The melting man looks incredible. There are also some bloody attacks, and one hell of a realistic severed head floating down a river. Baker showed he had real talent and it would only be a few years before he would win an Oscar for them with "An American Werewolf in London." In this film, he's mostly assigned to produce gore for gore's sake, pretty unusual for him actually.
Aside from him, and unintentional laughs aplenty from the braindead cast, there's not much to recommend here. But if you're looking for 1970s, bloody schlock, you might want to check this one out.
The streaming Netflix version is in anamorphic widescreen, looking better than it ever has in a U.S. video release before.
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