Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 20th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1977
Director: William Sachs
Writer: William Sachs
Cast: Alex Rebar, Burr DeBenning, Myron Healey, Michael Alldredge, Ann Sweeny, Lisle Wilson, Cheryl Smith, Janus Blythe, Jonathan Demme
BluRay released: October 13th, 2014
Approximate running times: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
The Incredible Melting Man was written and directed by William Sachs whose other notable films include, Van Nuys Blvd. and Galaxina. Key collaborators on The Incredible Melting Man include composer Arlon Ober (Through the Looking Glass, Eating Raoul, Crimewave) and special makeup effects artist Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, Videodrome).
So how did things go wrong? Where to start? One need not to look much further than this film’s farfetched premise, which requires the audience to take one of cinema’s biggest leaps of faith. For instance how come only one of the three astronauts were transformed into a melting man and how did a melting get his spaceship back to earth when his to copilots were deceased. Also as the film progresses the melting man at the center of all of this chaos seems to be more select in his process of choosing his next victim. Where at first they appeared to be victims of opportunity, later on they are almost all victims due to the aggressive stance they take towards the melting man. Another area where this film just falls flat on its face is that all of the characters are one dimensional. And this lack of depth in the characters is reinforced by the poor performances from the entire cast.
With that being said, there are few areas where this film holds up well. Pacing is never an issues as things move along quickly from one moment to the next. And there are a few stand out moments visually like a scene where the melting man chases a nurse down a hallway and trying to get away she runs through a glass door. Another strong moment visually includes the scene where the young girl is playing hide and seek with two of her friends. And unknown to them the melting man lurks in the just around the corner. And without a doubt the special effects in this film are its strongest asset.
Doomed from its outset, this film was a troubled production that started off as something completely different then what ended up onscreen. Originally it was intended to be a film that was trying to recreate the vibe of the 1950’s creature feature and somewhere along the way it transformed into a schlocky movie that falls into the ‘it’s so bad its good territory’.
The Incredible Melting Man comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The image looks crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM Mono mix in English and also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio clear and balanced throughout. Range wise things sound good considering the limitations of the source. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and the score are well represented.
Extras for this release include an image gallery, a radio spot, a trailer for the film (1 minute 1 second – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), super 8 digest version of the film (6 minutes 59 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), an interview with make-up effects artist Greg Cannom (2 minutes 54 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), an interview with writer / director William Sachs and make-up effects artist Rick Baker (19 minutes 39 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and an audio commentary with William Sachs.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include how he clashed with the producers over the direction the went with the final product, he wanted to make a comic book horror film, he talks about the footage that he didn’t shot that is in the final version of the film, the way he wanted the movie to end, he also reals things he had planned for the film that would never filmed and he often describes what is going on in the film. Topics discussed with Greg Cannom, how he got into making special effects, working with Rick Baker and he discusses what effects he worked on in this film. Topics discussed by Rick Baker included how he reluctantly got involved with the film so he tried to set his asking price to high and to his surprise they accept his offer and his thoughts on the script. Topics discussed in the on camera interview with William Sachs include how his mother indirectly gave him the idea to make a goop monster film, how Night of the Living Dead was an inspiration, how this film’s original title was The Ghoul from Outer Space, the cast. Also there are a few topics that he discusses his are also covered in the audio commentary.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible covert art option and a twenty eight page booklet with cast & crew info, two essays about the film, the first one tiled ‘Going Crackers’ written by Mike White and ‘It Came From Super 8! A Potted History of the First Home Video Distribution Format’ written by Douglas Weir and information about the transfer. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Arrow Video gives The Incredible Melting Man a first rate release.