Guilty Pleasure Horror Movies: “The Incredible Melting Man” (1977)

Heaven help me, but I’ve loved this goofy, gory B-horror film ever since I first saw it on Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 1996. It firmly remains a favorite guilty-pleasure for me.

Astronaut Steve West returns to Earth from a disasterous (and unconvincing) space voyage to Saturn. However the radiation from the mishap has had some alarming side effects. Steve is now melting, literally, and becomes a gooey, murderous monster that wreaks havoc on the suburbs. The amazingly wooden Dr. Ted Nelson is mankinds only hope and gives chase!

The Incredible Melting Man is a cheesy delight of B-horror goodness. Recalling the old fashioned sci-fi horror yarns of the 1950’s yet with a rich dash of 70’s grindhouse tackiness, this bloody trip is terrifically entertaining. The cast is suitably bland and over-the-top in their performances, as their vague, sometimes downright weird, characters deal with the issue of being mutilated by a dribbling monster. The movie has several silly offbeat moments – a fat nurse runs through a window, a photographer hits on Cheryl Smith, and a wacky old couple decide to steal lemons (don’t ask). The direction is fairly static, the music score typically 70’s synth noodling, and the retro styles loud. What is perhaps most impressive here are the gruesome makeup effects of a young Rick Baker. Baker’s work is great here, as the film truly hangs it hat upon the slimy monster effects.

Whether you laugh, scream, puke, or just groan at this campy venture, fans of B-horror are sure to chew up this old school ditty.

–Alex Dillard