Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I don't know about you, but when confronted with a movie title like "The Incredible Melting Man", my thoughts immediately conjure up a black and white tale from the 1950s, in which the eponymous hero with incredible bodymorphic superpowers overcomes some dastardly nemesis to save the day, not to mention the girl in the cashmere sweater.

But despite the title, 'The Incredible Melting Man' was actually made in 1977, not 1957, and as such it's a very different beast.

The Incredible What Happens When You Put A Pork Pie In The Microwave Man

After being subjected to the power of sunlight shining through the rings of Saturn, astronaut Steve West returns to Earth a hideous mess. His cellular structure has been mutated, such that he no longer has coherence. He is, in short, melting, and he's none too happy about it.

Once back on Earth Steve is locked in a covert government hospital, where he can melt away in secret. Of course, why his condition has to be kept secret is never made clear. It was the 70s. Massive government conspiracies didn't need reasons in the 70s. "I govern, therefore I conspire" seemed to be the rule of the day. There were probably massive government conspiracies to mask the 0.4% increase in the paperclip budget, or hide the fact that the Secretary for Defence lost a hubcap on the New Jersey Turnpike.

In any case, the mutation causing Steve's melting has also given him an unlikely jolt of superstrength. This doesn't seem very likely from a physiological perspective, but once again, it was the 70s; compare this with the science behind the Bionic Woman and it starts to look like a case study from The Lancet. Steve's superstrength allows him to break free from his restraints and attack his chubby, unattractive nurse, who runs away from him (towards the camera) in slow motion, evidently before the invention of the sports bra. She runs though a plate glass door and gets half way across the carpark before Steve brings her down, and then eats half her face.

Why? It was the 70s, that's why.

Unsated by half a chubby nurse face, Steve continues on his gooey rampage, taking out a fisherman, a wacky old couple, a General, a redneck, the local sheriff, two security guards and (indirectly) a scientist. From the evidence on the screen, I'd say that all of them were robots, given that they seemed to have the "acting" dial on their backs either turned way down, so that their big death scenes sounded like Garrison Keillor monologues, or turned way up, so that they reacted to relatively minor troubles with hysterics, convulsions and a possible loss of bladder control.

Whether or not they were robots, and thus falling under the auspices of a completely different massive government conspiracy, one must question why Steve needed to be melting to fulfil the requirements of this particular narrative. His semi-molten state didn't allow him to do anything that a regular superstrong homicidal maniac couldn't do, other than leave a squelchy trail. The radiation could have turned him into anything... a human torch, a giant chicken, Diana Ross... and the effect on the story wouldn't have been any different.

In truth, the real reason why Steve was melting was because the special effects guys had some cool new slime makeup they wanted to try out, and the producers felt that 'The Incredible Man' lacked panache as a title. There's the real conspiracy in this film.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've unmasked a conspiracy without realising it, Blanders - which is of course how all the best conspiracies are exposed. Look at Forrest Gump and Watergate.

Why was the Defence Secretary on the New Jersey turnpike in the first place? It's like the Queen stopping at Dome for a coffee.

If you stop blogging in the near future, I'll know that the CIA has mounted a joint operation with ASIO to find out just how much you really know ...

9:10 AM  
Blogger an9ie said...

Damn mutants! What is it with the cannibalism anyway?

P.S. I've never tried one of those pork pies from the deli. And now I'm not sure I want to.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Jettimon said...

A true Melt classic!

Poor old Steve!

6:16 AM  

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