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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Incredible Melting Man [Blu-ray]

 

(William Sachs, 1977)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:26:16.212

Disc Size: 29,412,024,327 bytes

Feature Size: 22,890,061,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 30th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1693 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1693 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1633 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1633 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary With Director William Sachs

Interview with make-Up Effects Artists Greg Cannom (2:55)

• Interview with writer/director William Sachs and Make-up Effects Artists Rick Baker (19:38)

• Theatrical Trailer (1:48)

• Radio Spot (:31)

• Photo Gallery (4:22)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Essentially a seedy '70s version of The Quatermass Experiment, this painfully cheap production from writer/director William Sachs involves the horrific plight of returning astronaut Steve West (Alex Rebar), the sole survivor of a disastrous expedition to the rings of Saturn. The fatal outcome of the mission apparently involved the discovery of a space-borne virus, or radiation, or something (it's never made quite clear) that killed the rest of the crew and is causing West's flesh to melt and slough off his body. For reasons unexplained, the only relief from the pain of his condition can be found by consuming live human cells. After munching on a few bystanders, West escapes into the surrounding woods, pursued by NASA researcher Dr. Nelson (Burr DeBenning) and a disorganized posse of military monster-hunters. Unable to stop his rapid dissolution or resist his cannibalistic urges, West agonizes over his dilemma (as indicated by laughable scenes of Rebar trying to register emotional anguish through layers of goop), but he still finds time to terrorize a few locals, including the topless Rainbeaux Smith and a pair of comic-relief oldsters trying to score some lemons. The film's notorious ad campaign rallied the makeup FX work of Rick Baker, but his talents are largely wasted thanks to AIP's frantic cost-cutting and a truncated shooting schedule that forewent many of Baker's elaborate prosthetics in favor of a cheap latex mask covered with gallons of syrup. Future Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme contributes a brief cameo.

 

 

The Film:

There's a powerful temptation to say that you never thaw a movie as foolish as "The Incredible Melting Man," but the fact is that each spring brings similar releases to fill the need of drive-in operators for something cheap to put on the screen for the kids in the cars to ignore or laugh at.

This one, which opened yesterday at several theaters, is about an astronaut who contracts a disease during a trip to Saturn that causes his flesh to melt like wax unless he gets an all-meat diet. The problem is that prime steak or the whitest veal won't do. Only human flesh has the nutrients necessary to control this interplanetary pellagra.

Alex Rebar in the title role heads the cast of unknowns. William Sachs, writing and directing his first feature film, shows no aptitude in either department. The real puzzle is not how the movie got made but why, on a brilliantly sunny day, a dozen adults including a dignified man in a white turban, presumably spent $3.50 to see it at the Victoria, a shabby house with uncomfortable seats, still filthy with the debris left by the previous day's audiences.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

What to do with the incredible melting man except have him melt some more? The film-makers never really resolve this sticky problem once their burned-up astronaut busts out of hospital and, at a snail's pace, starts eating the local population. This Z-grade effort, lacking any low-budget energy, takes its cue from the central character: it's tacky and bumbling and sinks into its own morass long before its subject finally dribbles apart, slurp, glub.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Incredible Melting Man is great fun and the Shout! Factory Blu-ray release does everything with their usual competence.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate - the video is 1080P AVC. I can't imagine the film looked much better almost 35 years ago. The visuals are bright, in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and the make-up effects aren't overly transparent even in the higher resolution. Contrast supports decent detail and the image is quite clean and true. This Blu-ray supplied me with a solid presentation without notable flaws of any kind. Thumbs up!

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 1693 kbps. Effects are a little blatant but it sounds 'fresh' and matches up well with the video. Arlon Ober composed the score and he also did work on Eating Raoul and Child's Play. It strikes the right mood and has a tinge of the excessive. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Shout! Factory include an audio commentary with Director William Sachs who is very frank and disavows a lot of what is in the film. He was fully cognoscente of the script representing a tongue-in-cheek, almost satirical comic-book style 50's homage flic where the producers were intent on him 'making it more serious'. Sachs is great to listen to and we can appreciate his honesty. We also get a short interview with make-Up Effects Artists Greg Cannom and a 20-minute one with writer/director William Sachs and Make-up Effects Artists Rick Baker. There is also a Theatrical Trailer, Radio Spot and Photo Gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The title is similar to The Incredible Shrinking Man but The Incredible Melting Man has none of that inventiveness or ingenuity. It is more like a nostalgic, cheesy fun ride. Those who love cinema 'so baaad it's good' (like this reviewer) will get the most out of this Shout! Factory Blu-ray. Sachs vision shines through enough to appreciate the schlock. Recommended!  

Gary Tooze

July 4th, 2013

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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