The 70's had a thing for recycling the 50's era "monsters created by nuclear energy/radiation" genre. Why I don't know, but it probably had to do with newer concerns for the environment. Or it was because producers knew some still had a thing for those 50's movies, which is the most likely answer. One of the titles that tends to get talked about is William Sachs' (who also gave the world "Galaxina") 1977 film "The Incredible Melting Man", either from seeing it on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland or because it was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000. Anyways, I've been meaning to review this for a while now, so here goes.
Astronaut Steve West (Alex Rebar) was a part of a mission to the rings of Saturn, where he seems to have been the only survivor. Also, his body is slowly melting, and he needs to eat human flesh to stay alive. Can Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBenning) save the day, or will he act like a bitch because his wife Judy (Ann Sweeney) forgot crackers?
First things first: this is not a good movie. Granted, the fact that it was featured on MST3K is kind of a giveaway, but still. Anyways, this is a movie with not too impressive directing (if it weren't for the minor gore, melting man and a bit of female nudity, this could have passed for a television movie), bad comic relief* (Judy's horny parents-yuck), all around poor performances, a really dated score that feels like it belongs on a television movie, a lack of likable characters (only Steve comes off as sympathetic) and more.
That out of the way, it's still a watchable and occasionally sort of fun movie. The "melting" FX and gore were provided by Rick Baker, who needs no introduction to genre fans, and are all pretty impressive. There's also something of a charm to the sheer 70's feel that you don't get anymore, as well as the fact that our monster isn't exactly discriminate about who it eats-meaning yep, the annoying old couple get knocked off. Nice to see that Sachs was thinking of some of us at least.
Can I recommend "The Incredible Melting Man"? Well, if you love bad movies, this is a must, and it's didn't make me angry. For everyone else...well, I guess that depends.
* Originally, Sachs intended this to be a parody of 50's B-Movies, but the studio said no to that. You do get instances of humor, but they only work a few times.