Out in their rocket with his fellow astronauts, Steve marvels at some cheap stock footage of the sun, seen “through the rings of Saturn”. He gets a mysterious nosebleed, then before you can say “how the hell did he get there?” we see him in a hospital bed being attended by a fat nurse and a doctor with an afro. When alone, he removes the Invisible Man-style bandages to reveal his skin has all melted off, and his hands and head have become twice their normal size. As if he were wearing extra thick horror make-up and fake monster-hand gloves.
Not content with looking like someone vomited on a pepperoni pizza, he shows his pyschopathic cannibalistic tendencies by chasing the nurse down some kind of warehouse corridor (do hospitals have those?) to a sticky end. What’s left of her is autopsied by Dr Ted Nelson in an operating theatre that has its own coffee machine. Dr Ted tells Dr Afro that the body ‘might be contagious’ as well as radioactive. Which are things you might like to be told before you're in the room standing next the dodgy item in question.
We see a man fishing in a tiny stream (possibly trying to catch sticklebacks?) and further downstream, near a very artificial looking waterfall, a group of young children playing hide & seek. “Where are you?!” shouts the angry girl, seemingly not quite grasping the point of the game. Inevitably she runs into scary Steve and screams so loudly his eye pops out. We also find a creepy photographer (apparently a cameo by the Assistant Director) and a glamour model wearing a knitted boobtube. And when it’s pulled down against her will, rather than quickly covering her dignity, she protests by running around with her hands in the air and her boobs bouncing.
There doesn’t seem to be much urgency in finding Steve, with Dr Ted sitting around making coffee, talking about buying crackers, or having rides on slow moving warehouse platforms. When he’s joined in the search by ‘The General’ he spends time inviting him to dinner at his house – until his wife gets annoyed and reminds them they should be out looking for the melting astronaut, which is a fair point really.
While Dr Ted is out, Steve slithers around in the darkness like a giant slug, leaving a sticky trail of gunk, and spies on Dr Ted’s wife as she sits knitting. Though to be honest, the knitting makes it hard to take the tension-building seriously at all. I wondered if she was knitting another boobtube. The weird music doesn’t help either, with random sounds like plink-plink, clonk-clonk, boooiiing, creeeak, etc.
There are quite a few killings, and the gore is generally very good on the victims’ remains. Not so good on the Melting Man himself. But there’s certainly no shortage of blood, pus, or sticky goo. The ending has a couple of surprises, but it did feel strangely depressing.
I remember seeing this in a fleapit cinema when I was still at school, and it scared the life out of me. Hard to think why, as I re-watch it as an adult. But I did enjoy it in a whole new way! I love this film. It’s cheesy, schlocky, low budget, and a lot of fun. But probably not one to watch while you eat your dinner. 4/5
Originally written for www.badfilmfriday.com