This 70s Movie: The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

The Incredible Melting Man is another movie where the title tells you a lot already. It combines “incredible” with “melting man” so you more or less know what you’re getting. It is in fact a really bad horror movie that looks awfully cheap, has no real plot, bad actors and many weird trash movie moments. It is the story of an astronaut who comes too close to Saturn and when he returns back to Earth, he starts melting and walking around killing people for no reason. If its gore effects hadn’t make me feel sick (I get that easily with cheap looking horror movies, something about them freaks me out easily), I would have enjoyed the badness of it all. The scene where a nurse is running from the “monster” in slow motion for about a minute, without the monster actually behind her is pretty awesome. And the dialogue scene about crackers is really unique. The ending is fascinatingly anti-climatic and odd. But this is no good movie.

One scene fascinated me, though. Since the Melting Man is on some kind of road trip, he encounters all kinds of different characters, either killing or scaring them. There is a scene where he meets a little girl by a lake and it is obviously a homage to Frankenstein, but since the movie is what it is, the girl has to run to her mother and say “I saw Frankenstein!” (and the mother doesn't even correct her to say "Frankenstein's Monster") Anyway, one set of characters is a photographer and a model who are having a photo-shoot out in the countryside, in the sun. Because all photographers are slimy and immoral, he asks her to take off her top. Maybe it’s because of 1977 or because the movie is so unique, but she doesn’t do what we often get in movies, being naively stupid, “Are you sure? Well, if you say so,” etc. No, she protests vehemently and makes it clear that she doesn’t want that. She is clearly disappointed in him and it is actually a strong female character moment. She is obviously not stupid and wants to stand up for her rights. “Don’t call me baby” she tells him and explains to him she prefers to be called by her first name. It is a really nice moment. And then… oh, well, he takes off her top and takes pictures of her, while she tries to fight him off! It is so insane because while her protest against being exploited were completely reasonable and convincing, the photographer doesn’t care (obviously), but the movie also doesn’t! The movie exploits her and gives its audience the boob shots it was hoping for. That she then finds a dead body and just becomes another helpless, screaming woman doesn’t help either. What a schizophrenic scene in this ridiculous movie.