Part of the fun of Scream Factory’s line of horror and sci-fi special editions is that it does not discriminate. They’re not afraid to tackle movies that never enjoyed big box office status or critical acclaim. Case in point: they just released a blu-ray edition of the infamous A.I.P. monster flick, The Incredible Melting Man. As gobsmacking as that idea is, the reality is even more so: this is a nice little special edition that gives this oddball item the red carpet treatment.
Things begins with a surprisingly attractive high-definition transfer. Like many low-budget films of the era, this was made quickly and on the cheap but the results look surprisingly colorful and vibrant with the benefit of an HD bump – and those gooey Rick Baker makeup effects really glisten in the presentation they get here. The original mono audio mix gets the lossless treatment here and the result are pretty impressive: the blend of elements works nicely and the music has real punch to it.
The extras begin with a commentary track from writer/director William Sachs. He hits the ground running, offering a very interesting take on the conflicts that shaped what ended up on screen. Sachs never self-censors as he discusses battling his producers over tone (he wanted it to be funny, they wanted it serious), how much of the opening was shot by someone else after the fact and his battles with a wayward editor. He also talks about the elements of the film that he wanted to include but were removed in post-production, like how he intended to have the audience “hear” what was going on in the monster’s head via sound effects and dialogue overdubs. It’s a good listen for fans of low-budget horror as it reveals how the nightmares happening off-camera could rival the ones in front of it.
Sachs also appears in an interview featurette that also incorporates a separate interview with makeup FX kingpin Rick Baker. Sachs repeats a lot of anecdotes from his commentary but expands on some in interesting ways, with a lot of material on his casting choices and his vision of the film as a 50’s comic book brought to life. However, it is Baker who is the star attraction here. He has no pretensions as he discusses how he got the gig after giving what he thought was a too-high bid to scare the producers away and how the low-budget woes affected his work. He also tells a funny story about a personality clash with the “melting man” himself, Alex Rebar, and reveals how this film taught him the value of film editing.
There is also a three minute interview with Greg Cannom, who was one of Baker’s assistants on the film. He worked on the reshoots for the film, so he’s able to offer some input on footage that Sachs had no involvement and what techniques were used for these scenes. It’s brief but packs in plenty of quality info and makeup FX fanatics will be glad to have this extra bit of info.
The package is rounded out by some interesting promotional materials. There are two theatrical trailers and one radio spot that sell the film as featuring “the first new horror creature.” One of the trailers even goes so far as focusing just on Rick Baker’s makeup effects. There is also a pretty comprehensive image gallery than includes stills (both color and B&W), behind the scenes shots and promo art, the latter including the cover for the film’s paperback adaptation in the U.K. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a memorably unusual shot of Jonathan Demme when watching this gallery.
In short, Scream Factory has knocked out a strong special edition for a title that even fans wouldn’t have dreamed capable of receiving such an honor. If this title scratches your trash-horror itch, you can rest assured this edition of The Incredible Melting Man will deliver the goods.