The ‘melting bodies’ sub-genre is small but noteworthy. Not counting this film here I believe there are to date only three other movies that fit this category: The Incredible Melting Man (1977), Panic (1982, aka Bakterion), and Street Trash (1987). So far I have only seen The Incredible Melting Man and Body Melt. I came across this Australian made film back in April of 1994 in the pages of Fangoria #131. At the time I had only seen, and been scared shitless, by the Melting Man (saw it when I was in my single digits), but I’ll be honest I didn’t have any interest in Body Melt. Here I am in my late forties now and as the opportunity presented itself I decided to see what this Body Melt was all about.
The brain child of “mad scientist” Dr. Carrera (Ian Smith), with the help of hot assistant, Shaan (Regina Gaigalas), a new vitamin supplement is created and tested. The objective here is to make something that makes the body better, and they end up calling their pills, Vimuville, which is an acronym for VIsceral MUscular VItalisation of Latent Libidinal Energy.
There was another scientist Carrera worked with but he tested the drug on himself and got deformed. He lives out in the boondocks with what I at first thought were three equally deformed offspring, but it’s never clear if they’re his kids or just other test subjects. That part of the film feels more like one of those American deformed-killer-in-the-backwoods movies. Two kids end up falling victim to this “family.”
The residents of Pebble’s Court in Homesville are chosen to be the test subjects and get access to the vitamins through their mail, free of charge. A scientist working with Shaan goes rogue and tries to warn them of what’s coming, but Shaan injected him with a fatal dose of this dietary aid after having sex with him, but it was supposed to kill him before morning and didn’t. He ends up crashing his car in Pebble’s Court and dying. Meanwhile the human testing phase continues as two detectives, Sam Philips (Gerard Kennedy) and his partner, Johnno (Andrew Daddo) try to piece together what their “accident victim” has in common with the mounting body count in Pebble’s Court.
Hallucinations are the first phase of the side effects, and this one resident hallucinates a weird, deformed woman in various places, one that he invites home to stay with him, then has sex with. But this hallucination collects the rib bone of males she beds, and we get to see the dude’s rib bone massaged out of his body. Yeah, this is a very weird film.
The next phase is glandular breakdown and this is where the effects get more impressive. That dude who hallucinated that chick is found later on by Dr. Carrera in his house with his eyes bulging bloodily out of his sockets and his mouth looking like it was blown open. Frankly, he looked like a zombie. Carrara gets his ear torn off in the encounter.
Another impressive effect is a pregnant woman who’s been taking the Vimuville tablets and thinks there’s something wrong with her unborn baby. She’s writhing in pain on the bed, and is about to take a knife to her stomach when her husband shows up and begs her not to. Something facehugger-ish bursts from inside her and attaches itself to his face. Her stomach then blows up! The husband will be seen one last time before the movie ends in a meltdown scene in the police barracks.
The headquarters for Shaan is this “health farm” as they call it where people can come and down these tablets, work out in a gym and, well, basically die. We see a family show up and everyone dies but the daughter. Even the little kid, her brother, out skateboarding has his own “meltdown.” The wife’s is the most impressive, with her tongue grossly enlarging and trying to escape her face.
By the end of the movie (daughter of that family notwithstanding) everyone but the two detectives ends up melting down. Some of the meltdowns are good (i.e. the ones I just mentioned), others not so much. Shaan has a good meltdown, a proper one too, I mean.
Effects-wise I liked the movie, but not all that engrossing on a plot or character front. But I’m glad I finally saw it nevertheless. Body Melt was a movie I grew more curious about as the decades passed.
Scorpion Releasing had Body Melt in print (DVD only) back in 2013. If you’re a fan of this movie and would love to own it on blu-ray, you’ll have to purchase it from Umbrella Entertainment, either from their site or from Amazon. They released it in a new 4K remastered blu-ray back on December 16th!
Above is the main cover art!
Above is the reverse cover art. Front art is also the front of the slipcase!
Above is the back of the slipcase!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.77:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH
The 4K remaster looked good to me.
Extras included . . .
- Audio commentary with Director Philip Brophy, Producers Daniel Scharf and Rod Bishop (Development, Production & Completion)
- Audio commentary with Director/Composer Philip Brophy (Sound Design & Score)
- Behind-the-scenes Featurette (16:54)
- Making Bodies Melt: The Making Of Body Melt (1992) (33:55)
- Body Melt Gallery: BTS, Stills & Props (98 photos)
- Body Melt: The Complete Storyboard (98 photos)
- Original Trailer