So, how many monster movies end with a janitor scooping the monster into a garbage can?
  — Crow

The Movie



The Incredible Melting Man

During a space flight to Saturn, three astronauts are exposed to a blast of radiation which kills two of them and seriously injures the third, Colonel Steve West (Rebar). He is next shown unconscious in a hospital back on Earth, with bandages covering his face; his physician, Dr. Loring (Lisle Wilson), cannot explain what is happening to West or how he survived the blast. After the doctor leaves, West awakens and is horrified to find the flesh on his face and hands melting away. Hysterical, he attacks and kills a nurse (Bonnie Inch), then escapes the hospital in a panic. Loring and Dr. Theodore "Ted" Nelson (DeBenning), a scientist and friend of West, discover that the nurse's corpse is emitting feeble radiation, and realize West's body has become radioactive. Nelson believes West has gone insane, and concludes he must consume human flesh in order to slow the melting. Nelson calls General Michael Perry (Healey), a United States Air Force officer familiar with West's accident, and the general agrees to help Nelson find him.

West attacks and kills a fisherman in a woods, then encounters and frightens a little girl (Julie Drazen) there, but she escapes unharmed. Nelson tracks West by following his radiation trail with a geiger counter, but only finds his detached ear stuck to a tree branch. Perry arrives by plane, and is picked up by Nelson; shortly thereafter, they visit the crime scene where the fisherman's body was found. Sheriff Neil Blake (Michael Alldredge) suspects that Nelson knows something, but Nelson tells the sheriff nothing because Perry had earlier informed him that any information about West was classified. Later that night, Nelson returns home to his pregnant wife Judy(Ann Sweeny), who tells him that her elderly mother Helen (Dorothy Love) and Helen's boyfriend Harold (Edwin Max) are coming over for dinner. On their way, however, Helen and Harold are attacked by West in their car, and he kills them both.

When Blake finds the bodies, he calls Nelson, who comes out to identify them. After Blake angrily demands an explanation, Nelson reluctantly reveals West's condition. Nelson believes West is somehow getting stronger the more his body decomposes. Back at Nelson's house, West attacks and kills Perry, although Judy is not harmed. Nelson and Blake arrive just as West escapes. West then stumbles upon the home of a married couple (played by Jonathan Demme and Janus Blythe). West kills the man and attacks his wife, but she drives him away after chopping his arm off with a kitchen knife. Blake receives a call about the attack and takes Nelson with him to investigate. They follow West to a giant power plant, and then up several flights of outside stairways.

Blake tries to shoot West with a shotgun, but the blasts do not stop West, who throws the sheriff over the railing into power lines, killing him. West hits Nelson and knocks him over the railing, leaving the doctor hanging on the side. Nelson appeals to West, reminding him that they were friends, and West decides to pull Nelson to safety. Two armed security guards then arrive and, in a panic, fatally shoot Nelson as he tries to protect West. An infuriated West kills the security guards and stumbles away. After collapsing against the side of a building, he slowly melts completely away. The next morning, a janitor finds his gory remains and casually mops them into a garbage can. The film ends with a radio news report about another astronaut team being sent to Saturn.


  • Myron Healey, who played General Michael Perry, was also the handsome and heroic cop Mark Houston in The Unearthly.
  • This was reportedly one of Trace Beaulieu's least favorite movies on the show to date.
  • Contains early make-up special effects by Hollywood legend Rick Baker.
  • There's a scene that was cut from the episode. The scene shows the blonde model and the pervy photographer who pulled down her sleeveless bra. They bicker and argue until they found the dead fisherman's body that Steve attacked early.
  • The film was originally intended to be a parody of sci-fi B-movies, performed in a very straight-faced fashion so as to become a kind of black comedy. During production, the producers decided to attempt to re-shape the movie into an actual horror film by demanding new scenes be shot and integrated into the work that had already been done. For this reason, much of the dialog is purposefully awkward and out of tone with the rest of the movie and many scenes are played for laughs (the nurse being chased in the beginning, the scene with the elderly couple, the awkward "No crackers??", the infamous ending of the melted creature being shoveled into a garbage can, etc.).
  • The role of Matt Winters, the man Steve kills after he kills General Perry and leaves Ted's house, is played by Jonathan Demme.

The Episode

Host Segments


Baseball on the SOL

Prologue: Mike and the bots play a little baseball. Crow, the umpire, says, "Hiyreah!" repeatedly, and Mike keeps getting hit by balls thrown by Servo.

Segment One: Mike's jaw was injured in the fight with Servo. Crow's Earth vs. Soup screenplay is being made into a movie, with Dr. F and Pearl in charge of the money. Crow says he will stand by his script, but he immediately gives in to Pearl's demands.


Going over the script

Segment Two: Dr. F and Pearl take a very expensive (and ultimately pointless) shuttle ride to the SOL for a script conference. Mike tears the centers out of bagels at Crow's command; Crow leaves leaves to get Pellegrinos and the conference goes on without him. Lots of confusion abounds with the script revisions. The Forresters leave just before Crow returns, and he learns that he has missed the entire meeting.

Dr. F's focus group

Segment Three: Crow directs his movie, which features Mike as Kevin Bacon and Gypsy as his love interest. Judy (actually Servo) helps as the assistant director. Crow gets two takes of the only scene before Movie Sign because he is so carried away with his new director's scarf.

Segment Four: Dr. F leads a focus group for Earth vs. Soup: The Movie. None of them liked the film; they didn't like the plot, it was too short, and it should have been potato soup.

Segment Five: Upon learning the fate of his movie, Crow flips out: "I come to you with a movie, you supposedly get me $30 million to make it, you take 29.5 million for yourself, I get a lousy $800, I don't get any credit, and my movie's released as a trailer!?!"

Stinger: Dr. Ted Nelson’s weird old mother-in-law says, "Let’s get the hell out of here!"

Other Notes

Guest Stars



Obscure References

  • "Wanna talk to Maude Frickert?"

A reference to comedian Jonathan Winters (who General Perry bears more than a passing resemblance to), in particular, his character "Maude Frickert", a sharp-tongued old woman.

  • "We saved Kuwait again!"

As Iraqi forces retreated from Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War, they set fire to well over 600 oil wells, resulting in one of the worst environmental disasters of all time.

  • "Global warming is a big ruse by some liberal pablum-puking liberals!"

"Pablum-puking liberals" was the favored insult of conservative firebrand talk show host Morton Downey Jr.

  • "Edie Sedgwick, NOOOO!!!"

Edie Sedgwick, who appeared in several films directed by Andy Warhol, was severely burned in 1966 after falling asleep with a lit cigarette.

  • "Can you stir the tanks without killing us this time?"

The explosion that brought an early end to the Apollo 13 mission occurred just after the order was given to "stir the tanks"—the fans to stir the contents of the service module's liquid oxygen tanks emitted a spark that triggered the explosion.

  • "The Russians! Hey, Giorgy!"

A reference to an SCTV sketch about a Russian sitcom called "Hey, Giorgy!".

  • "You're looking live at the parquet floor of a NASA hospital..."

A reference to the line with which Brent Musburger started most episodes of The NFL Today (for example, "You're looking live at Giants Stadium...")

The drummer for The Who, notorious for destroying hotel rooms while on tour.

  • "I just realized- I'm LeRoy Neiman!"

A reference to commercially successful artist LeRoy Neiman. In MST's The Screaming Skull, the Brains suggested that incineration was the most appropriate fate for his creative output.

  • Windows 95 references

The fisherman looks like Bill Gates, whose company Microsoft had recently released the Windows 95 operating system.

  • "NASA's a sucker for any Very Large Array salesman!"

A reference to the Very Large Array, an installation of radio astronomy dishes located in New Mexico.

  • "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day / To the last syllable of recorded time..."

A line from Act 5 of Macbeth.

  • "I’m gonna squeeze one of [the lemons] and let the juice run down my body!"

A reference to the 1980 film Atlantic City, which starred Susan Sarandon, and featured a scene where she squeezed the juice from lemons over her naked body.

  • "Don't talk about the baby, Martha."
    MST3K 704 (Incredible Melting Man) Promo

    MST3K 704 (Incredible Melting Man) Promo

A recurring line from the stage play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Crow is mimicking the voice of actor Richard Burton, who starred in the film adaptation (though they say "the boy", not "the baby" in the film).

  • "Ted Nelson was found alive, and of normal size. There was no melting man."

A reference to the nonsensical ending of Monster a Go-Go.

  • "Right now, I'm learning that even though this movie was about 80 minutes long, it felt like Berlin Alexanderplatz."

Originally aired as a 14-part miniseries on West German television, Berlin Alexanderplatz was released as a 15 1/2 hour long movie in the US.

Video Release

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