Scorpion Releasing // 1993 // 81 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // May 8th, 2013
The first phase is hallucinogenic, the second phase is glandular, and the third phase is...AAAGGH!!
I've spent a lifetime seeking out the weirdest and grossest that cinema has to offer and, over that time, I've seen a whole lot. Sometimes, it seems like there's nothing left on the horizon. Just as I start to think that, though, a movie like Body Melt comes and slaps me across the face. I'd never even heard of this piece of Australian insanity, but I'm sure glad it's out there. Now I get to, once again, have something new to turn the stomachs of all my friends. They can thank me later.
There's a new vitamin on the market and the manufacturer, Vimuvial, promises that people who take it will develop the most amazing bodies possible. For their test market, they send free samples out to a small neighborhood. The residents are happy to pop them into their mouths, but soon after doing so, they begin to realize the drug's devastating side effects. There's no question that the pill provides amazing results, but just not in the way the company claims.
If you're one of those people who longs for the days when Peter Jackson was making movies like Dead Alive instead of self-serious high fantasy, then Body Melt is the movie for you. Disturbed, disgusting, and hilarious, it's the kind of "splatstick" that fans rarely get the chance to see anymore. I can't quite say it's as revolting as Braindead, but it's definitely in the neighborhood and will certainly satisfy anyone who likes this sort of thing.
Written and directed by Philip Brophy (sadly, the only film he ever made), the story is little more than an excuse to get to the gore. One could claim that it satirizes society's obsession with beauty and dependence on pharmaceuticals, things that are equally relevant today. It's all so thin, though, even if those ideas are in the story, that part of it isn't really effective. What works really well, however, is the low budget, over-the-top special effects work. There are few movies as gleefully disgusting as Body Melt and all I wish is that it was longer. From a mutated inbred family eating a kangaroo's adrenal gland to exploding body parts to down the throat esophagus shots, it has something for everybody.
It's not just blood and guts, either, though that's most of it. Body Melt looks really good for its budget. It's very colorful and Brophy displays a stylish eye for someone who only made one movie. The jokes fly fast and furious, while the infuriating '90s porn soundtrack only adds to the fun. I don't want to spoil too much of what you'll see in this ridiculous gore-fest, but suffice it to say that fans of the style will alternately laugh and barf at what's on display here.
Body Melt is another gem from Scorpion releasing on their "Katarina's Nightmare Theater" banner. For a good long time now, former professional wrestler Katarina Leigh Waters has graced us with her presence, educating viewers on the finer points of obscure exploitation, and I can't thank her enough for her and Scorpion's efforts. Body Melt looks great here, with a nice clean print and colors that pop off the screen. Blood and other fluids have disgustingly realistic tones, while the overall definition is excellent. The stereo sound mix reveals the film's slim budget, though. There isn't much dynamic between the speakers, but dialog is always clear, the ridiculous soundtrack is good and loud, and there's little in the way of background hiss. There are no extras beyond the intro/outro from Waters and a trailer, which is disappointing given what the label has provided on previous releases.
Cheap, gross, and insane, Body Melt is not for the faint of heart, but those who love this kind of comic splatter are in for a treat. Nobody's going to mistake it for great cinema, but I've never seen anything quite like it and it's a whole lot of fun.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 81 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Not Rated