Released in 1993, Body Melt is an Australian horror/comedy hybrid starring Australian soap stars. It has a distinct Australian sense of humor, and most Australian genre buffs hold it in high esteem. I've read reviews that put this film on the same pedestal that hoists up splatter classics like Dead Alive and Bad Taste. Hell, it could be mistaken for a Peter Jackson goregasm, but I want to make one thing clear: Body Melt is no Dead Alive. I won't belittle the opinions of those who enjoy the shit out of this sick sliver of Ozploitation, but it doesn't have the wide-reaching appeal of PJ's early output.
Should I explain why? Okay, I will. There is no main character. Body Melt hops back and forth between plot threads that have nothing to do with one another. We spend a negligible amount of time with each person, but we don't learn anything about them. I would compare it to The Grudge, only the script is slapdash and the characters' lives never intersect in a meaningful way. "But Dom, this movie doesn't take itself seriously!" Trust me, hypothetical polemicist; I could tell. Camp is not a crutch. You can't use it to excuse away the fact that your low-budget grindhouse feature doesn't make sense.
And that's another thing. Body Melt doesn't make any fucking sense! I comprehend the nuts and bolts of the premise. A corporation is testing experimental drugs on unwitting consumers. The drug turns you inside out, and in essence, you melt. I get the gist of it. Everything outside of the gist? I don't get. Why did the two stoner "dudes" stop at the farm? Why did they hang out with the inbred freaks? Who is the homeless girl, and why does she have a collection of human ribs? How did the corporation (I'm sure it has a name) distribute these drugs? Wouldn't the first report of an EXPLODING HEAD prompt a decline in sales?
Logistics aside, Body Melt failed to enthuse me when it wasn't busy spraying goo in my general direction. I didn't laugh at the sight gags. Maybe you have to be Australian to appreciate this flick's comedic aspects. You don't have to be Australian to appreciate the special effects, and I'll give credit where credit is due. The bloodshed is sensational. At one point, a child dies a ridiculous, over-the-top death. Yippee! So Body Melt isn't boring. Be that as it may, I couldn't wait for it to end. It's a scattershot jumble of one-dimensional characters and half-baked concepts that rarely stimulate any traction. Man, I need to dust off my copy of Bad Taste.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:50 PM