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"Body Melt" (1993) Will Dissolve Your Brain

India LaPalme loves all things anime. She hopes to visit Japan one day.

"The first phase is hallucinogenic . . . the second phase is glandular . . . and the third phase is AHH, GAWD!"

— "Body Melt," 1993

"Body Melt" (1993)

"Body Melt" (1993)

Philip Brophy's Body Melt has the dubious distinction of being one of the strangest movies I've ever watched—this coming from the person who suffered through Microwave Massacre. However, impossible though it may seem, this Australian contribution to the horror genre makes the saga of Donald the cannibal seem almost normal.

With its bizarre body horror, kooky characters, and disjointed plot, Body Melt makes a compelling argument for why some ideas should never see the light of day (or the big screen). While it may have been intended as a satirical take on the health industry, this film is unlikely to leave you laughing (unless it's at the sheer stupidity of it all).

Bad Medicine

Body Melt follows the residents of a Melbourne suburb, who are the unwitting subjects of an experiment run by the sinister Dr. Carrera (Ian Smith) and his assistant, Shaan (Regina Gaigalas). Known as Vimuville, their product is a (nasty-looking) dietary supplement designed to improve users’ health.

The only problem is that the people taking it have an unfortunate tendency to die. (Definitely an inconvenient side effect.) And therein lies the first issue with this movie: why would a scientist—even a mad one—conduct a (very public) human trial using a lethal substance?

Even if Dr. Carrera doesn’t care how many people die because of his invention, he should be worried about going to jail. Can’t exactly do much inventing if you’re locked up.

To give him credit, the doc does make a half-hearted attempt to avoid police scrutiny, but he’d have to be way less obvious to have even the slightest hope of going undetected.

Also, while I’m no scientist, I doubt there’s much to be gained from dosing people with something when you already know exactly what’s going to happen to them. Shouldn’t the not-so-good doctor be focusing on developing a supplement which doesn’t make people explode? I mean, he won’t have any repeat customers if they’re all dead.

Paul (William McInnes) has definitely seen better days.

Paul (William McInnes) has definitely seen better days.

Keeping It In the Family

Though the audience is initially led to believe that Dr. Carrera developed Vimuville on his own, we later learn that he had an accomplice, the creatively named Pud (Vincent Gil), who has since retired from the vitamin business.

Mind you, said retirement had nothing to do with Pud developing a conscience. We don’t learn much about Carrera’s former colleague, but what we do find out suggests that he’s no nicer than the doc. (Let’s just say this guy puts the mad in mad scientist.)

Still, while he may be insane and morally bankrupt, at least Pud is talkative. (Nothing more frustrating than an antisocial villain, am I right?) Luckily for the audience, Pud has no problem revealing his secrets.

For example, he divulges that, unlike Dr. Carrera, he tested Vimuville on himself, using a special compound to prevent his body from being damaged by the supplement.

Of course, Pud stole this compound when the two parted ways, although Carrera never noticed until he pointed it out decades later. (Real observant.)

Pud (center) and his sons

Pud (center) and his sons

Pud claims that using Vimuville gave him super hearing, but it must have also damaged his brain, seeing as how he and his relatives are, well, a little too close. (And I’m not talking about helicopter parenting.)

Not only do Pud’s offspring resemble the mutants from The Hills Have Eyes, but there’s also a memorable scene where he yells at his daughter to “keep it in the family” after catching her making out with (gasp) a stranger.

Speaking of memorable moments, I can’t forget when Pud’s sons kill a kangaroo, then proceed to chow down on its corpse. I mean, I’m all for siblings spending time together, but surely there are less revolting ways for the brothers to bond.

That's No Way to Run a Business

Despite their product’s 100% fatality rate, Shaan and Dr. Carrera are determined to sell it nationwide. However, not only does Vimuville’s lethal nature make it impossible to build a loyal customer base, but it won’t be long before the police come knocking with some uncomfortable questions.

I suppose Dr. Carrera and his goons could have terroristic aspirations, but there are easier (and less obvious) ways to commit mass murder. Guess no one told them that sometimes, you just gotta cut your losses.

As for the residents of Pebbles Court, they learned all too late that you should always avoid ingesting substances which mysteriously appear in your mailbox.

© 2022 India LaPalme