Australian Body Horror ‘Body Melt’ (1993) – Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray Review

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for body horror films. There’s just something truly terrifying about your own body turning against you. No matter how fast you can run, there’s no escaping yourself. So when I heard that the 1993 Australian horror film, Body Melt, was getting the Blu-ray treatment from Vinegar Syndrome, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

The Synopsis:

Residents of peaceful Pebbles Court, Homesville, are being used unknowingly as test experiments for a new Body Drug that causes rapid body decomposition (melting skin etc.) and painful death.

This sick and twisted satire was directed by Philip Brophy (of the 1970s experimental music group Tsk Tsk Tsk) from a screenplay co-written by himself and Rod Bishop, both of whom got their filmmaking start on Salt, Saliva, Sperm and Sweat (1988). The cast includes Robert Simper (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 1985), Regina Gaigalas (Dead End 1999), Nicholas Politis (Phoenix 1992), Maurie Annese (Finders Keepers 1991), Ian Smith (Neighbours TV series), Mad Max’s (1979) Vincent Gil, Neil Foley (Raw 2017), Anthea Davis (Corelli 1995), Adrian Wright (Freewheelers TV series), Jillian Murray (Georgia 1988), Brett Climo (A Country Practice TV series), Lisa McCune (Sea Patrol TV series) and The Matrix’s (1999) Bill Young. Many of them worked together once again in the crime drama Blue Heelers.

Whistleblower Ryan (Robert Simper) is attacked by his own mutated throat tentacles

Coming out a few years after New Zealander Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste and just a year after Braindead, Body Melt is Ozploitation at its best… full of fluids and phlegm and pharmakia. There’s something nasty for every body horror lover, and all of it is shown in microscopic detail on this new Blu-ray release. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this gut-burtsing film has oozing, mucousy flesh gobbets, pencil-thin throat tentacles, a matricidal placenta with umbilical cord still attached, a slowly swelling, exploding penis, a gargantuan flapping tongue, pummeled girlfriend hallucinations, a cannibal of virgins and a tribute to Adam and Eve that has to be seen to be believed.

Body Melt, Jillian Murray
Mrs. Noble (Jillian Murray) may have bitten off more than she can chew

The color and clarity on the Blu-ray is gorgeous. Each nasty bit is on display, with all forms of liquid and semi-solid human excretion splattered on every surface. I was afraid, since Body Melt was filmed in the ’90s before HD, that the film’s restoration would look cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looks even more atrocious than it did before. The puss is greener, the swellings are more engorged and the wounds practically sing with flesh-splitting intensity. It’s not just the colors that are beyond vibrant. Even the crazed laughter sounded more maniacal.

Vinegar Syndrome, Body Melt
The Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray art: left with slipcover, right without slipcover

There are HOURS of behind the scenes features on this Vinegar Syndrome release. It was so fun to get the inside scoop on this film!

Some of those features include:

• Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo
• Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 16mm original camera negative (exclusive to this release)
• Commentary track with writer/director/composer Philip Brophy, writer/producer Rod Bishop and producer Daniel Scharf
• Commentary track with Philip Brophy, focused on the sound design and film score
• “Melting Away: The Deconstruction of Body Melt” – 2018 featurette with Philip Brophy and Rod Bishop
• “Body Building: The Making of Body Melt” – 2018 interview with Daniel Scharf
• “Adrenal Glands” – 2018 interview with actor Neil Foley
• “Making Bodies Melt: The Making of Body Melt”
• “Behind-the-Scenes Featurette”
• Extensive behind-the-scenes stills and prop gallery
• Complete storyboard gallery
• Original theatrical trailer
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH subtitles

Lisa McCune, Body Melt
Possibly the worst pregnancy in the history of the world for Cheryl Rand (Lisa McCune)

It was eye-opening to hear Brophy and Bishop talk about the making of the film, and what they went through as Australian filmmakers. I recommend watching “Making Bodies Melt: The Making of Body Melt” and the commentary track with writer/director/composer Philip Brophy, writer/producer Rod Bishop and producer Daniel Scharf, if nothing else. They’re both full of information and let you in on the little things to watch out for the next time you watch Body Melt in its entirety.

Residents of Normal… Pud (Vincent Gil), Bab (Neil Foley) and Slab (Anthea Davis)

Get your Blu-ray copy of Body Melt right here!

Final Thoughts

All of the sometimes literal tongue-in-cheek goodness in this film continues on to the final credits. The storyline is a bit wonky at times (why on earth would those teenagers do the things they did in the ironically-named town of Normal?) and the synthesizer music is absolutely atrocious, but it’s all on the backburner behind the hilarious dialogue and extraordinary special FX. To pick up a copy of this gag-inducing film, head on over to Vinegar Syndrome’s website right here.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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