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Movies > RoboCop1 > The Melting man
Emil attempts to run RoboCop over with a van - but instead, the criminal runs head on into a vat of toxic waste. Swept out the rear of the van, Emil emerges from the steaming muck with the flesh melting off his hands and face.

Rob Bottin conceived, designed and fabricated the makeup, which was called "the Melting Man" in homage to Rob's earlier work with Rick Baker on a picture called "The Incredible Melting Man." The makeup was Rob's conception of what someone would look like dumped into hot waste. He decided to make Emil literally melt, to have his whole face start to be pulled down by gravity instead of just going through the usual blisters-and-disintegration route. The look of that makeup suggests an actual drooping of all the muscles, as if they are starting to slide off Emil's skeleton. As the toxic waste cascades through Emil's truck, a stuntman wearing a fairly simple makeup is washed out of the van. The next cut picks up the first stage of Bottin's creation as actor Paul McCrane staggers to his feet and realizes that he is literally failing apart.

First a lifecast was taken of Paul McCrane, including his hands. Then follows the procedure of sculpting those up into whatever Rob Bottin had in mind and then casting up the appliances in foam latex. The first stage makeup was basically a one-piece appliance that covered three-quarters of McCrane's head and most of his chest, showing his eye coming out, his mouth turning inside-out and his chest getting all wrinkled. Foam latex gloves were also made up to show Emil's fingers skinning apart - almost like peeling back a human banana - to show the bones underneath. Then, when Emil really started to get had, the second stage was applied over the first. This was an appliance that was put on the cheek area and part of the lower jaw -a fairly small thing detailed with more disintegration and blistering. There was always a small bucket of liquid latex with bits of chopped foam in it that could be painted onto the makeup to suggest melting flesh - or put on another actor, which is how Emil left little bits of himself on Ray Wise's shoulders when he's trying to get help.

Help is on the way - terminal help - as Botticker accidentally runs Emil over with his car. What Clarence actually hits is an articulated dummy - one they had costumed to look like Emil. To make it look as authentic as possible, they also applied the first and second stage Melting Man makeup to the dummy. Since the dummy was jointed, when it got hit by the car it moved around in a realistic way. Prior to that the head was loosened so that it would fly off on impact -but it was just luck that they got that shot of it rolling up on Clarence's windshield. A quick reverse angle from inside the car reveals a slimy mess splattering across the glass - all that remains of Emil. They had a big pot of things - called Emil's pot - that held several days' worth of catering truck leftovers. All kinds of saved things after lunch and dinner - raw chicken, soup, gravy, veggies - whatever the caterer had on hand. After a few days it all sort of liquefied into something pretty disgusting. The soup was Poured into balloons and just thrown at the windshield as the car went by.

Tasteless or not, the Melting Man sequence scored highly with audiences - and with the ratings board. It was one of the scenes that the MFAA wanted to cut out. But the movie team fought like crazy to keep it in. One of their weapons was the fact that during some early screenings, The National Research Group had asked people what their favorite thing in the movie was - and the answer was the Melting Man. At that point certain people took a stand against the MPAA, because it just seemed ridiculous to cut out the one thing that audiences liked best! Ultimately they won. Actually, though, the Melting Man also rated highly as the least favorite thing in the movie. So it got a lot of reaction.


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