The Best Skin Melting Scenes From Scifi

Illustration for article titled The Best Skin Melting Scenes From Scifi

Click to viewChances are that on Tuesday night, you settled onto your sofa and wondered, as you flipped on the television, just how J.J. Abrams would kick off his new series Fringe. Then, before you even made it to the opening credits, you watched a planeload of people dissolve into lumps of goo. It was bizarre, distressing, and may well have been the high point of the episode. In case Fringe failed to sate your appetite for disappearing flesh, we have plenty of gruesomely awesome skin-melting scenes to hold you until next week.Planet Terror: A biological weapon is unleashed on a rural town, turning the inhabitants into deformed, cannibalistic zombies. The soldiers initially exposed to the aerosolized agent stave off the transformation by sucking down controlled dosages of the gas. But when Quentin Tarantino is left to guard a beautiful anesthesiologist and a one-legged stripper, he decides that delivering a crude monologue is a worthier aim than maintaining one's physical integrity: Darkman: Melting flesh is actually one of Darkman's major plot points. After losing much of his epidermis in an arson fire, biosynthetics researcher Peyton Westlake becomes Darkman, a superhuman agent of vengeance. Westlake is able to resemble his old Liam Neeson self (as well as anyone else) by donning a synthetic skin. But after 99 minutes of exposure to light, the skin begins to bubble and quickly dissolves: Cube Zero: In the Cube series, characters find themselves imprisoned in a building filled with cube-shaped rooms. As they try to escape the cube, they discover that some of the rooms contain deadly booby traps. The intro to prequel Cube Zero features a particularly gruesome trap. A prisoner enters a room and is immediately sprayed with an unknown liquid. At first terrified, he is relieved to discover the substance is, in fact, water. But that relief is short-lived: Doctor Who - "Dragonfire": The Seventh Doctor travels to Iceworld, where he encounters the tyrannical Kane, who is at once the colony's ruler and prisoner. Kane's incredibly low body temperature makes his touch a deadly weapon, but also makes him vulnerable to the planet's sunlight. And when the Doctor shows Kane that his home planet perished during his imprisonment, Kane chooses the sun's rays as his method of surprisingly bloodless suicide: Revenge of the Sith: Anakin Skywalker went from insufferable to unsettling once he finally ditched his golden locks and teen idol looks for a singed skull and a breathing apparatus. We have Obi-Wan Kenobi to thank for that, as he stolidly watches his now-crippled, child-murdering protegee go up in flames: Godzilla vs. Hedorah and vs. Destoroyah: When Godzilla battles the pollution monster Hedorah, the beast spews viscous globs of acid that melt Godzilla's face. But it's radiation that does a later Godzilla in, causing him to melt completely following his defeat of Destoroyah: The Batman - "The Clayface of Tragedy": Each Clayface has his own tale of woe to explain his remarkably malleable but tragically unstable forms. Ethan Bennett's is fairly straightforward: a Gotham detective is kidnapped by the Joker, tortured, and exposed to a mysterious gas. After being rescued by the Bat, Bennett wakes up to discover his face isn't where he left it the night before: Terminator: To better blend in with society, terminators come encased in a synthetic skin. But that skin tends to vanish in the presence of John or Sarah Connor. Given the skin's propensity for catching fire, it's remarkable that the season premiere of The Sarah Connor Chronicles didn't find Cameron's dermis in a puddle on the floor: A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Android flesh is much more common in A.I.'s universe, and subject to more deliberate tortures. Latter-day Luddites participate in Flesh Fairs, where they cheer at the destruction of mechas, even those who appear eerily human: Star Trek: First Contact: The Borg Queen's core body is remarkably compact, an independent and detachable head and shoulders with that serpentine spine as its sole appendage. But a major plasma leak revealed that, for all their cybernetic sophistication, meat is still a key feature of the Borg physique: RoboCop: It's finally a cyborg-on-human melting in one of the final scenes of RoboCop. In an attempt to take down the mechanically enhanced officer, a lackey attempts to run him down with his truck, but instead steers into a tank conveniently labeled "Toxic Waste": Ghost Rider: When Johnny Blaze transforms into Ghost Rider, hellfire burns him from the inside and consumes his body. This, apparently, hurts, as evidenced by an unnecessarily long transformation scene whose sole purpose is to showcase Nicholas Cage's increasingly maniacal laughter: The Incredible Melting Man: Astronaut Steve West encountered a strange form of radiation while on a mission to Saturn. He returns to Earth alone and spends the rest of the movie melting (as the title would suggest), trying not to melt, and eating people: Solarbabies: In a post-apocalyptic future, a sports team of scrappy urchins discovers a glowing ball with incredible powers. Naturally, evil government agents are in pursuit of said ball and don't care whose hands they melt to get it: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - "The Forsaken": Shapeshifting Constable Odo must revert to his liquid form once every 16 hours. Painfully private as he is, Odo usually takes these gelatinous naps in the privacy of his office or, later, his quarters. But when he gets trapped in a turbolift with Lwaxana "No Sense of Personal Boundaries" Troi, he'd initially rather sweat it out than let the brassy diplomat see him lose face: X-Men: Turning into a giant water balloon gives mutant-hating Senator Kelly some much-needed perspective. Too bad he went liquid so shortly after seeing the light: Timecop: What happens if you travel through time and come into contact with another version of yourself? One of you might spontaneously perish, or you might open up a rift in space-time. Or, as in Timecop, you might swirl together in a mess of human tissue and disappear into the floorboards: Heroes - "Company Man": And, for good measure, we close our list with a skin unmelting scene from the improbably regenerative Claire Bennet:



Bible vs. Sci Fi aside, "Raiders" is definitely genre, so I would certainly include the most famous face-melt in cinematic history. Two other notable mentions - the "Tar Man" face melt from "Return of the Living Dead" and Annie Lennox's reverse melt in the video for "Missionary Man" (inspired by the Edison "Frankenstein"!).