Sunday, 2 April 2017

Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959)

                                        “Tremendous Fun”

       If you like alien blob monsters crawling around the garden of a country house, that is, and who doesn’t? This cracking bit of late 1950s Italian SF directed by Riccardo Freda (credited as ‘Robert Hamton’) and Mario Bava (credited as no-one at all) gets a seriously decent dual disc Blu-ray and DVD release from Arrow.

Caltiki is not good for you, especially if you're an archaeologist

       A team of archaeologists is investigating the ruins of a Mayan temple where they find a a crack has opened up to reveal a set of descending steps. Before you can say The Rats in the Walls they’ve discovered an underground chamber with a massive (and it has to be said, very well-lit) subterranean lake. At the bottom of the lake are bones, jewels, and an enormous blob-like monster.

We love blobs!
       The blob monster presumably doesn't like being disturbed as it promptly eats one chap’s face off and latches onto the arm of another. The offending bit of the blob is hacked free but when they get the victim back to civilisation it turns out the blob has dissolved his arm and its poison has entered his bloodstream. Suffering a case of the Victor Carroons (Hammer’s THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT) our patient gets put into a bed where he begins to mutate.

Fun with a fridge!
       Meanwhile the square-jawed scientist ‘hero’ has taken some of the blob to his isolated country house where he discovers radiation makes it get bigger...and bigger...and bigger. Hooray! Then it starts to undergo binary fission and soon there are lots of blobs running, or rather squelching, about. Even more hooray! They have a great time pushing over a tiny model fridge, knocking over tiny shelves with tiny beakers on and generally crawling around a tiny model of the house, including climbing the tiny model stairs. It’s all fabulous late 1950s monster fun and you should know by now if CALTIKI is for you.

Totally justified in terms of the plot

       Arrow’s extras include two erudite and academic commentary tracks, one from Tim Lucas and the other from Troy Howarth. Mr Lucas’ is a little more fact-packed while Mr Howarth’s is a little chattier. Neither gentleman, however, points out that leading lady Didi Sullivan seems to be wearing the most see-through shirt in 1950s exploitation history during the jungle bits.

Stairway to Hell

       We also get a good 20 minute talking head piece from Kim Newman on the movie influences that led to CALTIKI’s production, plus some ported over archive stuff from a previous DVD release, including a profile of Riccardo Freda and a talking head piece from dear old Luigi Cozzi. Also included is an open aperture version of the film so you can see more of Mario Bava's effects work. Those who buy the first pressing will also get a booklet with new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Roberto Curti, which seems a bit unfair as everyone should be able to read what these guys have written.

The fabulous IMMORTAL MONSTER fun that is CALTIKI gets a dual format DVD and Blu-ray release from Arrow Films on Monday 10th April 2017



  1. I can tell you, John, that Didi Sullivan was the first thing I noticed when I first saw the restoration in HD. I'm certain that Troy, like myself, was working from whatever version was handy, as the restoration had not even begun at the time I turned in my commentary. But discovering Didi was rather astonishing - she was suddenly just so... tangible! :D