Caltiki is a goddess resting under a pool of water filled with treasures. Waking a sleeping god always works out splendidly. I mean, who doesn’t remember The Mummy or The Mummy Returns? Oh Brendan, whatever happened to you?
Anyway, a team of archeologists are investigating some strange happenings at a Mayan city when they come upon the statue of Caltiki and the pool. As explorers, they obviously must see what is in the pool. Once they discover the treasures in it, they disturb Caltiki. The blob that is Caltiki follow and attacks one of the group. As they escape with their wounded comrade, they accidentally take a piece of the blob that has attached to him. From there on, the mass has the freedom to grow and terrorize those that disturbed her while they call in the Mexican army for assistance.
Caltiki, The Immortal Monster is an interesting watch. In some ways it is a bit of a mess. It isn’t all that effective as a horror movie. The performances are relatively lukewarm. The pacing is a bit off, but there is something worth your time. There is a bit of an enjoyable adventure hidden in this film. The suspense works reasonably well, too. And the special effects are quite good for the time and the cinematography is pleasing. So there are a lot of pieces that are begging to make a good movie. Unfortunately the sum of the parts just isn’t enough to make it all work.
Technical Details: 3.5/5
Caltiki, The Immortal Monster is a dark film. And I don’t mean thematically. The majority of the movie is filmed with low light surroundings. Don’t mistake this for a poor transfer. The transfer actually has surprisingly nice detail in the darkness of this old transfer. The contrast is also rather good for the age of the source material. The Italian track included on this disc sounds mostly okay. Some of the score feels lacking, but not too bad. The clarity of the track is also satisfying to me. The English track is understandably a bit of a mess because it had to be assembled from multiple sources and not from the original recording. This is warned of in this release. Although, I do recommend checking out the English track for a few minutes of entertainment at the voice-over acting.
Special Features and Packaging: 4/5
Commentary: Featuring film expert Tim Lucas.
Commentary: Featuring film expert Troy Howarth.
From Quartermass to Caltiki: Kim Newman joins us for a discussion on the effect of classic monsters on Caltiki.
Full Aperture Version: An interesting option to view the film without the matted aspect ratio. This option shows more of the film’s special effects work.
Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master: Analysis of the film and Freda himself.
The Genesis of Caltiki: An extended interview with Luigi Cossi on the film’s place in film history.
Archival Introduction: Stefano Della Casa introduces the film.
US Theatrical Trailer
US Opening Titles
The audio commentaries presented here are by a pair of film experts and historians. Each one has written extensively on Bava and they both offer a good bit of insight to the film and the man himself. The discussions and analyses on the various interviews on the disc offer pleasant insight and adds to the package nicely.
The packaging is what you’ve come to expect from Arrow. You get a two disc case with some nice artwork and an informative little booklet. Keep up the good standard here, Arrow.
Caltiki Overall: 3.5/5
While I don’t think Caltiki, The Immortal Monster is anything to really write home about, it is certainly worth checking out. This is at the least a very interesting entry in film history as Mario Bava’s first time directing a significant portion of a film. And he didn’t drop the ball on the cinematography in the least while doing so. Given that, it is worth seeing at least once. The release is rather solid as well with plenty of features and a good package to go with it. The video looks great for its age and it sounds fine. If you are a Bava fan, this is essential to to own for its place in his history. If you enjoy modern horror or movies in general, check it out to see history of the genre in Italy, but no need to own it.
For those interested in a purchase, it can be bought at Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.