31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews. Hooptober Challenges and Bonus Tasks.
View my 2017 Cinema Shame/Hoop-Tober Watch Pile Shame-a-thon Statement here.
Nature of Caltiki the Immortal Monster Shame:
Unwatched Arrow Blu-ray
Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
#1. Caltiki the Immortal Monster
So I’m creeping off the starting gates in the 2017. One might suggest I’m creeping into this Cinema Shame/Hoop-Tober challenge like a slightly animated infinity scarf permeating a 1/10th scale model Italian chateau.
I blind bought the Arrow Blu-ray package for Caltiki the Immortal Monster because I couldn’t resist the allure of a 1959 sci-fi monster movie with special effects by a young Mario Bava in a spiffy Arrow package. (Bava shares directorial credit with Riccardo Freda.) Mostly I wondered “Why exactly?” But those “why exactly” wonders often provide more than enough impetus for a viewing.
I snuck this one in on the first day of viewing (September 16th) while the wife indulged in a documentary on ballet dancers — which was oddly, based on the few minutes I watched, more horrific that Caltiki the Immortal Monster. (And she’s the one that says she doesn’t watch horror!) The expedient runtime, therefore, made Caltiki the ideal opening volley in the Cinema Shame/Hoop-Tober Watchpile Shame-a-thon 2017. Consider the cannons fired.
As special effects coordinator, Mario Bava does remarkable work in transforming a limp rag into an all consuming monster millions of in the offing. Caltiki reportedly offed the Mayans so it’s good at the offing business. This reworking of 1958’s The Blob via Universal’s The Mummy, transports the viewer to Mexico/Central America where scientists have travelled to study reasons for the demise of the Mayan civilization. (So the Blob with a sombrero, mostly. I kid.)
While exploring a cave featuring an entrance to a unique lake/reservoir, one of the scientists disappears and another returns, raving and ranting himself to death. In the 1950’s, we were certainly desensitized to scientists literally dying from the things they’d witnessed. There just seemed to be a lot of that going around.
A return trip to the cave claims one more explorer and a piece of another but our fearless band of trespassers manages to isolate a piece of the monster to take back for study. The pulsing rag of a monster devours flesh, consumes psyches and feeds on radiation — all the qualities you need for a ripping monster movie.
As I’ve never seen Caltiki the Immortal Monster before this Blu-ray release, I can’t speak to the original state of the film, but the version presented here by Arrow films shows remarkable detail and clarity for a 1950’s Italian production. If anything, the disc’s clarity calls attention to the scale models used for scenes after Caltiki grows to tidal wave size. Depending upon your viewing mentality this might prove to be a Bava-licious treat or it might take you right out of the film. However, if you’ve singled out something as relatively obscure as Caltiki for viewing, it’s my guess that you belong to the former group. You’ll also be well served to view the film with commentary because it offers some nice details about the production.
Comparing Caltiki directly to The Blob, which predated this film by a year, you’ll notice a couple scenes of relative and surprising shock value. When Caltiki devours its first victim and then reveals a bloody, pulpy skeleton, like discarded chicken bones, it took me by surprise to see such grue in what up until that point had been a pretty run-of-the-mill 1950’s monster flick.
Definitely worth a viewing for fans of Bava and 1950’s horror. It’s interesting to view the film as a bridge directly to the 1960’s when horror films began to take more bloody liberties. Caltiki offers some wonderful old-fashioned chiaroscuro and considered composition. It’s a well-shot movie considering its genre origins. Caltiki serves up exotic variations on established horror films and tropes. Bava works SFX magic during the film’s final ten minutes.
30Hz Movie Rating:
The recent Arrow Films Blu-ray release is widely available, an essential acquisition for classic monster fans and/or Bava completists.
2017 Cinema Shame/Hoop-Tober Watchpile Shame-a-thon
2016 Cinema Shame/Hoop-Tober Watchpile Shame-a-thon
#1. Vampyros Lesbos / #2. A Chinese Ghost Story / #3. The Haunting of Morella / #4. Delirium (1972) / #5. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin / #6. She-Wolf of London / #7. Son of Frankenstein / #8. Killerfish / #9. The Bride of Re-Animator / #10. A Bay of Blood / #11. The Seventh Victim / #12. The Fly (1958) / #13. The Fly (1986) / #14. Deep Red / #15. Dracula’s Daughter / #16. Day of the Animals / #17. The Unknown / #18. Kuroneko / #19. Komodo / #20. Tremors / #21. Tremors 2 / #22. A Nightmare on Elm Street / #23. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge / #24. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors / #25. Tenebrae / #26. Salem’s Lot / #27. Veerana / #28. House of Wax / #29. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage / #30. Dead and Buried / #31 Ghost and Mr. Chicken