Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1959
Directors: Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava
Writer: Filippo Sanjust
Cast: John Merivale, Didi Sullivan, Gérard Herter, Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Vittorio André, Daniele Vargas, Arturo Dominici, Nerio Bernardi

Release Date: April 10th, 2017 (UK), April 25th, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running time: 76 Minutes 25 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B/Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK)/$39.95 (USA)

"A team of archaeologists led by Dr John Fielding (John Merivale, Circus of Horrors) descends on the ruins of an ancient Mayan city to investigate the mysterious disappearance of its inhabitants. However, the luckless explorers get more than they bargained for when their investigation of a sacrificial pool awakens the monster that dwells beneath its waters – the fearsome and malevolent god Caltiki." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "All restoration work was carried out at L'Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna. As the original camera negative for this film has been lost, an original 35mm combined dupe negative was deemed to be the best known element in existence. The material was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered Arriscan with a wetgate and was graded on Digital Vision's Nucoda Film Master.

Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and scratches were removed through a combination of digital restoration tools. Overall image stability and instances of density fluctuation were also improved."

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45 GB

Feature: 22.4 GB (1.66:1 aspect ratio), 15.8 GB (1.33:1 aspect ratio)

Considering the limitations of the source used for this transfer, the result is a transfer that far exceeds expectations. That said, details look crisp and the contrast and black levels remain solid throughout.

Audio: 4/5 (LPCM Mono Italian), 3.5/5 (LPCM Mono English)

This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian with removable English subtitles and a LPCM mono mix in English with removable English SDH subtitles. There is a disclaimer that appears before the film when choosing the English audio option, and it details why an English language track had to be made from several sources due to the original English language master no longer existing. Fortunately, the English audio track created for this release has no issues with distortion or background. And the dialog comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs to. The Italian audio mix is in great shape; the dialog is clear and everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs to.


Extras for this release include an archival introduction by film critic Stefano Della Casa (21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), U.S. theatrical trailer (2 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an alternate opening titles for the US version (2 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival interview with filmmaker Luigi Cozzi titled The Genesis of Caltiki (21 minutes 33 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with Stefano Della Casa titled Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master (19 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with English subtitles), an interview with author and film critic Kim Newman titled From Quatermass to Caltiki (18 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark and an audio commentary with Troy Howarth author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava.

Other extras include an alternate presentation for Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, that presents the film in its full aperture. How does this version differ from the other versions included as part of this release? This alternate, unmated version presents the film in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It should be noted that not all of the footage was shot in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and some of the shots are slightly hard-matted in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio.

Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art, a vintage 54-page French Caltiki photocomic (BD-Rom/DVD-Rom content), and a thirty-page booklet with cast and crew information, an essay titled Gothic Monstrosity, Radioactive Terror written by Kat Ellinger, an essay titled Deconstructing Caltiki written by Roberto Curti, an essay titled Caltiki, More or Less written by Tim Lucas, and information about the transfers round out the extras.

Included with this release is a DVD that has the same content as the Blu-ray included as part of this combo release.


Italian cinema has had a long history of cannibalizing genres that were popular at the time and the premises of successful films from various countries around the world. And though just about every genre was exploited for all it was worth, for whatever reason, the sci-fi genre was the one genre that didn’t find that same level of success.

The premise of Caltiki, the immortal monster, clearly draws inspiration from The Quatermass Xperiment and The Blob. The premise is well executed, and pacing is never an issue as the narrative moves along quickly. Though there is a predictability to the story at hand, the main attraction is actually the blob-like entity that wreaks havoc. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the superbly realized special effects.

The performances are best described as serviceable. With the most memorable performance being Gérard Herter's (The Big Gundown) in the role of Max Gunther, an archaeologist who becomes deranged after coming into contact with the mysterious blob-like entity. Other notable cast members include Giacomo Rossi Stuart (Kill Baby, Kill) and Daniela Rocca (Divorce Italian Style), in the role of Linda, the love interest of the deranged archeologist.

Visually, the film more resembles a Gothic horror film than a sci-fi film. And the visuals are filled with atmosphere, which does an excellent job of reinforcing the menacing tone of the film. Standout moments visually include the scene where the archaeologist goes looking for their missing college and they discover the blob-like entity. And the scene where the deranged archaeologist is devoured by the blob-like entity?

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, gets an exceptional release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an abundance of extra content, highly recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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