Caltiki the Immortal Monster 1959
The mystery of the Mayans is one which may never be solved: why did they leave their homes after centuries of prosperity never to return, with their cities decaying behind them?

A group of archaeologists are in Mesoamerica investigating Mayan ruins when a delirious expedition member (Arturo Dominici) stumbles into their camp and collapses. Led by Dr John Fielding (John Merivale) and Max Gunther (Gerard Herter), they enter a cave in search of his missing colleague. Imagine their delight on discovering a deep pool of water containing priceless treasures, guarded by a statue of the Mayan goddess Caltiki. They can’t believe their luck until a shapeless monster emerges from the depths...

BD50 + DVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:16:25 | 44.8 Gb + 7.63 Gb
Language: Italiano, English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Directors: Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hamton), Mario Bava (uncredited)
Cast: John Merivale, Didi Sullivan, Gerard Herter, Giacomo Rossi Stuart
Country: Italy, USA

Extras:

-- Tim Lucas Commentary
A commentary by the author of “Mario Bava - All the Colors of the Dark”. As you might expect the commentary is loaded with trivia about how Bava handled the various effects shots, plus many references to his wider career. We learn that his contract with the studio (Galatea) had meant that his co-directing work with Riccardo Freda went uncredited. Freda himself was reportedly a scary tyrant who regularly came on set with two leashed, barking dogs - and had more of a passion for gambling on his horses than for cinema itself. Apparently 100 kg of tripe was used for the creature effects during 3 days of shooting, and by the end of this the smell of rotten meat was “killing people for real”. A highly enjoyable commentary for anyone with an interest in Bava’s work.

-- Troy Hogarth Commentary
The author of “The Haunted World of Mario Bava” and “So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films” gives a wonderfully lively and enthusiastic commentary on the film. He goes a lot further into the careers of the actors here than Tim Lucas did. He also dispels the myth that Mario Bava directed the underwater sequence in Dario Argento’s 1980 film Inferno (although Bava was indeed involved in shooting some other sequences for that film). It’s arguably the better of the two commentaries due to Troy’s punchier approach.

-- Full Aperture Version of the film (01:16:54)
It’s the version of the film that Tim Lucas talks about in his booklet, allowing us to look at Mario Bava’s non-matted effects shots. In full aperture some of these shots look more impressive (such as those of the amorphous creature rampaging in John’s family home), but those of the miniature tank finale are even more laughable than they were in the default 1.66:1 format. Still, it’s a nice extra for buffs.

-- From Quatermass to Caltiki
The always-entertaining Kim Newman talks about Caltiki’s influences, i.e. the gothic and sci-fi horror cycles. In particular, he covers the parallels between Caltiki and The Quatermass Experiment, The Blob and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. As ever, Newman displays a spectacular breath of cinematic knowledge and an infectious, almost boundless enthusiasm in his delivery.

-- Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master
Italian language documentary featuring an interview with critic Stefano Della Casa, who was a friend of Riccardo Freda. He reminisces about the director and his work. It’s mostly talking heads stuff along with a few clips from Caltiki. Stefano rattles through it so rapidly that, as a non-Italian speaker, it is difficult to take in the English-language subtitles that flash by.

-- The Genesis of Caltiki
An interview with Italian genre director Luigi Cozzi taken at his Profundo Rosso sci-fi/horror memorabilia store in Rome. He is full of love for Caltiki, a film he first saw as a child at a “fleapit” that allowed him in despite the film’s X certificate. While much of what he says overlaps with the other material here, he does note the oft-neglected contribution of writer Filippo Sanjust, who reportedly performed a lot of uncredited work on the film’s production design. He also mentions that one of the major issues with creating a monster from tripe was that, after rotting for some time, it drew flies, which was an issue in particular during scenes where it was onscreen with scale models.

-- Stefano Della Casa Introduction
A very brief archival intro by the Italian film critic.

-- U.S. Theatrical Trailer
Caltiki! Caltiki! Caltiki! A wonderful period trailer with that starts off with the narrator repeating the film’s title over and over with an echoplex-style effect.

-- Alternative Opening Titles
The English-language opening narration and titles used for the U.S. release.

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