Blu-ray Review – Caltiki: The Immortal Monster – Arrow Video

Caltiki: The Immortal Monster

Director: Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava 

Screenplay: Filippo Sanjust and Riccardo Freda

Minutes: 76

Year: 1959

Score: 6.73

Release: Arrow Video

There are two names which immediately jump out at me when I think if Italian horror/sci-fi flicks, Dario Argento and Mario Bava. There are more, they may be better, but these two are the tops.


Arrow Video presents a collaboration between two giants of Italian cult cinema – Riccardo Freda (The Vampires, The Horrible Dr Hichcock) and Mario Bava (5 Dolls for an August Moon, Blood and Black Lace)!

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.

Though Riccardo Freda received sole directing credit, a significant portion of the film was in fact the work of Mario Bava, who also served as its cinematographer and was responsible its striking special effects. Drawing on a diverse array of influences, from The Quatermass Experiment to the works of HP Lovecraft, Caltiki the Immortal Monster is a unique and unforgettable sci-fi chiller which showcases these two legendary filmmakers at their most inventive. Presented here for the first time in a newly restored high definition transfer, Caltiki shines – and terrifies! – like never before.

As per the above description Bava’s direction was not credited but, to my eyes, his fingerprint is pretty clear. I would love to see an Arrow set similar to the Hershel Gordon Lewis collection, it is not possible, but I would snatch that up in a heartbeat.

Bava’s mastery of shadows and light are on full display here and this sharp black and white feature. You can watch the film youtube right now and come back to call me a liar. At which point I would direct you to this Blu-ray and you will have to come back to apologize.

The film itself it pretty goofy but it deserves to be watched over and over again and I very highly recommend the film for sci-fi buffs, or fans of the directors. Or anyone who loves movies for what they were rather than what they are. I file this film alongside Carnival of Souls, it is only a masterpiece to a small group, but that group may just take a bullet for a high quality transfer.

Special Features

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark
  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava and So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
  • From Quatermass to Caltiki, a new discussion with author and critic Kim Newman on the influence of classic monster movies on Caltiki
  • Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master, an archival interview with critic Stefano Della Casa
  • The Genesis of Caltiki, an archival interview with filmmaker Luigi Cozzi
  • Archival introduction to the film by Stefano Della Casa
  • Alternate opening titles for the US version
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

Director: 8 – Cinematography: 9 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 8 – Sound: 5 – Story: 6 – Script: 7 – Effects: 8 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 7 – Keeps interest: 9 – Lasting: 10