Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 17th, 2017
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
BluRay released: April 10th, 2017 (UK), April 25th, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running time: 76 minutes
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 (Italian Language Track), English SDH (English Language Track)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £24.99 (UK)
Caltiki, the Immortal Monster was co-directed by Riccardo Freda (Tragic Ceremony, Murder Obsession) and Mario Bava (Blood and Black Lace, Rabid Dogs) who’s other contributions to the film include. special effects and cinematography.
Italian cinema has had a long history of cannibalizing genres that were popular at the time and premises from successful films from various countries around the world. And though just about every genre was exploited for all they were worth. For whatever reason, the Sci-Fi genre was the one genre that didn’t find that same level of success.
The premise for 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, then when it comes to the superbly realized special effects.
The performances are best described as serviceable. With the most memorable performance being Gérard Herter (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 a excellent job reinforcing the menacing tone of the film. Standout moments visually include, the scene where the archaeologist go 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 comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a 2k restoration of the film from the original camera negative. Details look crisp, contrast and black levels remain solid throughout.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian with optional English subtitles and a LPCM mono mix in English with optional English SDH subtitles. There is a disclaimer that appears before the film when choosing the English audio option and it details why a English language track had to 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 dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. The Italian audio mix is in great shape, dialog is clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an archival introduction to the film with film critic Stefano Della Casa (21 seconds), the U.S. theatrical trailer for the film (2 minutes 2 seconds), an alternate opening titles for the US version (2 minutes 24 seconds), an archival interview with filmmaker Luigi Cozzi titled The Genesis of Caltiki (21 minutes 33 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with Stefano Della Casa titled Riccardo Freda, Forgotten Master (19 minutes 5 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with author and film critic Kim Newman titled From Quatermass to Caltiki (18 minutes 13 seconds) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark and the second audio commentary with author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava and So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo.
Topics discussed in the interview with Luigi Cozzi include, background information about Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, Italian Sci-Fi cinema and information about the company production company / distributer Lux Film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Stefano Della Casa include, AIP, Hammer Films, Universal monster movies and Godzilla’s influence on Sci-Fi / Horror cinema, how Italian Horror films differ from their U.S. counterparts, Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava, his thoughts about Caltiki, the Immortal Monster and the critical reappraisal of Riccardo Freda’s legacy as a filmmaker.
Topics discussed in the interview with Kim Newman include, the influence of Universal monster movies on Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, why Sci-Fi cinema did not translate as well as other genres in regards to Italian cinema’s cloning of whatever was popular at the time, his thoughts about Italian Sci-Fi cinema and his thoughts about Caltiki, the Immortal Monster.
Other extras include, an alternate presentation for Caltiki, the Immortal Monster that presents the film in its full aperture. How this version differs from the other version included as part of this release. This alternate unmated versions 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-six-page booklet with cast & 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. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Caltiki, the Immortal Monster gets an exceptional release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.
Screenshots for the alternate version included with this release