Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Italy)

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Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Italy)

Post  BoG on Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:06 pm

directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava (also photography) / 76 m. B&W
Il Mostro Immortale! as they say in Italy. This followed the path taken by the American The Blob (1958); England also tread this ground a little earlier, with one of the Quatermass films, the Creeping Unknown (1955) and X the Unknown (1956). I became curious about this Caltiki film after it was mentioned elsewhere (in a write-up for Planet of the Vampires, also directed by Mario Bava). I don't think I've ever seen it before, even as a kid a long time ago on TV. I managed to acquire it at a video site specializing in old sci-fi/horror films, The Sci-Fi Station:
Caltiki takes place in Mexico, starting at an old Mayan temple. Archaeologists there stumble onto some treasure but also uncover the Blob-like Caltiki. Unlike the tamer Blob, this doesn't shy away from showing people being reduced to skeletons (and in realistic fashion). On the other hand, this Caltiki thing is easier to destroy: whereas the Blob could be frozen, Caltiki can be defeated with fire.

A piece of this thing attaches to the arm of one of the characters (not much left of the arm, by the way) and the action switches to the Mexico City region. Only, there's not too much action; the middle section of this film drags and there's a prolonged search for the guy who was scarred & injured by Caltiki - the guy is rapidly losing his mind, though he was something of an ass even before he was attacked. This sequence sort of copies parts of The Creeping Unknown (to me, at least) but is just dull.

The real action kicks in with the passing of a comet, which affects the remaining small parts of Caltiki, causing them to grow. There's also an interesting scene with scientists who discover how really old Caltiki is. Mario Bava's cinematography is suitably atmospheric, with most of the action in the dark but just enough clarity not to be confusing - just chilling. Keep these blob-things away from me! BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
See also Phantoms (1998), adapted from the novel by Dean Koontz.

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