Caltiki – The Immortal Monster
|Caltiki – The Immortal Monster|
|Directed by||Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hamton)
Mario Bava (uncredited)
|Produced by||Sam Schneider
|Written by||Filippo Sanjust (as Philip Just)|
|Music by||Roberto Nicolosi (as Robert Nicholas)
|Cinematography||Mario Bava (as John Foam)|
|Edited by||Salvatore Billitteri|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists|
|8 August 1959|
Caltiki – The Immortal Monster (Italian: Caltiki – il mostro immortale) is a 1959 Italian science fiction horror film directed by Riccardo Freda. The plot concerns a team of archaeologists investigating Mayan ruins who come across a blob-like monster. They manage to destroy it with fire while keeping a sample of the monster. Meanwhile, a comet is due to pass close to Earth, the same comet which passed near the Earth at the time the Mayan civilization mysteriously collapsed. The film proposes the question "Is there a connection between the monster and the comet?"
The film begins as a delirious archaeologist stumbles into his group's camp without his partner, both of whom having been exploring a cave. He becomes mad, requiring hospitalization. Their interest piqued, the group sets out for the cave.
Upon reaching the cave, they find a deep pool of water, behind which is a large statue of Caltiki, the vengeful Mayan goddess who had been ceremonially presented with human sacrifices. Hoping to find artifacts, the group sends one of their numbers down into the pool. At the bottom, he finds a menagerie of skeletons clad in gold jewelry. Running out of oxygen, he comes back up, clutching as much gold as he can. Although the group wishes him to not go down again, he insists on doing so, suggesting that they could become millionaires from the wealth below. Relenting to him, they let him descend once more. As he collects more and more treasure, his cable to the surface suddenly writhes erratically. Fearing for his safety, the group pulls him back to the surface, only to find, upon removing his face mask, his body reduced to a decayed mass distended about his skeleton.
Moments later, the monster that attacked him rears up from the pool, attempting to digest anyone near. One of the group is caught, but is then rescued. As the team escapes, the monster begins to crawl out of the cave menacingly. Luckily, there is a tanker truck full of gasoline nearby that the main character drives into the vile blob. It explodes violently, vanquishing it.
The team travels back to Mexico City to take the man who had been caught by the monster to a hospital. Still on his arm is a small piece of the monster that had come apart from the main blob and is still digesting him. When the surgeons remove the blob, they find that his arm is nothing more than a few moist scraps of flesh still connected to his bones. The surgeons wrap it up anyway. After further experimenting on the blob, scientists later discover that it is a unicellular bacterium that quickly grows when in the presence of radiation. Unfortunately, a comet that emits radiation and crosses Earth's path only once in every 850 years or so is quickly approaching. Upon the comet's closest approach, the piece of the blob that the main character (Dr. John Fielding) left in his house with his wife and infant expands to enormous size and reproduces.
Dr. John Fielding attempts to convince the Mexican government to send its army to destroy the beast, but is then thrown in jail. Fortunately, he escapes. A colleague convinces the authorities that the monster and its threat are real and sends regiments of flame-throwing tanks to Fielding's house. Upon their arrival, they find that the blobs have overrun the house and Dr. Fielding's wife and child are desperately standing on a second-floor window ledge. The mother and child are rescued by Dr. Fielding as the flame-throwing tanks lay waste to the blob monsters.
Nominal director Riccardo Freda claims that he abandoned the film so that future director Mario Bava, who he knew would be a good director, had the chance to direct. Bava's first screen credit as director was the 1960 classic Black Sunday.
Allmovie gave the film a generally positive review, calling it "a neat and compelling science fiction-horror amalgam, squeezing cosmology together with archeology and myth to create a genuinely fascinating and original thriller."
- John Merivale as Dr. John Fielding
- Didi Perego as Ellen Fielding
- Gérard Herter as Max Gunther
- Daniela Rocca as Linda
- Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as Prof. Rodriguez's assistant
- Daniele Vargas as Bob (expedition member)
- Vittorio André as Prof. Rodriguez
- Nerio Bernardi as Police inspector
- Arturo Dominici as Nieto (expedition member)
- "Did You Know?". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Bruce Eder. "Caltiki - Il Mostro Immortale (1959)". Allmovie. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Caltiki – The Immortal Monster at the Internet Movie Database
- Caltiki – The Immortal Monster at AllMovie