Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER

John Merivale and Didi Sullivan














CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (aka Caltiki, Il mostro immortale/1959). Director: Robert Hampton [Riccardo Freda]. NOTE: Cinematographer Mario Bava is said to have finished directing the film.

In Mexico Dr. John Fielding (John Merivale) and Max Gunter (Gerard Herter) are investigating ancient Mayan ruins with associates, when they come across an underground temple with a pool and a strange flesh-eating mass inside of it. This mass eats away Max's arm and drives him insane (although he was already slightly crazy), and breaks out of containment in a laboratory. This "immortal" menace -- an ageless, legendary and uni-cellular being -- reacts to radiation from a passing comet, and threatens to grow to tremendous size. Caltiki is a fairly entertaining picture even if the monster resembles a writhing, glistening carpet, and it has an exciting climax. Undoubtedly influenced by such earlier films as The Creeping Unknown, Enemy from Space/Quatermass 2 and The Blob, Caltiki was influential in its own right. It's hard to judge the performances due to the dubbing, but the actor who does the voice for Max makes him sound like a sneering Snidley Whiplash even before he loses his mind! Didi Sullivan is Fielding's wife, and Daniela Rocca is Linda, who is madly in love with Max, who continually mistreats her. Max's death scene is a grisly stand-out and the opening scenes in the ruins are rather creepy.

Verdict: As Blob movies go this one isn't bad. **1/2.

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