APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Caltiki – The Immortal Monster (1959)

April 25: Bava Forever — Bava died on this day 43 years ago. Let’s watch his movies.

After the success of Hercules, Galatea Film began production on films made for the international market. They hired Riccardo Freda to make this movie, but he left before it was done, supposed to allow Mario Bava — the cinematographer and special effects artist on this — the opportunity to direct and earn more money. This same situation — Freda leaving and Bava finishing the movie — also happened during I Vampiri (The Devil’s Commandment)

There are different stories over who did what. Freda told Luigi Cozzi that he “left it when there were just two days of shooting left. I did shoot it yes, but it’s Bava’s type of film. I don’t enclose it in my body of work. The only thing I remember with pleasure about it are the statues that decorated the sets: I sculpted them myself,” while Bava referred to this as his first film and claimeed that Freda left the movie”because everything was falling to pieces. I managed to carry it out, patching it up here and there.”

Cozzi would come back to this interview thirty years later, setting the record straight by stating that “the director of Calitiki il mostro immortale is Riccardo Freda, full stop. Mario Bava did take care of the cinematography, the special effects and directed the scenes with the miniatures (that is, mostly the tanks….) and in addition to that he filmed some shots of soldiers with flame throwers. That’s all, and of course it cannot be enough to say that Bava directed that movie.” That said, in the last two or three weeks of filming, Bava directed and shot over 100 special effects shots.

Honestly, the answer depends on who you ask and when you ask them.

A group of archarologists discover a large statue of Caltiki, a supposed Mayan goddess who demanded human sacrifices. When one of them descends into a pool, he finds skeletons covered in gold and jewels. He keeps going back for more before he’s melted into a skeleton himself.

Now, Caltiki is a made up deity. But man, who cares, because soon a blob like creature emerges and tries to devour everyone. The monster was created from cloth and tripe, which is the stomach of a cow. It made a horrific smell, so no one wanted to be around it.

Anyhow, the blob-like organism attaches itself to one man’s arm and, of course, replicates and feeds on radiation. It’s about to have a buffet, because a radioactive comet that last appeared in our orbit during the time of the Mayans is about to come back and every little blob will become gigantic unless the smart brains in this can figure something out. How do you destroy a blob in the world of this movie? Flamethrowers. It’s that simple.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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