Explorers trying to find why the Mayan people just disappeared find a movie camera and discover that the previous exploring party met with disaster, but cannot see why on the film.
They explore a lake and awaken an ancient god named Caltiki. The monster is a huge blob of goop that eats human flesh and leaves the bones. John Merivale is Prof. Fielding who leads the expedition. Along for the trip are his wife Ellen (Didi Sullivan), Max Gunther (Gerard Herter) and Max's lover Linda played by the gorgeous Daniela Rocca.
As the men try and escape Caltiki Max goes back after some treasure and has his arm attacked by the monster. Fielding cuts off part of the monster and they escape. Fielding kills the monster, but part of it is still attached to Max's arm. he is rushed to the hospital.
There we see, for the time, some very graphic footage of Max's skeletal arm after the flesh has been dissolved. This leaves max in a very unstable mental condition which gets worse. Fielding keeps the sample of the monster in order to experiment on it and see if he can help Max.
Before you know it a strange comet is passing the Earth and the low amount of radiation it carries revives Caltiki and the small monster sample starts growing into a huge creature and dividing into many such blobs.
This is a film that Riccardo Freda directed some of and Mario Bava did most of the work including the effects scenes. These two Italian masters of cinema has left us with a great, one of a kind monster movie that never fails to impress.
There are some very heavy Gothic elements here, especially in the opening scenes and they have the unmistakable Bava touch. Scenes of the monster killing people are graphic and bloody for the time and back in 1959 must have really gave people the shudders.
This film was first introduced to me in 1977 on KWGN TV from Denver and I swear they used to play it every month. The Blu-Ray presentation is one of the best I have ever seen!!! Arrow has given us a pristine print of a wonderful film.
There are tons of extras including commentary from Tim Lucas, Italian and English soundtracks, commentary from Troy Howarth, author of The Haunted World Of Mario Bava, a discussion with Kim Newman called From Quatermass to Caltiki, An archival interview with critic Stefano Della Casa about Riccardo Freda, Trailers and a very cool 35 page booklet about the film.
To me, this film deserves this kind of treatment as it is a glorious memory from childhood. I get just as enthralled watching it today as I did 40 years ago. I have always been a fan of Daniela Rocca and she looks so damn gorgeous here. Her real life was tragic, but she never looked better in a film than here.
This very well could be THE release of the year. VERY, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!