Director: Giulio Paradisi
Cast: John Huston, Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Franco Nero, Sam Peckinpah, Joanne Nail, Paige Conner
Rated R | 101 Minutes
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Directed by Giulio Paradisi, 1979’s The Visitor stars legendary Hollywood director/actor John Huston (The Maltese Falcon; Treasure Of The Sierra Madre) as an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure (Franco Nero) in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl and her pet hawk.
Restored and presented uncut for the first time ever in the U.S. by Drafthouse Films, The Visitor is a ’70s psychedelic mindwarp complete with vicious bird attacks, multi-dimensional warfare and pre-adolescent profanity. Somewhere between Hell, the darkest reaches of the universe, and Atlanta, GA, the fate of the cosmos hangs in the balance.
The Visitor fuses elements of The Omen, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Birds, Rosemary’s Baby, The Fury, and even Star Wars, creating the most ambitious, insane film you’ve ever seen. Basically, Space Jesus sends an emissary named Jerzy (Huston) to Earth to capture Katy (Paige Conner), a little girl with superhuman abilities. Meanwhile, evil space aliens are trying to get Katy’s mother (Joanne Nail) pregnant so that she will give birth to the antichrist, another super-kid they can use to destroy the human race.
How did a movie this batshit crazy manage to stay off the radar for so long? I find it hard to believe The Visitor even exists – it feels more like a schizophrenic fever dream brought on by a brain-pickling concoction of cocaine, LSD, PCP, and Mountain Dew than an actual film. It’s a confusing shambles of a movie, with scenes that feel like outtakes from other films, but The Visitor is still worth viewing as a curiosity – an experimental mishmash of popular cinema that refuses to make sense.
I’m convinced that The Visitor is a film made by extraterrestrials who, upon watching several of Earth’s grindhouse flicks, decided to make an incoherent assault of light and sound that could be used to brainwash us. Thank God this film never caught on, or else the human race would be enslaved by space aliens – caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle with Space Jesus and telekinetic demon-kids.
This film’s cast is absurd. I’ve already mentioned Huston and Nero, but The Visitor also stars Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Glenn Ford (Superman), Shelley Winters (Night of the Hunter), and director Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch). What the hell!? Did a telekinetic super-baby will this movie into existence, casting it like one would draft a fantasy football team? You will shake your head in disbelief throughout this bizarre, psychedelic flick wondering just how all the pieces fell into place.
Restored and uncut, The Visitor is enjoying a limited theatrical run thanks to Drafthouse Films. For a list of theaters, click here. If the film isn’t playing near you, you can experience the madness in the comfort of your own home when Paradisi’s film hits DVD and Blu-Ray in early 2014.
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