The Visitor (1979)

The Visitor (1979) movie poster

director Giulio Paradisi
viewed: 07/22/2014

1979’s The Visitor is truly bananamas.  The poster, above, certainly offers some wonder and awe, as if The Residents have gone on a murder spree.  But apropos of nothing the poster truly is.

What The Visitor really is, essentially, is a weird sort of knock-off of The Omen (1976), a little Rosemary’s Baby (1968), but instead of “the devil”, we’ve got malignant alien children so sprinkle in a little Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and very little of that.  Well, that gives you the film’s “scenario”, roughly.

The thing is filmed in and around Atlanta, GA, offering no doubt an interesting time capsule of the place.  The evil child is played by Paige Conner, who has a genuine Southern accent.  But it’s the litany of pretty famous people that populate this very weird movie that give this Italian/American production an even more unusual gravitas.  It’s got two major auteurs in it.  It stars John Huston and features a cameo by Sam Peckinpah of all people.  It also has Shelley Winters, Glen Ford, Lance Hendrikson, Mel Ferrer, and Franco Nero.

Frankly, any description that I can conjure is going to fail to do it justice.  The film was recently rescued from obscurity by Drafthouse Films, given a restoration treatment and a theatrical run.  I found it myself on TMC on demand.  I can’t recommend it enough to those who appreciate weird cinema.

There are so many strange things going on in the film, I can’t fully glom onto any one key image.  The film is actually kind of beautifully shot.  It’s no hack job despite its rather nonsensical approach to this crazy concept of interdimensional alien beings of good and evil, battling for Earth via this evil child from ???

Dude, if you even have an inkling, see it.  Don’t read more.  Just see it.  You’ll be very pleased you did.

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