|THE VISITOR (STRIDULUM) (director: Michael J. Paradise; screenwriters: Lou Comici/Robert Mundy/story by Michael J. Paradise and Ovidio Assonitis; cinematographer: Ennio Guarnieri; editor: Robert Curi; music: Franco Micalizzi; cast: John Huston (Jerzy Colsowicz), Paige Connor (Katy Collins), Mel Ferrer (Dr. Walker), Glenn Ford (Det. Jake Durham ), Joanne Nail (Barbara Collins), Franco Nero (Jesus Christ), Sam Peckinpah (Dr. Sam Collins), Lance Henriksen (Raymond Armstead), Shelley Winters (Jane Phillips); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Ovidio Assonitis; Drafthouse Films; 1979)|
|"Never makes much sense even when
it at times seems to make some sense."
by Dennis Schwartz
this unique Italian horror film, shot in Atlanta,
Georgia, a cult favorite that was supposedly
influenced by video games, visiting aliens, best
represented by the courtly Jersey Colsowicz (John
Huston), from an unnamed world, come to
Earth to bring back one of their own, an 8-year-old
Devil-child, Katy Collins (Paige Connor), who is the
evil mutant alien impregnated into the unaware
Barbara Collins (Joanne Nail).
Once the Visitors get Katy, they plan to remove from
her through their teaching methods the evil urgings
that make her a menace to both the human and alien
TV nature director Michael J. Paradise ("Spaghetti
House"), whose Italian name is Giulio
Paradisi, wrestles with an unwieldy horror film,
that freely borrows from such classics as Rosemary's
Baby, The Birds, The Omen, Close
Encounters Of The Third Kind and, if
you can believe, Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai.
Its plot is too incoherent to undergo scrutiny as a
more serious undertaking other than spoofing the other
horror pics. The story, co-written by Paradise and Ovidio
Assonitis, and scripted by Lou Comici
and Robert Mundy, never makes much sense even when it
at times seems to make some sense. Yet, strangely
enough, it held my interest as an occult film that
revels in its bad taste.
unusual cast has its hands full with this exploitation
film, a drive-in film that is missing logic and goes
with a puzzling story that can never get cleared up.
The film takes us to strange places, seemingly
arbitrarily tossed into the film, with hallucinatory
images to domestic scenes with Shelley Winters
playing a nanny recruited by the Visitors to protect
the evil child and innocent paralyzed mother.
Sam Peckinpah shows up in one scene as the ex-husband
doctor of Barbara, who is asked to perform an abortion
when she is mysteriously impregnated with another
Devil-child on the highway when her car breaks down. Franco
Nero for some reason appears briefly as Jesus
Christ. Glenn Ford plays a detective investigating who
gave Katy a loaded gun for a birthday present, that
resulted in her clumsily shooting mom in the spine,
and the detective departs when attacked by birds who
gouge out his eyes. Lance Henriksen is
Barbara's boyfriend, a big shaker executive and owner
of the Atlanta Hawks, with ties to the creepy Dr.
Walker (Mel Ferrer) and his part (for some unmentioned
reason) of introducing evil alien mutants into the
no story to fall back on, but there are plenty of
nightmarish and surreal scenes to try and let you
figure out what this mess is about. But since the
writers and director are clueless, I wouldn't try too
hard in figuring it out and just let it go as a pic
that wants to be weird rather than understood. If you
can live with that, you might enjoy it as a goofy
REVIEWED ON 7/13/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ