By: Addison Wylie
Drafthouse Films has taken Giulio Paradisi’s director’s cut to his very strange 1979 sci-fi flick The Visitor and are unleashing it to the public in a newly remastered mode.
There are a lot of uncanny compositions of malificent behaviour that especially punch out. These set a tone incredibly fast and have the power to make you immediately feel at unease. Confusion runs rampant throughout The Visitor, and for the most part, it’s that type of bewilderment that slowly drags you in like being caught in a cinematic tractor beam.
The Visitor is one of those movies where the kooky story gets so tangled up in itself, as a critic you think, “boy, how am I going to explain this one?” It’s hard to even fathom someone making a film as “out there” as this one.
Miraculously, The Visitor can be easily summed up as a film that is clearly a product of The Exorcist. Instead of a terrifying demon though, movie goers get a telekinetic presumptuous “sweetie” who has a partnership with her enforcing hawk.
I’m sure Paradisi was trying to scare audiences with his warped work, but The Visitor hasn’t aged well. Although, those sudden attacks by that vicious hawk are so loud, you’ll be forced to leap out of your seat.
I was able to ride with The Visitor for a while before being turned off from the film altogether. Without a shadow of a doubt, Drafthouse Films is trying to rev up some sort of “Midnight Madness” spectacle with this bizarre-o movie, and there’s enough content in The Visitor to market the film like that to modern day audiences.
The perplexment Paradisi has envisioned and materialized on screen grabs our interest out of sheer insanity, and the violence is dumbfounding. It’s the right type of abnormality that’s able to gather both baffled laughs out of its audience and snickers out of their discomfort.
The Visitor, like most of these attempts to throw audiences back into a trashy era of filmmaking, starts to droop when everything is wrapping up. And, those influences towards The Exorcist start reading as straight rip offs. The director’s cut is close to two hours, and some of this fatigued slack could’ve easily been tightened had the film been cut by 20-30 minutes.
The Visitor is not a full-on recommendation from me, but it does provide you with a foolproof drinking game. Whenever the film gets too crazy to handle, take a drink. When the movie hits a halting lull, take another drink. You’ll be proper smashed by the credit crawl as you hum The Visitor’s funky Stridulum theme.
The Visitor will have its Canadian premiere in Toronto at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and screen from December 30 – January 1. The film will return for a 11:30pm screening at The Royal on January 10.