The Visitor  (1979)

Octoblur 2015 - #12: The Visitor (1979)

 
By dorrk, October 11th 2015
Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.

Like the fun The Miami Connection and the amazing Roar, The Visitor is another intriguing oddity that's been rescued from obscurity and restored by Drafthouse Films, and is now aggressively staking its claim in the "worst movie ever made" sweepstakes. Like an artwork created in different medium and then run through a shoddy automated translation script, The Visitor takes elements from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Omen, The Exorcist and The Birds, but with no effort to make these disparate influences work together.

John Huston stars as some kind of space angel (named "Yaweh") who is sent to Earth by a space Jesus (Franco Nero) to neutralize an 8-year-old girl who is the half-spawn of the evil escaped prisoner "Sateen" (are you getting the religious connotations here?). This girl, Katy (Paige Connor, who looks suspiciously like Linda Blair), is a pretty intense brat, especially when her eyes turn silver and she taps into her telekinetic powers to do things like make basketball hoops explode, or make birds attack cops, or annoy boys at the ice skating rink.

Even though the plot is laid out by space Jesus in the opening 10 minutes, The Visitor is astonishingly incoherent for the remainder, as none of the characters' words or actions seem to align with their intended purposes. Huston casually lurks around as Katy wreaks all kinds of havoc and rarely seems bothered by it. Katy seems evil, but she has no compelling objective beyond emotionally exhausting (and kind of shooting) her resilient mother (Joanne Nail). Lance Henriksen is appointed by an unexplained cabal of businessmen to do something with Katy and her mother, and fails at it, but what it is and how he doesn't do it is never clear. Glenn Ford investigates nothing by peeking through windows. Sam Peckinpah makes weird hand gestures. Mel Ferrer is there for some reason. Who? What? When? Where? Why? The Visitor is not concerned with such mundane questions. Shelley Winters, as a sassy maid, at least slaps the shit out of Katy, offering the audience a rare relatable moment.

The Visitor looks pretty great at times, with some neat visual concepts — the opening sequence is stunning despite the lousy effects — but unlike director of photography Ennio Guarnieri, director Giulio Paradisi (credited as Michael J. Paradise) and his team of shocking screenwriters (Luciano Comici, Robert Mundi and Ovidio G. Assonitis) show a complete lack of aptitude their jobs. As horror movie, The Visitor is pretty disappointing with only a couple of genre-worthy scenes; but as a normal movie, it's a complete wreck — with a gonzo ending featuring the single worst "bird" effect in cinema history — and that counts for something.

Great lesser-known horror movies

Fun, weird & dark corners worth exploring.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

The Johnsons (1992)

The Johnsons (1992)

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

Little Otik (2001)

Little Otik (2001)

Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell (1980)

Orphan (2009)

Orphan (2009)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (2014)

The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Dorrk's Top 20 horror movies

The boring list of horror essentials. If you haven't seen these yet, what are you doing?
The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

The Omen (1976)

The Omen (1976)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Trailer for the Visitor (1979)

Beware: Galleries may contain spoilers.
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The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher