The Visitor (1979)


Hubrisween is a yearly event, in which several bloggers review horror and monster movies in alphabetical order leading up to Halloween. During this period, the Web of the Big Damn Spider will suspend its usual policy of focusing exclusively on spider-related materials in order to have enough content to participate. Regular eight-legged posting will return in November.
This title screen is too sedate and normal for this movie.

This title screen is too sedate and normal for this movie.

Directed by Giulio Paradisi
Written by Luciano Comici and Robert Mundi
Story by Giulio Paradisi and Ovidio G. Assonitis
Starring John Huston, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, Barbara Collins, Lance Henriksen, and Paige Conner

The Visitor is a movie that defies summarization. You can say that it is about a space angel coming to Earth to take a daughter of Satan to space Jesus for reform school, but that doesn’t get across a fraction of the crazy sauce that this movie has to offer. Lance Henriksen claimed that rewrites came in every day, to the point where nobody knew what the film was about anymore. I believe it, since it certainly plays out that way. Very few scenes seem to be connected outside of the reappearance of core actors. Then there’s the problem that nothing which happens during the majority of the film matters in any way to the conclusion. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The film starts by telling us about the evils of Sateen, who will not be appearing in this film. We then see a basketball game. The owner of one team turns out to be Lance Henriksen. His money came from a secret organization that’s wants him to have a son with his girlfriend (Barbara Collins). She can bear children with the powers of Sateen, and her daughter already exhibits telekinetic abilities. The cult wants a breeding pair of Sateen spawn, which they somehow believe they’ll be able to control.

The only part of any of that which matters is that there’s a girl with major power.

Shelley Winters masquerades as a housekeeper to keeps tabs on the girl for another unnamed organization. She scolds and threatens and even slaps the girl, but it’s never relevant. Also not important is the detective that is trying to solve the “accidental” shooting of her mother. Nor are the people focusing their mental energies on a rooftop at the request of John Huston, space angel.

None of these people matter.

None of these people matter.

The only thing that matters — and you’ll want to skip over this if you want to save the anti-climax for your own viewing pleasure — is that John Huston sits down to play pong with the devil child. Yup. That’s it. That’s the final confrontation between good and evil. Pong. Okay, there are a few magic bolts and demon eyes, but basically after playing a video and deciding she can’t beat the angel, she surrenders and goes to Space Jesus Camp.

I love this movie. It’s awful, and it’s stupid, and things happen for no reason, and I love it for that. Every few minutes it’s a whole new set piece in which something horrible occurs. It’s a pre-1980s movie that’s made for the “MTV generation” of short attention spans and senseless visuals. You can pop this in at a party, knowing that nobody will miss anything by not paying attention but everyone will be rewarded for watching bits of it. Heck, make it a game to see if the group can reconstruct the plot from the different fragments they saw. It’s a goddamn treasure to have a movie like this that is better for being such totally entertaining crap.

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