Monday, November 11, 2013

“It Gives Me the Scary Creeps” — The Bold Experiment in Confusion That Is The Visitor

Last week, I watched a Cinefamily screening of The Visitor, a 1979 film-like thing that stars John Huston, Shelley Winters, Glen Ford, Sam Peckinpah and the original Django for no reason that I can tell. It’s a good cast, yes, but the film itself is the kind of mess that results when the director gets fired and then the producer is threatened at gunpoint to not only hire the director back but also give him carte blanche to complete the film in whatever fashion his whackadoodle brain chooses. (That’s the story related to the audience at the beginning of the screening, allegedly shared by the original screenwriter.) At the time The Visitor hit American cinemas, critics accused it of ripping off both The Omen and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but I can’t imagine director Michael J. Paradise saw either of these films nor any other film ever, because this thing defies description — and not in a good way.

Check out the Drafthouse Films trailer:


And here’s a fan-made trailer:


Both prepare you for the kind of surreal, flashy Italian horror movie that I usually go nuts for, but what the trailers don’t tell you is that The Visitor is kind of a piece of shit. After the first half-hour, the visuals can no longer make up for a plot that herka-jerks from a confusing beginning to confusing ending. You wonder what’s going on, then you stop wondering, and then you’re just sitting there, watching characters act without explanation or any clear motive. I stopped caring how weird it got — and yeah, I’m surprised that I just typed that too — because the film’s weirdness never outmatched its suckiness.

It boasts some decent visuals, I’ll admit, and I like the art used to promote its various international releases, even if it promises some sort of galactical, city-destroying eyeball monster that doesn’t appear in the film in any way whatsoever. So here is my public service to the world: I’m going to post all the grabby stills and posters I can find. These plus the two trailers posted above equals an overall more pleasant (and less lengthy) experience than you’d have if you actually sat down and watched The Visitor.

via
via
via

via

via
via
via
via
via
via
via
via

via
via
via
This last one I actually love. I want to watch the movie that this art represents. I’d also hang this on my wall if I could. I only wish I could find a bigger, higher-resolution version.

Oh, and here’s a random scene I found during my online rummaging. It’s about as representative of the tone of the film as anything else.


You’re welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Uh, the film is not that confusing or hard to follow. It's a bit over-ambitious, and does wear its influences on its sleeve (Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, Carrie) but it is far from "the piece of shit" you so intelligently refer to it as. While not a perfect film by far, it's always engaging, visually daring and endearing loopy.

    That's the trouble with these blogs: they make any half-witted Joe feel like a film critic, and tend to just rehash the same misconceptions every other crap blog is spewing. Thankfully, The Visitor's recent theatrical run and Blu-ray release is doing a lot to bring it the recognition it deserves.

    ReplyDelete