The Visitor (1979)

aka Stridulum
Article 4738 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-17-2015
Directed by Giulio Paradisi
Featuring Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen
Country: USA / Italy
What it is: Contortionistic tale of good vs. evil

An eight year old girl embodies an evil alien force, and evil men want her mother (who carries the genetic code) to become pregnant and give birth to a brother for the child. However, a cosmic savior from another world seeks to prevent the evil from taking hold on the Earth.

If you can somehow imagine an amalgamation of THE OMEN, THE BIRDS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND filtered through a fever dream that encompasses such elements as an exploding basketball, a creepy mechanical talking bird, a strangely choreographed fight scene in a skating rink, and lots of broken glass (especially during a house of mirrors sequence), you might have a chance of preparing yourself for this outlandish American/Italian co-production. The fact that it’s peopled with quite a few name stars (on top of those listed above, we also have John Huston, Shelley Winters and Sam Peckinpah) just makes it weirder. Still, I don’t find it quite as incoherent as some people claim; if you’re playing close attention, you have something of an idea of what’s going on. It is stylishly directed, and some of the scenes look wonderful. On the down side, some of the scenes look pretty cheesy, and given the choice, I would redo the musical score, which is sometimes way too bombastic for its own good. I don’t know how I feel about the movie yet; I’m not quite sure that I can call it a good movie, though it is a fascinating one to watch. I do, however, think that it deserves better than it’s current 4.6 rating on IMDB, and there’s enough here to make me think that it is worth a second viewing.


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