The Visitor 1979

The Mount Everest of insane “70s Italian movies.”

Many folks know I am a huge fan of 1970s cult classics and not just in the horror genre. I got to see many more movies than most kids my age because I was a latchkey kid. My mom often worked two jobs and therefore was not home at night, and my stepfather was a logger and was in camp five days a week. In my British Columbia hometown, there were two places to see movies: the Paramount Theater and the Chilliwack Drive-in. At the Paramount theater, they ran two films simultaneously, and luck would have it, I knew the Usher. He was a friend of my older brother. So, I might buy a ticket for Disney’s “Gus,” but I was going to the see movies like The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon, Mash, Rosemary’s Baby, and Easy Rider. Those early days in the 70s cemented my love for movies, and during this time, there was a new breed of filmmakers. The stuff they were writing was taking real chances, pushing boundaries, with nudity and narratives that were not cookie-cutter. Sometimes good did not prevail. There was a grittiness to many of the movies, and I say that with admiration. I think director Quentin Tarantino has spent his career emulating the magic that happened in film during that era.

There were so many fantastic movies from that era.

Then there was this crazy dog.

The 1979 film “The Visitor,” starring Lance Henriksen, is a bizarre blend of science fiction, horror, and supernatural elements. Directed by Giulio Paradisi, the movie follows the story of a cosmic entity that descends to Earth, taking the form of a young girl with telekinetic powers. Lance Henriksen is an investigator drawn into the web of mysterious occurrences surrounding the girl. As the narrative unfolds, it delves into themes of otherworldly forces, familial secrets, and the battle between good and evil.

The lineup of talent in this movie is crazy. Directors John Huston and Sam Peckinpah join the cast, including Franco Nero, Shelley Winters, and veteran actor Glenn Ford. The story line is so far out I wonder if this was just the result of some mescaline-induced actor-director’s retreat where Peckinpah, Huston, and Ford also dropped acid and were talked into doing this project. Drafthouse Films picked up The Visitor (1979), remastered it, and re-released it in High Definition.

You must see The Visitor to either appreciate or hate it, but at least check out the trailer, also in HD.

That in itself is a hoot.