07th Oct2014

‘The Visitor’ Blu-ray Review (Arrow Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Mel Ferrer, Paige Conner, Shelley Winters, Lance Henriksen, John Huston, Sam Peckinpah, Glenn Ford, Joanne Nail, Wallace Wilkinson | Written by Louciano Comici, Robert Mundi | Directed by Giulio Paradisi

the-visitor-blu

Some films just defy explanation, even to the point that to some people they are just a mess.  These films are often labelled as bad, yet they tend to build up a legend around them and gain a cult status just for the insanity you see on the screen.  The Visitor is a film that was made with The Exorcist very much on the mind of its makers, but what we end up with is something truly…special.

Looking at the IMDB page for The Visitor the description of the film states that John Huston stars as an intergalactic warrior.  This warrior comes to Earth at the request of a Jesus-like character to battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl (Paige Conner) and a pet hawk all for the safety of the universe.  I think that is a pretty good description that says everything you need to know.

The most impressive thing about Paige Conner’s portrayal of Katy Collins is that she plays an evil little brat very well.  She is foul-mouthed, violent and all out evil, though her mother appears to be undecided on that fact.  She voices her concerns many times, but when confronted by Jane the housekeeper (Shelley Winters) on how evil the child actually is, she defends her daughter as being just a normal little girl.  If normal is to shoot your mom, threaten to kill her numerous times and generally be a demonic child, then maybe she is? Raymond Armstead (Lance Henriksen) and the shady company he works for appear to be happy with her actions though, but they are on the side of evil.  The fact his job is to produce more demonic children from the mother just adds to the chaos.

Perhaps one of the oddest things about The Visitor is the stars the movie seems to have attracted.  Lance Henriksen may have not been a big star when he appeared in The Visitor, he is now and will of course attract many people to the movie.  Add to his name actors John Huston, Sam Peckinpah, Glenn Ford and Shelley Winters (and others) and there is a high star quotient present there.  In ways this may have been what attracted the original audiences to see the film, only to be left confused as to what they were presented with.  These actors did exactly what the film needed though and put in performances that do provide some credibility to what we see, even in the chaos.  Paige Conner has to be praised for her portrayal as the demon child, and Joanne Nail does a good as the long-suffering mother.

It is easy to tell why Arrow Video have picked this movie to release on Blu-ray, it is everything that a cult movie is expected to be though it is not the best picture quality I’ve seen from Arrow Video.  There are only a few interviews on the disc for the special features but these interviews with Lance Henriksen, screenwriter Lou Comici and cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri are very informative and just show how crazy the film was, both in front of camera and behind.  Listening to Henriksen is the highlight really, as his reminisces about what sounded to be a very confusing time in his career.  Look out for an Easter Egg on the special features menu too for an extra tale, though to access it it’s more about a bird than an egg.

The Visitor is very much a cult oddity that won’t work for many people.  I watched it for this first time on this Blu-ray and will confess to being very confused.  After watching the interviews though and giving the film another go I found myself laughing and realising just how crazy the film is.  The final product may not be exactly what people expected, but for a cult audience who like their strange b-movies that make no sense at all The Visitor is perfect.

**** 4/5

The Visitor is available on dual format Blu-ray and DVD now from Arrow Video.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek 
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