There are some movies that are so senseless and idiotic you are compelled to get out of your chair and run to the nearest exit. Then are some movies that are still equally foolish but you are compelled to stay until the end credits roll. The Visitor is one of those movies. Made in 1979 and directed by Giulio Paradisi, The Visitor is (supposedly) a psychological thriller about an alien (named Jerzy Colsowicz, played by John Huston) from another planet sent to earth to kill an eight-year old girl. The girl, Katy Collins (Paige Conner), has the essence of an evil being known as Sateen in her genes. We later learn that her mother, Barbara Collins (Joanne Nail), can bear additional children with these genes and a group of humans plan to have Barbara impregnated so she can give birth to a male child. This child will then impregnate Katy so an even more powerful child will be born. So pushing aside the incestuous elements of the plot, trying to understand why anyone would want to kill an eight-year old becomes very easy, very quickly. Katy Collins is a devious, malicious little girl with telekinetic powers she uses to kill, maim and destroy at her pleasure; not to mention she swears and cusses worse than a sailor. The funniest scenes are between Katy and housekeeper Jane Phillips (Shelley Winters) because Katy calls her every possible four letter word under the sun and Jane keeps a straight face throughout.
The scenes, all set in Atlanta, Georgia, in this film will baffle you. For example, Jerzy has chased Katy to the CNN Center, where Katy proceeds to torment a group of local teens as Jerzy tackles trying to get down the escalator from hell. This escalator never seems to end as we repeatedly see Jerzy walking down the escalator but there is no indication that he will ever get off. Meanwhile Katy skates furiously around an ice rink toying with a group of teenage boys who she will eventually attack. The absurdities to do not end with this scene. Katy shooting her mother in the back at her 9th birthday party and saying “oops” is hysterical. Barbara rolling around their apartment in circles as Katy taunts her. Killing a nosy police detective with her pet hawk by poking his eyes out as he drives down a busy road. The list continues to grow for the full hour and 40 minutes. However, you have to remember this film was made in the late 70s by a production company known for ripping off blockbuster films of the period. There appeared to be artist elements added at the last minute, such as the arrival of reinforcements for Jerzy on the roof of an abandoned building. The last film starring John Huston and Shelley Winters was the equally awful Tentacles made in 1977 and a rip-off of Jaws. You must experience this movie with a good audience as talking during the film can only add to the comedy that will unfold before you.
Drafthouse Films released a remastered form in October and plans a VOD and DVD release in January 2014.
- Schlock & Awe: THE VISITOR (nerdist.com)
- 22nd Philadelphia Film Festival: The Visitor Official Trailer