Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 2nd, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / USA, 1979
Director: Giulio Paradisi
Writers: Ovidio G. Assonitis, Luciano Comici, Robert Mundi, Giulio Paradisi
Cast: Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, John Huston, Joanne Nail, Sam Peckinpah, Shelley Winters, Paige Conner
BluRay released: October 6th, 2014
Approximate running times: 109 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
The Visitor was directed by Giulio Paradisi under the pseudonym Michael J. Paradise. The screenplay was co-written by the film’s producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, who’s other notable film’s include Beyond the Door, Laure, Tentacles and Madhouse. The cinematographer on The Visitor was Ennio Guarnieri, who’s other notable films include Camille 2000, A Brief Vacation and Dr. Jekyll Likes Them Hot. The score for The Visitor was composed by Franco Micalizzi, who’s other notable scores include Beyond the Door, Laure, Syndicate Sadists, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Violent Naples.
One thing that Italian genre / exploitation film’s from the 1970’s cannot be accused of is lack of inspiration. There ability to stretch anemic budgets and make it appear that they had twice the budget to work with, was second to none. Case in point The Visitor a supernatural / Sci-Fi hybrid that uses the age old battle of good versus evil as its foundation. The plot revolves around a young girl named Katy who’s telekinetic powers puts her in the line of fire of the aforementioned power struggle. The most compelling aspect of the film’s is the evolution of the Katy character as she becomes more aware of her powers and the choices she makes. One of the more memorable moments in which Katy uses her telekinetic powers. Is a scene where she is at a ice skating ring and when her actions annoy some older boys who are also skating. She embraces her darker side as she toys with them.
From a production stand point the direction, pacing and performances from the entire cast all very good. Especially Page Conner in the role of Katy. The cast features many recognizable names like John Huston (Chinatown), Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Mel Ferrer (Blood and Roses), Glenn Ford (The Big Heat), Shelley Winters (The Night of the Hunter) and Franco Nero (Django) in the role of Jesus Christ. Most of Franco Nero’s performance was excised from the original U.S. release. This release restores all footage that was excised from the original U.S. release.
Though some of the events that take place in this film are far fetched and may leave some viewers scratching their heads. The plot is actually pretty straight forward when you look past the smoke and mirrors. Hopefully now that this film is finally available in its full length version. It can be viewed with fresh eyes and maybe reach the audience that has to date alluded it.
The Visitor comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This transfer uses the same exact master that was used for Drafthouse Films region A Blu-Ray release. Colors look robust, flesh tones look accurate and details look crisp. Grain look natural, there are no issues with DNR or compression and the image remains stable throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM Mono mix in English and also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout. And though range wise things are as good as one can expect from a mono source. With that being said, the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 48 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and three interviews, the first interview with Cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri (4 minute 25 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), the second interview with screenwriter Lou Comici (9 minute 9 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and the third interview with actor Lance Henriksen (9 minute 1 second – 1080 progressive widescreen). All of these extras have been ported over from Drafthouse Films region A Blu-Ray release.
Topics discussed with Ennio Guarnieri include how he became involved with this film, the special effects, working with Giulio Paradisi, storyboards, stunts, visual techniques used in the film and the look of the film. Topics discussed with Lou Comici include how he become involved with this film, how they wanted a film that resembled The Exorcist, working with Giulio Paradisi who had numerous weird ideas for the film and how Paradisi let to him eventually being fired from the film. Topics discussed with Lance Henriksen who discusses his involvement in this film, the cast, how the events which unfold in this film was a crazy ride that rarely made any sense and working with Giulio Paradisi.
Rounding out the extras is reversible cover art and a twenty eight page booklet with cast & crew credits, a lengthy essay about the film titled ‘A Turkey Made Out of Cement’ written by Mike White and information about the transfer. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall The Visitor gets a first rate release from Arrow Video.