Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 26th, 2010
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
DVD released: November 2nd, 2010
Approximate running time: 109 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $26.98
Synopsis: A girl with telekinetic powers finds herself in the middle of a battle between the devil and god.
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 DVD version 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.
Code Red presents The Visitor in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a solid looking transfer that boasts nicely saturated colors, healthy looking flesh tones, strong black levels and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clean, clear, consistent and at times robust.
Extras for this release include the Cannes trailer for the film (3 minutes 15 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), a making of featurette titled ‘Revisiting the Visitor’ (21 minutes 2 seconds – 4:3 full frame), which include comments from actresses Joanne Nail and Paige Conner, producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and production associate Stratton Leopold and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary with Joanne Nail and moderator Marc Edward Heuck and the second audio commentary with Paige Conner and moderators Scott Spiegel and Jeff Brewer. Topics covered in the featurette focus mainly on comments about the cast and crew. With the bulk of the comments from Joanne Nail and Paige Conner. The two audio commentaries contain a wealth of information that is not covered in the featurette. The moderators on both tracks do a fantastic job keeping things focused and moving along. With a lot of the comments being scene specific. Also included with this release include trailers for Beyond the Door, Choke Canyon, Horror High, The Carrier, The Night Child, Slithis, Family Honor, Nightmare and Sole Survivor. Overall The Visitor gets an exceptional DVD release from Code Red.