Went and saw "The Visitor" at the Hollywood Theatre last night and it’s kind of a blast. It’s showing there one more time, at 9:30 tonight (Saturday, Nov. 9) -- and if you like relentless psychotronic surprises on a big screen, with beer, I highly recommend it.
The movie's an absolutely barmy 1979 no-budget Italian mashup of devil-child possession films and “Close Encounters” and “The Birds” and ’70s living rooms and major-league basketball games gone wrong and Pong played on a big-screen TV and ice-skating battles and animals freaking out and God knows what else that somehow stars John Huston, Shelley Winters, Franco Nero in a Jesus wig, Glenn Ford and Sam Peckinpah (who was apparently so bad at learning his lines, they edited his one scene so his mouth is usually out of frame, then re-dubbed all his dialogue with a different actor; it’s hilarious).
The movie’s also weirdly lovely to look at, and while it isn’t “good” in any conventional sense, there’s a genuine, cumulative thrill in having absolutely no idea what the next shot or scene in the movie is going to be at any given moment. Also, Huston’s performance has an utterly unnecessary gentle wry sincerity — plus he’s kind of rocking the safari suit he wears for the whole film, even when he’s playing Pong or summoning intergalactic light portals full of pigeons.
Some relevant links:
- The trailer
- A great writeup of the film by Drew McWeeny
- Online ticketing at the Hollywood
- Oh, and here’s part of a "Visitor" making-of documentary in which decades later every non-famous person in the movie is interviewed about every famous person in the movie and the strain beneath the smiles is off the chain.