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Drafthouse Films re-distributing 1979 oddity, “THE VISITOR”

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After the care bestowed upon Ted Kotcheff’s lost masterpiece WAKE IN FRIGHT and the 1987 Tae Kwon Do friendship epic MIAMI CONNECTION, any repertory title from Drafthouse Films is one to be excited about. But this is really something.

“This film is from another time, another place and another wholly different dimension,” says Drafthouse Films’ Creative Director Evan Husney, of THE VISITOR. In the film Legendary Hollywood director/actor John Huston (THE MALTESE FALCON; TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE) stars as an intergalactic warrior battling alongside a cosmic Christ figure against a demonic eight-year-old girl and her pet hawk, as the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.

The in-depth, informative press release follows:

In the dawn of ’70s American blockbusters, European production companies emerged stateside, attempting to recreate box office gold by cloning Hollywood. The infamous Supreme Court-banned Jaws copy Great WhiteThe Exorcist-esque Beyond The Door,and countless others were packaged for export and the burgeoning drive-in circuit. Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and Director/Professional Body Builder Michael J. Paradise’s The Visitor stands as perhaps the most ambitious of all, taking its inspiration by artfully fusing The OmenClose Encounters Of The Third KindThe Birds, Rosemary’s Baby, The Fury and Star Wars alongside a baffling cast that includes Shelley Winters (Night Of The Hunter), Glenn Ford (Superman), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Franco Nero (Django) and Sam Peckinpah (director of The Wild Bunch).

The result is not so much a carbon copy, but rather an entertainingly hallucinatory and inscrutable mash-up that repertory cinema programmers around the country have rediscovered for late-night bookings. “Just when you think you’ve nailed down which direction the film is heading in, it completely shatters your notion of the time-space continuum,” says LA art-house The Cinefamily. At the time of its original release, The Visitor universally received poor reviews by mainstream critics including TV Guide who simply called it “junk,” but now, the film stands as “the Mount Everest of insane ’70s Italian movies” (Mondo Digital).

A new HD restoration of THE VISITOR is expected in cinemas, on home video and On Demand later this year.

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Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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