Monday, February 4, 2019

surfin bird.

Now this has been sitting gathering dust on my shelf for about two years so decided to finally take the plunge.

The Visitor (1979).
Dir: Giulio Paradisi (As Michael J. Paradise).
Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, John Huston, Joanne Nail, Paige Conner, Sam Peckinpah, Shelley Winters, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Franco Nero.

Once, far away... light years... distances beyond thought, a great slender ship with a tail of fire slid through the black reaches of space. On that ship was Sateen. Words cannot describe his evil, his criminality. He had been captured by Commander Yahweh after decades of search and evasion, in a blood-drenched battle that claimed hundreds of lives. But shortly thereafter, Sateen escaped in a tiny scout craft, a fantastic escape from that spaceship. And soon, he found a hiding place on the planet Earth....

Somewhere in the vastness of space - which luckily for us looks like a sandpit, albeit one in quite a warm place, maybe somewhere near Rome? - the enigmatic and stringly bearded almost Young Ones character Jerzy Colsowicz (Huston, well that holiday home isn't going to pay for itself) is busy experiencing strange visions of spooky snowstorms brought about a young girl with a cotton wool face.

And all to a porn-tastic disco variation of Also sprach Zarathustra as re-imagined by Geoff Love's brother.


As all this sub Dune-based oddness is going down an enigmatic (oh go on the drunk) and patchily hi-lighted space Jesus (Nero - uncredited but still guilty as sin) sits crossed legged clad in a fluffy dressing gown as he recounts the story of  a millennium-long cosmic conflict between an evil inter-spatial wizard of immense magnitude and psychic abilities named Barry Zatteen and his benevolent rival Terry Yahweh to a group of pajama wearing bald children.

Seems legit and in no way dodgy.

It appears that centuries ago Zatteen escaped to Earth and although he was eventually killed by Yahweh he managed to shag loads of human women beforehand meaning that his descendants now populate the planet, keeping his spirit alive in the minds of mankind waiting for an opportunity to re-emerge and do bad shit.

And turn into birds or something.

Fair play to him.

Fuck me, Noel Edmonds has let himself go.

But enough of this quasi-religious bollocks as we've got a basketball game to watch alongside team owner Raymond Armstead (Henriksen who bizarrely still has old man hair), his girlfriend Barbara Collins (daughter of singing actor Jimmy, Joanne Nail) and her scarily big-headed daughter Katy (former child star, Atlanta Falcons cheerleader and current owner of the Luxury Lash Lounge, an eyelash extension business in Atlanta, Conner).

As the game gets more and more fraught (probably) Armstead announces to an interviewer that the team will win at all costs as now he's in charge money will be no object when buying the best players.

Obviously all this cash doesn't stretch to buying a decent fitting shirt tho'.

When pressed  on the source of his wealth tho', Armstead answers with an enigmatic "from God".

And as if to push home all this spacey-religious stuff the basket explodes as a player scores the winning points.

Meanwhile in the movies most exciting sequence, Colsowicz is navigating his way thru' US customs whilst wearing a safari suit.

"Rice in mah mooth!"

But what of Raymond's wealth? I hear you ask.

Well, surprise surprise it appears that he's in league with the aforementioned secret cabal of Zatteen worshippers led by the sinister Dr. Roy Walker (Ferrer, busy paying for Audrey Hepburn's new swimming pool), you see his girlfriend daughter (remember her?) has already begun to display psychokinetic abilities due to her mother being a descendant of Zatteen, so they reckon that if he impregnates Barbara with a male child, that child can then shag his half-sister and - hopefully - produce the physical embodiment of Zatteen.

Don't think about it too much.

Obviously the writer hasn't.

Or maybe he has.

Who knows?

Or cares?

Anyway, it seems that whilst Katy is only partially aware of her special powers, she's totally aware of how much of an arsehole she is, whether it's making baskets explode or killing innocent ice skating kids she struts about the place in way too tight silk trousers and bunches looking for all the world like a bowling ball with a face painted on it as she creepily insults everyone around her and attempts to get her mum to let Armstead stick it in her before 'accidentally' shooting her in the spine at her birthday party confining her to a wheelchair.

Oh yes and she has a pet bird that attacks anyone who gets too close to the truth about whatever the fuck is going on.

Which is the reason why Colsowicz - who also possess powers similar to Katy - has spent the last hour trying to find his luggage and is currently holed up in a deserted building as he and his followers watch Katy from afar.

Cherry cheeks.

Just to make sure he knows what she's up to at every given opportunity tho' he's also arranged for one of his followers  Jane Phillips (Winters minus Schnorbitz) to act as Barbara's new housekeeper.

It's at this point that police detective, Jake Durham (Ford) begins to investigate Barbara's shooting and to do this he decides to stalk Katy at every opportunity whilst breaking into her house to look for clues.

Luckily for us - and his career - he's soon pecked to death in a car which begs the question as to why an actor of Ford's caliber even bothered to turn up.

Apart from for the huge wad of cash and welcoming young boy arse supplied by the producers obviously.

Things are going too well for poor Raymond either as he's failed spectacularly  to seduce Barbara leaving the Zatteen cult no alternative than to - tastefully -  impregnate Barbara in the back of a hi-tech rape van.

Because lets be honest that's what it is.

Your ex-missis would be so proud of you Mel.

The lights are on....

 Cue what seems like hours of poor Barbara pulling wheelies around the living room looking more and more shot to fuck with each passing moment as Jane hides behind a pot plant singing songs about candy.

Coming to her senses - and realising that we're heading toward the climax, Barbara heads off to see her ex - and Katy's biological father - Dr. Sam Collins (a bizarrely dubbed Peckinpah) in order to get an abortion but on returning home she's set upon by Raymond and Katy who - in a scene of comedy gold - attempt to kill her by tying a wire around her neck and sending her down the stairs in her stairllift.

Will they succeed?

Will dear old Colsowicz intervene at the last minute and summons an army of (badly animated) birds that thwart their evil plan?

Will any of this ever make any sense?

Only one way to find out.....

Playing out like an - unintentionally - comedic version of The Omen that's been roughly buggered by Alejandro Jodorowsky whilst a grainy pirate VHS of 2001: A Space Odyssey plays in the background, The Visitor is the kind of film that could only conceivably be made in the late 70s and then only by people to whom English was a second language.

Yes it's that good.

"Directed" (if that's even an appropriate description) by ex- Federico Fellini collaborator Giulio Paradisi from a series of notes he made on the back of numerous off-license receipts and produced by professional geezer Ovidio G. Assonitis  - the man who gave us Tentacles which bizarrely also starred John Huston and Shelley Winters which makes you wander what kinda shit he had on them - the most surprising thing is that the film is as entertaining and enjoyable as it actually is.

Yes it's true that The Visitor is complete and utter pants but you can’t help but fall for it's bizarre charms, I mean what other film can you name where the climax features a battle between an evil football manager, an alien pre-teen with a foul mouth and a swarm of cartoon space-pigeons with concealed within their beaks?

Obviously it's batshit crazy and makes absolutely no sense, possibly due to the fact that Paradisi was fired halfway through the shoot on account of being a mentalist, only to turn up at the producers home accompanied by a couple of Mafiosi hitmen in order to not only get his job back but to make sure he could bin Luciano Comici's script and just film whatever the fuck he fancied instead.

No doubt he used the same method to get such a top notch cast.

Oh and Mel Ferrer obviously.

"Aye hen!"

But of all the cast tho' special praise (but not special hugs) has to go to Paige Connor who plays the pesky alien hybrid brat Katy to perfection coming across like a velveteen, foul mouthed version of Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed - from ice skating teen boys to death to shouting “you’re a child molester” at Superman's dad via creepily suggesting that Lance Henriksen fuck her mum she's a revelation to behold and it's a crime she never went on to do more movies.

Or at least a collection of sweary answerphone messages you could buy.

But the icing on this toothpaste covered cake is the score, a funkadelic mix of Hooked on Classics cheese and Isaac Hayes style wah-wah guitars all mixed loving with a sexy orchestral vibe.

Franco Micalizzi we salute you.

And forgive you for the soundtrack to Black Demons.

Cinematic gold.

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