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Drafthouse Films Expecting a 'Visitor'

Local distributor adds insane Italian scifi horror to slate
Richard Whittaker, 12:00pm, Wed. Jun. 19, 2013

Classic directors! Bald alien kids! The maternal instincts of the Switchblade Sisters. Drafthouse Films will be re-releasing gonzoid suburban space demon weirdness The Visitor later this year. As Drafthouse creative director Evan Husney says, "The world wasn’t ready for this film in 1979, and it still may not be."

Drafthouse Films has been building up three sides of its business. First, innovative foreign language films, like Graceland and Bullhead; Then there are the stellar unusual indies, such as Wrong and the upcoming release of Fantastic Fest 2012 fave I Declare War. The Visitor sits comfortably in the third category: Lost oddities, such as Miami Connection and Comin At Ya! that deserve a new audience.

The Visitor was originally created by Atlanta-based Film Ventures International, who were basically The Asylum of their time. They pioneered the mockbuster (low-budget rip-offs of blockbusters), such as landlocked Jaws clone Grizzly and The Exorcist imitator Beyond the Door. However, with The Visitor, they abandoned the idea of one movie, one mockbuster. They grabbed an armful of successes, from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to The Birds, Space 1999 and Damien: Omen II, threw it in a blender, set it to 'Jodorowsky' and poured the result onto celluloid.

This cosmic lunacy is the work of Michael J. Paradise : That's actually Giulio Paradisi, who cut his cinematic teeth as assistant director to Federico Felini on 8 1/2. No, really. Maybe that's how he got famous tough guy directors Sam Peckinpah and John Huston to show up, and bring Glenn Ford and Shelley Winters with them. It's not all old Hollywood glamor. There's also a very young Lance Henriksen (if such a thing can be imagined) and Franco Nero (aka the original Django) as Jesus in a blonde wig.

Husney says that it “contains the highest JDPM (jaw-drops-per-minute) ratio out of any movie we have ever encountered," and its hard to disagree.

So, deranged WTF moment or Holy Mountainesque headtrip? You'll get to find out later this year when The Visitor is available on VOD and limited theatrical screens.

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