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The Visitor (1979)
"Stridulum" (original title)

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Ratings: 4.3/10 from 786 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 27 user | 62 critic | 5 from

The soul of a young girl with telekinetic powers becomes the prize in a fight between forces of God and the Devil.


(as Michael J. Paradise)


(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Visitor (1979)

The Visitor (1979) on IMDb 4.3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Walker
Det. Jake Durham
Raymond Armstead
Jerzy Colsowicz
Joanne Nail ...
Barbara Collins
Dr. Sam Collins
Jane Phillips
Paige Conner ...
Katy Collins
Ja Townsend
Jack Dorsey
Johnny Popwell
Wallace Wilkinson ...
Police Captain
Steve Somers
Lou Walker
Walter Gordon Sr.


John Huston stars as an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl, and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multi-dimensional warfare, pre-adolescent profanity and brutal avian attacks combine to transport the viewer to a state unlike anything they've experienced... somewhere between Hell and the darkest reaches of outer space. Written by DrafthouseFilms

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

occult | terror | demon | alien | violence | See more »


They know we are here...


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

21 November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Visitor  »

Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paige Conner had trouble saying harsh profanity to Glenn Ford in her big confrontation scene with him. See more »


After the police officer is attacked by the bird and rolls his car down the bank, we see that the car is clearly about to come to rest upright. But subsequently we see the car upside down as it catches fire. See more »


Detective Jake Durham: Now listen to me Katy isn't there something you want to tell me?
Katy Collins: Yeah. Go fuck yourself!
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

THE VISITOR (Giulio Paradisi and, uncredited, Ovidio G. Assonitis, 1979) {Edited Version} ***
23 January 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Whatever one thinks of the movie itself, it cannot be denied that BEYOND THE DOOR (1974) was a highly successful property and when THE OMEN (1976; my own personal favorite of the three major diabolism films of that era) came along, it was almost a given that Ovidio G. Assonitis (aka Oliver Hellman) would contemplate something similar for the Italian market. However, he was anticipated in this by director Alberto De Martino's HOLOCAUST 2000 aka THE CHOSEN (as it was originally released in the U.S.) and RAIN OF FIRE (under which title it has recently been released on R1 DVD) – whereas Assonitis had, with his own BEYOND THE DOOR (1974), preceded De Martino's THE ANTICHRIST (1974) virtually by a couple of weeks! Even so, Assonitis went ahead with his project and, not to be outdone, he concocted a truly bizarre but fascinating mélange of horror and sci-fi that also throws in for good measure elements from THE BIRDS (1963), ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968), THE EXORCIST (1973), GOD TOLD ME TO (1976), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) and even DAMIEN: OMEN II (1978)! The cherry on the cake, however, was the fact that he somehow managed to rope in a stellar cast of Hollywood notables to give life to his ungodly premise: John Huston (in the enigmatic title role), Glenn Ford (as an ill-fated police detective), Mel Ferrer (as a sinister surgeon and chairman of a mysterious conglomerate), Shelley Winters (thankfully less obnoxious than usual as a maid-protector), Lance Henriksen (as the Faustian father who apparently sells his soul – and wife – merely to become a successful basketball coach!), Sam Peckinpah (remarkably restrained, glimpsed only in profile and in semi-darkness to boot, as an abortionist – but, apparently, he was drunk and cocaine-addled on the set!) and even an uncredited Franco Nero (as, ostensibly, Jesus Christ and a blond one at that)!! Despite his surprisingly brief time on screen, Ford comes off best from among his colleagues and I particularly enjoyed his altercations with the demonic and foul-mouthed child (the excellent Paige Conner – with gleaming eyes and, obviously doubled, turning occasionally into a faceless 'monster' – who, going effortlessly from sweet to sinister, undoubtedly delivers one of the best child performances in this type of film); another good turn is given by Joanne Nail as her long-suffering mother who, among other things, is left half-paralyzed and wheelchair-bound after a gunshot wound accidentally fired by her own daughter; is abducted and artificially impregnated by an 'alien' bunch inside a truck parked down a darkened tunnel; eventually, her offspring contrives to push the woman straight into a large aquarium in slo-mo (just as Winters has finished assuring her that no harm will come to her while she is around)! It would be virtually impossible to describe the decidedly mystifying plot in a few words, so I will just concentrate on a series of images that remained with me since my viewing of the film: the pre-credits sequence in which a cassock-wearing Huston, seemingly in Heaven or at least another planet, prepares to face up to his enemy; the opening scene set in a basketball court in which the leading player of Henriksen's opponents (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) is literally 'exploded' by Conner's gaze prior to his netting the winning ball!; Conners showing her deadly ice-skating abilities by sending several leering male kids to their doom; the setting-up of Huston's rooftop base by an army of bald-headed acolytes; the surreal chasing of Conner by the latter in Peckinpah's dilapidated clinic; Ford's eye-gouging by Conner's pet falcon and subsequent fiery demise; babysitter Huston dueling with his charge-quarry Conner via a now-primitive video-game; later still, her attempt to do the old man in by literally dropping a stairway on top of him (flattening a shop in the process) a' la THE OMEN's unforgettable falling glass-plate; followed shortly by their showdown inside a hall of mirrors (borrowed, no doubt, from Orson Welles THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI {1948}); the landing of the spaceship in downtown Atlanta; the climactic – and apparently elliptical –'cleansing' attack of a flock of pigeons (standing in for the proverbial doves); the epilogue in which the monk-like Huston brings a seemingly reformed bald-headed Conner in Nero's celestial abode of equally head-shaven children. Strangely enough, it is never explained why the villainous sect need a boy 'heir' when Conner is clearly being such a good {sic} ambassador of Evil on Earth (incidentally, obscure director Paradisi walked off the film which was subsequently completed by producer Assonitis) but, luckily, Franco Micalizzi's alternately funky and eerie score and the occasionally striking visuals smooth over such inconsistencies. In fact, it would be very easy to bash STRIDULUM (whatever that means, it is how THE VISITOR is known – if at all – on its home-ground given that it has never been shown on TV in my neck of the woods) as a desperately derivative and incoherent mess but, frankly, I found it far too enjoyable and weird to be dismissed. For the record, I watched an acceptable (albeit full-frame) VHS-sourced copy of the 90-minute English-language U.S. theatrical version but, since most of the cast is American anyway, this is the right way to watch it; still, apparently, the Italian edition is slightly longer and features an alternate version of the scenes featuring Peckinpah! Although an Italian DVD edition is currently available, as a result of this surprisingly satisfactory first viewing – emulating a similar experience I had in a previous Halloween Challenge with the equally maligned William Castle production, BUG (1975) – I am now looking forward to that long-rumored, fully-loaded R1 DVD from Code Red that promises to offer the longest ever available version (108 minutes) of this unique gem!

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