Drafthouse Films Acquires Forgotten 1979 Sci-Fi Film ‘The Visitor’

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One thing I like the most about Drafthouse Films is that not only do they pick up interesting new films, but they also like to reach back in time and bring back films that have since been long forgotten.  Previously, they brought us greats like Miami Connection and Wake in Fright, and now they’re bringing back the science fiction/horror/action hybrid The Visitor.

This film sounds completely insane with John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) starring 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. I’m sold.

Drafthouse plans on releasing this in theaters, home video, and VOD later this year, hit the jump for the press release and poster.

AUSTIN, TX – Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced today the acquisition of North American rights to ’70s phantasmagoric sci-fi/horror/action/??? hybrid The Visitor. Legendary Hollywood director/actor John Huston (The Maltese Falcon; Treasure Of The Sierra Madre) stars as an intergalactic warriorbattling 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. A new HD restoration from the original film materials is planned for a theatrical, home video and multi Video On Demand/Digital platform release later in the year.

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 White, The Exorcist-esque Beyond The Door, and countless otherswere packaged for export and the burgeoning drive-in circuit. Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis and Director/Professional Body Builder Michael J. Paradise’s TheVisitorstands as perhaps the most ambitious of all, taking its inspiration by artfully fusing The Omen, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Birds, Rosemary’s Baby, The Fury and Star Wars alongside a baffling cast that includes Shelley Winters (NightOfTheHunter), Glenn Ford (Superman), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Franco Nero (Django) and Sam Peckinpah (director of TheWildBunch).

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, TheVisitoruniversally 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).

“This film is from another time, another place and another wholly different dimension,” says Drafthouse Films Creative Director Evan Husney, “and contains the highest JDPM (jaw-drops-per-minute) ratio out of any movie we have ever encountered. The Visitor is a repertory mainstay at the Alamo Drafthouse and is truly one of the most joyfully delirious theatrical experiences we’ve unleashed on our audiences. The world wasn’t ready for this film in 1979, and it still may not be. Regardless, we are ecstatic to be able to reintroduce cinema’s most colossally bizarro achievement. Ever.”

The deal was negotiated by COO James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Fabrizio Gionaon behalf of the film’s rights holder, producer Ovidio G. Assonitis.