Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

(aka "Stridulum" )

 

directed by Giulio Paradisi
US/Italy 1979

 

Learning that one of Satan's spawn is an eight year old girl named Katy (Paige Connor), Jesus Christ (Franco Nero, DJANGO) sends Jerzy Colsowicz (director John Huston, who also picked up a check guesting in Assonitis' JAWS cash-in TENTACLES) to Atlanta to investigate. He finds that Satan's minions have plans for precocious Katy's mother Barbara (Joanne Nail) giving birth to an equally "gifted" son. When her boyfriend Raymond (Lance Henriksen, who also popped up in the Assonitis-produced CHOKE CANYON) is unable to convince her to marry him, sinister forces arrange for Barbara to become paralyzed (thanks to a handgun that shows up in one of Katy's birthday presents) but Barbara may have some protection in the form of mystical housekeeper Jane (Shelley Winters, who also popped up with Huston in TENTACLES) and Jerzy, who has become Katy's babysitter. When Raymond's further attempts fail, sinister Dr. Walker (Mel Ferrer, WAR AND PEACE) comes up with more efficient means to insure Barbara's pregnancy. Jerzy, meanwhile, has plans of a different nature for Katy. THE VISITOR (original title: STRIDULUM) is a near incoherent mash-up of antichrist movies and science fiction (the commentary moderators also point out the similarities of the ice rink sequence to THE FURY). Henriksen had appeared before this in DAMIEN: OMEN II and Glenn Ford's (THE BIG HEAT) detective meets a bird-related death similar to that of Elizabeth Shepherd's character in the same film (while Jerry Goldsmith's score for OMEN II mimicked raven caws, Franco Micalizzi's - who also scored BEYOND THE DOOR - funky score for THE VISITOR works in synthesized hawk cries). The birds used throughout the film were trained by Ray Berwick of Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. There is really no explanation, however, for Huston's performance art Hari Krishna minions. Nail makes for a sympathetic heroine and Connors is one of the better creepy kids of the eighties "killer kids" subgenre following THE OMEN. Henriksen is his usual unsettling presence while Mel Ferrer phones it in (as usual in his later Italian horror entries). Huston is his usual authoritative self while fellow director Peckinpah gives a more conventional performance. Ford doesn't get much screen time but takes his part seriously (despite having "next victim" stamped on his forehead). Shelley Winters' ultimately benevolent housekeeper seems to have been at least inspired by Billie Whitelaw's more sinister character in THE OMEN. Nero is hard to take seriously in his Christ getup but his scenes provide a lot of backstory. Elizabeth Turner, who played concerned friend to the possessed heroine of Assonitis' BEYOND THE DOOR, turns up here briefly as Katy's aunt and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (a year before AIRPLANE!) appears as himself during the opening basketball game. The fine cinematography is by Ennio Guarnieri (with second unit work by BEYOND THE DOOR DP/co-director Roberto D'Ettore Piazzoli). The visual effects are sometimes hokey but charming. Director Giulio Paradise (credited as "Michael J. Paradise") is not really known outside of Italy for his few directorial works although he had small roles in Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA and 8 1/2 and is better known as a director of TV commercials. Georgia experienced a mini Italian filmmaking boom around this time (Savannah played host to Lucio Fulci for CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and Antonio Margheriti for CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 March 1979 (Italy)

Reviews          DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Code Red - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:48:32
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with star Joanne Nail, moderated by Marc Edward Hueck
• Audio Commentary with star Paige Connor, moderated by Scott Spiegel
• REVISITING THE VISITOR featurette (4:3; 21:01)
• VISITOR Cannes trailer (4:3; 3:15)
• Trailers for BEYOND THE DOOR (16:9; 2:10), CHOKE CANYON (16:9; 2:01), HORROR HIGH (16:9; 2:18),
• THE CARRIER (4:3; 1:40), THE NIGHT CHILD (16:9; 2:07), SLITHIS (4:3; 3:01), FAMILY HONOR (4:3; 1:01)
• NIGHTMARE (4:3; 2:38), SOUL SURVIVOR (4:3; 1:50)

DVD Release Date: 2 November 2010
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

Code Red's dual-layer, anamorphic, and progressive presentation looks great. The dialogue has some rare low passages but is generally clear (Franco Micalizzi's funky score and the sound effects are always clear so it may be a weakness in the original audio recording). The 108 minute running time is reportedly 17 minutes longer than the US theatrical release (and Embassy tape version) and 8 minutes longer than the European export version (a UK tape ran 97 minutes in PAL). For instance, the opening prologue with Franco Nero has been restored (in other cuts, he does not show up until the end reveal) as are scenes featuring director Sam Peckinpah.

As with Code Red's other Ovidio Assonitis-produced BEYOND THE DOOR, there are two commentary tracks on this disc. The first features Joanne Nail who relates the complicated backstory she, as a method actress, had to come up with to justify her character's actions (she also mentions that she and Henriksen improvised an early dialogue scene). The second features Paige Connor who describes being a child actress and spending the summer in Italy shooting the non-location scenes. Nail's commentary might be considered to be taking the film too seriously but it provides a much-needed interpretation of the film while Connor's good-humored commentary provides the anecdotes. The moderators mention that there is no writing credit on the film but it is in the brief opening credits (most of the credits for THE VISITOR including the starring cast are listed at the end, with only the title, screenplay, and direction credits at the opening). "Revisiting The Visitor" features interviews with stars Nail and Connor as well as producer Ovidio Assonitis and casting director Stratton Leopold (who also worked on Assonitis' MADHOUSE). Nail mentions having to come back to Italy for post-production to rewrite dialogue for the unfinished scene with Peckinpah (Nail's interview is shot outside and is punctuated by some real rumbling thunder and lightning flashes). Connor relates working with Shelley Winters while Assonitis talks about collaborating with Huston on this on TENTACLES. The film's Cannes promo trailer has no dialogue (just Micalizzi's main theme). Trailers for other Code Red releases round out the package.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!