Movie Review: 'THE VISITOR' Returns From 1979 to Peck Out Your Eyes and Make You Like It


Good vs. evil! Abortion! Potty-mouthed asshole children! Frank Nero as Jesus? Frank Nero as Jesus! Shelly Winters power-slaps! How to fight off bullies on the ice skating rink! Lance Henrikson getting his ass kicked by a plastic falcon! This is The Visitor, a super low budget horror film from 1979.

There’s a lot of fun going on in The Visitor, but I really couldn’t tell you what it’s about. It’s a bizarre circus of magic and mayhem, and stars Sam Peckinpah (director of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and The Wild Bunch), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Glenn Ford (Clark Kent’s dad in Superman 1979), Franco Nero (Django) Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure, Lolita, Night of the Hunter) and John Huston (The Maltese Falcon) as people of good and bad higher power trying to get inside the head of and brainwash an 8-year-old girl with telekinesis powers and an attitude that will put any Hollywood diva to shame. Things will go one of two ways: 1) good or 2) the opposite of good.

Most of the plot doesn’t make any sense and it’s hard to say who’s on whose side (good versus evil thing). If you read the back of the Blu-ray or DVD box, it’ll tell you this eight-year-old is needed to take control of the world — so God (Peckinpah, I think) and the Devil (a collective of foes including Henriksen) duke it out on earth while the girl wrecks the place in her own little telekinesis asshole way (putting a heavy emphasis on asshole).

A lot of people bitched about The Visitor when it originally released in 1979. Why? People like to bitch. The eerily attractive poster (see below) was frustratingly misleading (that freakish eyeball never appears in the movie, dammit) and the writer and producer, Italian-American filmmaker Ovidio G. Assonitis, was known for ripping off highly acclaimed Hollywood horror — The Visitor bleeds The Omen and The Exorcist. Anyway, it quickly overstayed its welcome and went away until Tim League and Drafthouse Films (the coolest cinematic megaphone for reviving old repertory gems) brought it back from its dusty grave. And Wallah! This out-of-towner has a new, permanent home.

Even though it’s cheap, senseless, and just odd, it’s a good film. Why? Because I was entertained. I laughed, loved the corny visual effects, and was entertained from beginning to end — that’s the purpose of a movie, right? The Visitor is truly one of the most absurd movies to come out of the heavily experimental decade in film—the 1970s—but it’s also a lot of fun.

There are some really bonkers, balls-to-the-wall, and gloriously harsh scenes that’ll keep your focus if you start to zone out. One that stands above most is when Shelley Winters really slaps the shit out of Telekinesis Girl (Paige Conner) for being a little asshole. I read that the slaps were real and, in fact, every parent should show their kids that scene when they are disobeying.

With good versus bad, God against Satan, right and wrong: The Visitor is stuffed like a fat turkey with symbolism throughout the film. Is there a moral? Sure. Never trust an eight-year-old to save the world.


                                      Original poster from 1979


Review: MIAMI CONNECTION is a Vortex of Insanity. And Mullets. And Dancing Ninjas.


Motorcycle Ninjas! Mullets! Cocaine Drug Lords! Synth Rock Band Ninjas! Grand Master Y.K. Kim! Slow motion karate kicks to the face! Dragon Sound! Dancing Ninjas! A black guy in search for his missing father! Pop songs about friendships and loyalty! This… is Miami Connection!

Miami Connection takes place, and was made, in 1987. Our story revolves around Dragon Sound, a popular band led by Mark (Y.K. Kim), the one the other band members look up to, and for good reason; the band’s friendship is unbreakable, and we know this because one of their hit songs is called “Friends” and it is all about friendship and loyalty. They play every night to a packed house at a local club in Orlando and, when not jamming out at night clubs or giving motivational speeches to each other shirtless in living rooms, Dragon Sound practices karate under the tutelage of Mark before drinking Pepsi after their training. These guys are real bad dudes.

Things become slightly complicated when band member John (Vincent Hirsch) starts dating the sister of the local mob boss, Jeff (William Eagle), a jealous badass who deals cocaine; we know Jeff is a badass because he only wears one earring. He’s also a dick and doesn’t want his sister (who’s one of the lead singers in Dragon Sound) to date John, or anybody, really. So Jeff and his gang decide to cast Dragon Sound out of town with their intimidating karate moves.

To add more dukes to the hazard, Badass Jeff enlists the help from another local band who are jealous of Dragon Sound’s success. Since Dragon Sound plays to win (when you watch the movie, a lot of these random phrases will make sense, I promise), they will not go down without a fight. It’s going to take a lot more than three dozen ninjas to run these five guys out of town.

It would take an obnoxious film critic to tear this movie apart today. Movies in the ‘80s era have more random shit than your local bar’s unflushed toilet. Yes, this movie is over-the-top and absolutely bonkers, but it’s also the greatest movie featuring rock ‘n’ roll ninjas you’ll ever see. Every character in this film is an expert in karate kicking people in the face – from the suit and tie bar manager at the club where Dragon Sound plays, to the chef that keeps them well-fed.

I deeply admire and respect Drafthouse Films’ founder Tim League and Director of Programming Evan Husney for resurrecting this (almost obsolete) film and going against the Hollywood norm. Instead of wasting their money on the conventional mumbo jumbo most studios invest in, they’ve put all of their concentration on movies most studios would never touch, and restoring obscure hits that never got proper releases. The affection never went away completely, but these guys have made watching B-movies exciting again. Especially for the ones who grew up watching anything with karate in the ‘80s and ‘90s. This sub-genre was an outlet that made us nerds feel invincible. Miami Connection is a vortex of insanity and has everything I love about life: ninjas, friendship, and loyalty.

Sci-Fi Movie 'The FP' Is the Most Bonkers Indie of the Year

We live in an era in which talented filmmakers sometimes trade in creativity and taking chances for remakes, reboots and 3-D gimmicks. We get it — they’re a giant cash cow. Leave it up to the up-and-comers to make unique and rare movies that won’t be  seen by even a small portion of the people who saw “Clash of the Titans.” At least we know those crazy ones still exist.

Right now those hungry men are Brandon and Jason Trost, the duo that has made the most bonkers independent movie of this year — a movie about living the somewhat thug life called "The FP."

"The FP" is bats**t crazy. Here’s the synopsis (bear with us, it gets weird). The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future in the FP, known to you and me as Frazier Park. There’s famine, overpopulation and disease, and the people and streets are ruled by rival gangs who don’t use physical violence to reign supreme, but compete for territories in a vicious and deadly game of — here it is — an interactive dance-fight video game called "Beat-Beat Revolution."

The opening scene sets the story for the film: Beat-Beat Revolution champ BTRO (Brandon Barrera) and his younger brother and protege, JTRO (Jason Trost, who also cowrote and codirected the film), must compete against the vicious L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy) and his boys for the FP territory. In an epic techo music-fueled battle, BTRO is 187’d (“FP” slang for killed), and all hope is now lost. After going missing for a year, JTRO returns (with the help from his trash-talkin’ friend KCDC, played by Art Hsu) hoping to reclaim the throne his brother once owned and turn the FP into less of a s**thole.

Yes, this is a real movie, and yes, it’s just as absurd as you imagine it to be. ”The FP” is loud and often obnoxious, but the film works because everyone involved is obviously having a blast. It’s a lot of fun watching the actors keep straight faces while delivering the most ridiculous and over-the-top dialogue ever heard. These guys give N.W.A. a run for their money.

Absurdity aside, the movie is an ode to all of those great sci-fi and action movies from the ’80s, even down to the obvious John Carpenter-inspired synthesizing score. It’s no surprise that the Trost brothers have a love of exploitation cinema — they’ve been on low-budget movie sets their whole lives, and their father is Ron Trost, who’s done special effects for movies you’ve never heard of, like “Ghoulies IV” and “Big Bad Mama II,” and films you have heard of, like “Mortal Kombat” and “American Pie.” Written and directed by both Trost brothers, “The FP” is a labor of love. In Trost we trust.

"THE FP" opens today in select cities, but you can create your own screening nationwide

Source: MTV