WTF Films: The Visitor

Y’all. Y’ALL. I need to tell you about the movie I just watched. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty bored through parts of it, but I begged for forgiveness from the film gods after seeing the absolutely bonkers last ten minutes. (See also: Pieces.) The film is The Visitor, and it is the inaugural entry in our WTF Films series.

Nope, not a Pink Floyd album cover, just the opening scene.

I’m not sure how to describe this movie, so I’ll give you the synopsis that my TV gave me: “An intergalactic warrior battles alongside a cosmic Christ figure against a demonic 8-year-old girl and her pet hawk, as the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.” That about sums it up. Think The Omen meets Phantasm with a dash of The Beyond and Rosemary’s Baby thrown in for good measure. And you have to get a load of this cast: Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, John Huston, Lance Henriksen, Shelley Winters, Sam Peckinpah, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I TOLD YOU. WTF.

I’m just going to touch on a few of my favorite moments, because you really need to watch this thing for yourself. It is insane. Barbara is the long-suffering mother; Katie is the demonic child in question, though she’s usually more obnoxious than evil. I mean, she does shoot her mom with a gun she got as a birthday present and throw her into an aquarium (which, naturally, has no fish in it, because why should anything in this movie make sense?) but she’s mainly just an annoying brat.

She also wears sunglasses indoors. Pure evil.

Glenn Ford plays the detective investigating Barbara’s shooting. He is literally the only person who wants to know how she got shot and why in the hell someone gave a loaded gun to an evil 8-year-old. The detective is not long for this world, though; Katie’s pet hawk (aided somehow by a creepy talking peacock figurine he stole from Barbara and Katie’s house for reasons unknown) attacks him while he is driving. The hawk tries to peck out his eyes, because birds are the embodiment of evil even when they’re not in league with a demon, and instead of stopping the car while he tries to fight off the devil bird, he careens around the interstate and eventually drives off the road. His car rolls down a hill, wraps itself completely in a chain-link fence, and then explodes. It is pretty fantastic.

There is also a nice moment where Shelley Winters slaps the hell out of Katie. It is almost as satisfying as watching Tyrion slap Joffrey, if that gives you any idea of just how annoying Katie is. Side note: in addition to giving you the ability to communicate with evil hawks, being a demon-spawn evidently also makes you a phenomenal ice skater.

Also, this happened. I guess the director was getting his Lady from Shanghai on.

And now we come to the last ten minutes of the movie, when I felt like an idiot for not appreciating just how crazy this movie is. John Huston/God unleashes an inter-dimensional flock of killer birds to kill Katie and Lance Henriksen, who has been trying to impregnate Barbara with another demon-spawn so Katie and Lance Henriksen, Jr. can breed and create a demon-incest-baby to rule the world.

I’m going to let you catch your breath for a second, because it gets even crazier.

Okay, so the inter-dimensional flock of killer birds swarms Katie and kills her evil side. Her good side shows up in heaven, where Creepy Blonde Jesus welcomes her to his pack of redeemed demon-spawn, who all have shaved heads and wear robes and sit around presumably thanking Creepy Blonde Jesus for pecking the evil out of them.

I really don’t think Jesus is supposed to look like Bodhi from Point Break.

That’s not the best part, though. I am quoting straight from my notes here, because I can’t say it any better than this: “A BIRD JUST SHANKED LANCE HENRIKSEN.” Yes. One of the birds circles and mad-dogs Lance for a bit; when it finally decides to kill him, its beak turns into a switchblade and it stabs Lance Henriksen. I kid you not. A switchblade. It is one of my new favorite “Man, this movie is really bori—OH MY GOD DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!” horror moments. I kind of want to go back and rewatch the whole movie right now.

There you have it, fiends. The Visitor. Go watch it. And if you have any nominees for future WTF Films, let me know in the comments!

And please tell me if you know of any other cinematic bird-shankings.


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