An Unexpected Visitor

  • videoarchives
  • April 4, 2023

The Video Archives After Show is smarter than all of you! Today Gala and special guest expert Marc Heuck take on 1979’s Italian sci-fi oddity The Visitor (aka Stridulum). They go through the film’s incredible cast (including Video Archives favorites like Sam Peckinpah), explain how the film found a cult following, and even include a review from Manitoba’s crankiest critic Franklin Brauner. I’ve got more film facts and VHS covers on today’s Counter Talk, so let’s get into it…


Let’s start with a little backstory, because we’re trying out another new format this week. Quentin and Roger watch a lot of movies for the podcast, way more than we can include on the show itself, because they want to save only the most worthy titles for their review. That leaves quite a few Video Archives titles we haven’t discussed, and while (let’s face it) not all of these films are five-star masterpieces, they’re often strange and fascinating works that are very much worth discussing. The Visitor is one such film, so this week, Gala invited film historian and friend of the New Beverly Marc Heuck to give us the scoop on this bizarro cult classic. This won’t be Gala’s last interview with Marc, so if you liked this episode, let us know and stay tuned for more like it!


The Visitor tape depicts an alien creature of sorts, with clawed hands, a lightning ‘body,’ and a giant eyeball for a head. From The Residents to Jonny Quest, it’s hard to resist the allure of a single sentient eye.

The Visitor’s Wikipedia page calls the evil interstellar force that takes control of 8-year-old Katy “Zatteen,” but I like the spelling on the back of the VHS better – we are just one vowel change away from calling the villain Satan:

The poster used for the American VHS cover is iconic, but this stylish Korean VHS art is nearly as good, with ominous talons ready to snatch the beatifically fading Katy away.

If today’s episode piqued your interest in The Visitor at all and you haven’t seen it, it’s very much worth the watch – but Franco Micalizzi’s score is unmissable. The theme alone is worth the price of admission, a funky riff on Also Sprach Zarathustra that outdoes Deodato. It’s got me jonesing to track down the vinyl…


Today’s Video Archives Merch Spotlight comes from Jeremy Walling, an American politics professor in Missouri! He says ”This pod was love at first listen and has been setting the family movie night agenda since Dark Star. Quentin, Roger, and Gala are a blast!”

Meanwhile, I have to follow up last week’s Merch Spotlight with Professor Andy Hageman, who shared this photo after teaching the Slithis episode to his Film Studies class. If you’re an educator using Video Archives in the classroom, please tell us – I can’t wait for the next generation of filmmakers to come up with a proper appreciation for efficient exploitation filmmaking and slime monster design.

Next week we’re back with the whole gang and three all-new films…listen to Gala’s clues and see if you can puzzle them out. Until then, follow us on Twitter and Instagram (check out our listeners sharing their Top 10 Video Archives selections so far!), show us love with some handsome Video Archives merch, and I’ll be back next week. Thanks for reading!