Though we’re in the midst of fall and the serious award contenders should presumably fill the theaters, the slate of big studio releases looks more like summer than Oscar season: this month’s big contenders include another Thor, another Hunger Games, a new Disney flick, and a Vince Vaughn sperm donor comedy. So, as usual, the independent filmmakers and distributors are picking up the slack; here’s our overview of the month’s best and most promising indie flicks.
Release: November 1
Director: Giulio Paradisi
Cast: John Huston, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Sam Peckinpah, Lance Henricksen
The distribution arm of the burgeoning Drafthouse empire is apparently looking to make a specialty of discovering, restoring, and re-releasing long-forgotten cheese from bygone eras; last year, they gave us the hilariously inept and oddly wonderful Miami Connection, and now they’re unleashing this 1979 oddity, a dead-solemn yet inescapably goofy sci-fi epic shot in cruddy, TV-movie style. Unapologetically swiping elements of The Omen, The Birds, Carrie, The Exorcist, Close Encounters, and maybe even Ice Castles, featuring acting turns by John Huston and Sam Peckinpah (suggeting a hope the film would end up well directed merely by osmosis), and including Shelly Winters at her scenery-chewing, kid-slapping, “Shortnin’ Bread”-singing finest, it’s the kind of movie that can only be explained by Hollywood’s rampant cocaine use at the time it was made. Forget Sharknado — The Visitor is utterly serious, and awesomely entertaining in its total badness.