While my interest in film music can be traced back to my earliest days of childhood, I can honestly say I’ve been obsessed with it for the past 21 years. I’ve spent a healthy portion of that time scouring the earth for interesting film scores, and while I’ve done a fairly decent job exposing myself to what’s out there, I do realize that there is still a mountain of material yet to experience. When an awesome vintage score rockets out of the blue and piques my sensory awareness, it’s like a bolt of lightning striking my entire body and I’m almost pissed that I missed out on it for so long.
This is exactly what happened when Mondo Records and the Alamo Drafthouse introduced me to Guilio Paradisi’s The Visitor (1979). Prior to a few months ago, I had not seen this film, heard its score, nor had I ever heard of it at all. In the spirit of full disclosure I should note that I have been working with Mondo as a consultant on their soundtrack label for the past two years. You already know that Badass Digest is a subsidiary of the Alamo Drafthouse; however, this isn’t about me shilling products for the sake of helping my employers make a few bucks. I had nothing to do with Mondo’s release of the soundtrack for The Visitor on vinyl. When they told me they were releasing it, I had no idea what it was.
The first time I ever heard Franco Micalizzi’s music for The Vistior was when I received my copy of the vinyl that was released by Mondo in May 2014. I took it home and gave it spin. Holy shit! Where had this score been my whole life? I’m already an ardent lover of film music from the 70s and 80s so I was expecting to like it solely based on the fact that it’s an Italian sci-fi score from 1979; however, nothing could have prepared me for the unrelenting bombardment of intoxicating ear-sex buried within the grooves of 180 gram polyvinyl.
Every so often a score comes along that I love so much, the music itself becomes addictive. That’s what ended up happening with The Visitor. I was so gobsmacked, I had to listen to it at least twice a day (I’m even listening to it right now as I type this). I’ve become dependent upon it and I have no desire to cure myself of it’s blissful elixir. After digesting close to a hundred spins the last couple months, I realized pretty quickly that I needed to seek out the film and find out what visual feast could have inspired such amazing tunes.
I was in luck because The Visitor is an Alamo Drafthouse darling. Although I’m a frequent visitor (see what I did there) to the Drafthouse’s Weird Wednesday screenings, this particular one I missed and never did catch wind of the hype that had been generated by repeat viewings over the years. Drafthouse Films picked it up for release on DVD and Blu-ray (which ultimately led to Mondo releasing the score) so I ordered the Blu-ray from the Drafthouse Films web site.
I watched the film for the first time this past weekend and then something very unusual happened. After watching it Friday night, I was so enamored and lovingly perplexed by it that I popped it in the player the next morning and watched it again! A digital copy came with the disk so I’ve had it on in the background here in my studio a couple times while I work. I love the movie almost as much as I love the music. The film’s wackiness is eclipsed only by its audacity. At first I didn’t think it made a whole lot of sense; however, after subsequent viewings, I realized it actually does and it’s a beautiful thing to digest.
I generally use strong language when I write because I’m so passionate about what it is I’m writing about. This gets me into trouble when I want to up the ante and describe how much I really, really, really, really love something. I find that I often run out of the necessary vocabulary words to accurately reflect my fanatical feelings toward particular ideas or things. I rarely use profane language when I write so let me just say, “I fucking love this score!” (that’s twice in one article!). If you like whacked-out disco textures fueled by a slamming horn section mixed with urban funk and orchestral cacophony and the occasional squawking falcon calls interlaced with uncomfortable pseudo-sexual giggling, then this is the dream score for you. I truly feel that everything Mondo has released on vinyl to date has been awesome and worth acquiring; however, if there is one title to get, Franco Micalizzi’s one-of-a-kind score for The Visitor is the perfect cornerstone for any newbie or veteran’s collection. This is a score that inspires folks to become soundtrack fans. It’s badass.
Don’t forget to check out the film on DVD or Blu-ray as well (which by the way, also comes with a digital copy of the soundtrack). You can thank me later.
For more information on Mondo's soundtrack release of The Visitor on 180 gram vinyl click HERE.
For more information on Drafthouse Films' DVD/Blu-ray release of The Visitor click HERE.