Friday, October 5, 2012

Talk About a Bad Night: "Night Visitor" (1989)

One big spoiler review...Billy (Derek Rydall) is a thorn in the side of his high school history teacher Mr. Willard (Allen Garfield). He is always tardy, and makes up elaborate stories to cover. Billy is also a lucky boy. Sexy Lisa (Shannon Tweed) has moved in next door, and she takes a shine to Billy. Life is good.

But wait, on the one night when Billy finds himself on Lisa's roof trying to take a picture of her having sex so he can prove to his friends that she is a hooker, she is killed in a satanic ritual by Mr. Willard of all people!

Well, the lens cover was on the camera and rugged Detective Crane (Richard Roundtree) does not believe Billy because of the lack of evidence. Willard has an alibi, thanks to his simple minded brother Stanley (Michael J. Pollard). We figure out that Willard and Stanley cruise the streets of Los Angeles and kidnap hookers, using them in their sacrificial ceremonies.

Willard begins to call Billy, Billy goes to police, no one believes him. Willard threatens Billy, Billy goes to police, no one believes him. Billy goes to rugged ex-detective Devereaux (Elliott Gould), a friend of Billy's departed dad. Devereaux does not believe him. By the time you see a pattern develop, someone thankfully brings up a "boy who cried wolf" reference, which seems to be the solitary idea that this weak screenplay was written around.

Devereaux finally decides to help Billy, Billy falls for his nerdy friend Kelly (Teresa Vander Woude), and we have the final battle as Devereaux and Billy break into Willard's home to rescue Kelly, who was kidnapped earlier. She had to replace another hooker (porn star Teri Weigel) who was sacrificed.

The screenwriter, Randal Viscovich, has not had anything else produced, according to IMDB. Good. This film is bad. The characters have no resemblance to any people you know. All the characters are embarassing, these high schoolers act like none ever seen outside of the awful "Saved by the Bell." The adults fare no better. Roundtree's character has no purpose other than to not believe Billy. Watch for Henry Gibson as an expert profiler in one scene, almost convincing Crane that Willard could have a dual life. The scene goes nowhere, and has no affect on the rest of the film.

Hitzig's direction is not bad, but he is saddled with such a rotten script, he can do nothing with it. He does stage a badly choreographed fight between a chainsaw wielding Pollard and a shotgun toting Gould that probably read really well in the script, but looks terrible on film.

Another problem: every character says the names of the other characters ad nauseum. I haven't heard this many names bandied about since my last parent's day at my sons' daycare. Getting their names straight is no problem. Also, listen for the terrible musical score as a chorus chants what sounds like "Santa Knees" every time Garfield puts on his jackelope mask and kills a hooker.

You probably have not heard about this film before, and you are lucky. This visitor quickly wears out its welcome. (*) out of five stars.