Night Visitor (1989)

For a late entry into the slasher genre, Night Visitor doesn’t do a bad job of twisting a little convention to create an entertaining, if mostly bloodless movie.

Derek Rydall plays Billy, a spunky boy-who-cried-wolf type who likes to tell tall tales to just about anybody who will listen. This has made him the nemesis of one of his teachers, Mr. Zachary Willard (Allen Garfield). It seems like Mr. Zachary’s life long dream is get Billy expelled from high school. Meanwhile, Billy’s truth telling skills are put to the test when a beautiful call girl named Lisa Grace (Shannon Tweed in a nice performance) moves in next door. Slightly flirtatious but fairly harmless, she becomes the object of Billy’s obsession. Not that anyone believes a real-life hooker has moved in. One night Billy invites his two best buds over to spy on her, but hours pass and nothing happens, so they leave. Billy falls asleep only to be awakened by Lisa’s cries for help. He runs to her aid but is stopped short when he sees her being murdered by Mr. Zachary! He reports it to the police (one of whom is played by Richard Roundtree), but even upon first meeting, they find him to be sort of incredulous. Now Billy finds himself in a fairly precarious situation, since Mr. Zachary knows Billy can finger him as the killer. This would certainly be bad for Mr. Zachary and his satanic cult! Well, it’s a cult if you count two members as such! Mr. Zachary is aided by his Idiot Man Child brother, Stanley (Michael J. Pollard), in an attempt to rid the world of ‘evil’ woman (aka prostitutes) with ritualistic killings. Desperate, Billy turns towards his deceased father’s partner (they were cops), the burnt out Ronald Devereaux (Elliot Gould in a sleepwalking turn) for help.

Teri Weigel acting all scared

Whew! Now that’s a bag of plots just waiting to be wasted. Luckily, Night Visitor chooses to be a lighthearted romp instead of an all out horror movie. Except for Gould, the actors are well up to the challenge of balancing ludicrous situations with just the right touch of horror and humor as to not leave the viewer bored. Pollard and Garfield are especially good as the Of Mice and Men cult members and on their own, make this film worth seeing. The star, Derek Rydall has become sort of an obsession for me. He was a familiar face to video store renters around the time of this film and put in excellent performances in this and Popcorn before he seemed to disappear. It’s too bad too because he had that boy-next-door appeal that most actors are either too pretty or too scary to embody these days. And porn star Teri Weigel is good in her small role as the skuzzy hooker/victim. But poor Elliot Gould! It’s blatantly obvious he did not want to be in this movie. It’s still kind of cool to see him slumming it, as it were, and there are far worse choices than an asleep-at-the-wheel Gould. Even when he doesn’t want to do, he still manages… something. I’ll just leave it at that…

I won’t lie; it’s not the best script in the world and is directed in a sort of lifeless manner, which may partly explain Gould’s phoned in performance. Yet it remains a charming thriller that I seem to enjoy more with each viewing.

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8 Responses to “ Night Visitor (1989) ”

  1. i fell in love with Night Visitor the moment my 6 year old hands got a hold of it in the video store.
    ive watched this movie so many times and each time it just gets better and better. Derek Rydall’s performance is classic and the story is awesome. when Mr Zachary, Billy’s teacher turns out to be the murderer, that scene where Billy is in class with him and they both know that eachother knows but they dont say anything, that scene is priceless.
    “I won’t lie; it’s not the best script in the world and is directed in a sort of lifeless manner, which may partly explain Gould’s phoned in performance. ”
    i highly disagree with this statement, i think its a great script, for being a film that caught the end of the 80′s, it really captured the great feel, atmosphere and tone of great 80′s horror films.
    I think the directing was done perfectly, sorry i just dont see where lifelessness could be seen?
    great performances, great scenes.
    One thing i love most about Night Visitor, besides Derek Rydall, is the connection of the characters. the next door neighbor who seduces billy, the rearwindow connection of friends between billy’s friend and his girlfriend looking out the window and spying, also mr zachary and
    stanley (the little brother with the mind of a child helping to kill). oh yeah and the watermellon through the car window scene is perfect! anyways, i really like this movie and think its up their with the best of em.

  2. i have to admite this movie are a very underratede in the genre i hope somme day a bige dvd pakage for this movie because he give me a shock en i hope the pepole in the future have the oportunity too see this chiller movie again en again

  3. I think it’s a lot of fun. I do watch this one once or twice a year, but I’ll stick to my original opinion, I think it’s the actors and not the script or director who make this memorable…

    This is on DVD, right? It was one of those bare bone packages they didn’t even bother to promote… disappointing. It might be why I only have the vhs…

  4. yeah its on dvd, thats the cover you posted up there. disappointing cover art as well, even though the original cover art for the film wasnt much better…promoting the film as a gothic, demon, satanic cult movie.

  5. I actually saw this film at the theatres. It opened wide in Seattle (6 screens) with a big newpaper ad with a picture of Allen Garfield. I saw it saturday night with a audience of 3. LOL. Back in the video days, MGM didn’t promote the film either. It was called NEVER CRY DEVIL overseas. Bascially one of the many cheap pick-up MGM did.

  6. Wow, I had NO idea it actually got a theatrical release. What a great bit of info! Thanks! I would have loved to have seen this on the big screen.

    I guess the question remains (for me at least), what was the last slasher to get a theatrical release in the 80s before they mostly went direct to video? I am curious because I’m a nerd… I always thought it was Hide and Go Shriek…

    Irving… I think I did know it was on DVD, but not completely sure. I too two pics from online. One of the DVD box and one of the video. I think I meant to upload the video one… it’s weirder… and thank you for answering my question!

    And thank you all for reading!!!

  7. I finally saw this for the first time today and I really liked it. It borrows heavily from Fright Night, but for me, that was perfectly fine. I wish they had used the “Evil Ed” stand in character more in Night Visitor, but overall it was a lot of fun. Michael J Pollard in all his goofy brilliance steals every scene he’s in. I could have done without Elliot Gould’s character. It was very poorly developed in my opinion. The lead character reminded me a lot of the main character from the film Society .

    I would definetly watch it again. I can’t believe I had never heard of it until now.

  8. Saw this movie for the first time last night on the channel THIS.

    I had never heard of this movie before till then and i feel ashamed ebcause i love movies like this. it was cheesy but awesomely cheesy!

    Low budget movies these days pretty much are terrible..they just don’t make the fun, cheesy low budget movies anymore!

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