CANNON MONTH 2: Lunatic (1971)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although released by 21st Century as Lunatic in 1981, this is really a re-release of  The Night Visitor, which was on the site on April 10, 2022.

Salem (Max Von Sydow) has escaped a near-inescapable insane asylum, a place where he’s been trapped since being wrongly charged with killing a farmhand. Now he truly is deranged and is out for revenge on those he believes are guilty: his younger sisters Emma (Hanne Bork) and Ester (Liv Ullmann) and her husband Dr. Anton Jenks (Per Oscarsson), the man who accused Salem of the murder.

Beyond the fact that the villain is actually the hero of this, it has an incredible score by Henry Mancini that was made for synthesizer, 12 woodwinds, organ, two pianos and two harpsichords — with one tuned to be flat and add dissonance.

Originally entitled Salem Came to Supper and released again ten years later by 21st Century Film Corporation as Lunatic (before that company was bought and rebranded by Menahem Golan after the breakup of Cannon), this was directed by Laslo Benedek (who made the 1951 Death of a Salesman) and written by Guy Elmes, who adapted several Italian films for Western audiences.

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