Geek Review: Zardoz

An odd occurrence happened this weekend:  no new movies I was interested in seeing.  At all.

It is January, and I saw as much of the awards bait that I could during my Christmas break from school.

So, that meant I just went for an older movie I’d never seen before, and if it was appropriate for this site, all the better.  And then I found the cult classic Zardoz.

Man, this one was really freakin’ weird.

We’re talking about a movie that opens with a floating human head of a guy explaining he is Zardoz and one Arthur Frayn, a 300 year old immortal who wants to die, poses as a god, and is also something of a stage magician.

Then we cut to a giant stone head floating through the air, coming down to some barely dressed barbarian types.  The head says without moving its lips that it is Zardoz, the gun is good, and the penis is evil, because there are too many people and one shoots bullets that cause death and the other shoots seed which creates life.  Then the head spews a bunch of guns, Sean Connery picks up one, and we’re off to the races.  Connery is Zed, an “exterminator” among the Brutals in the year 2293.  There was some kind of apocalypse at some point, and most of humanity is reduced to barely getting by with the exterminators, worshippers of almighty Zardoz, just going around and killing as many people as they can from the looks of things.

How weird is this movie?  Connery spends most of it wearing little more than a bright red loincloth.  And when he finally does change his clothes?

This is a movie that features Connery wearing a fake ponytail and a real mustache, psychic powers, bored and sexually impotent immortals, and some of the strangest special effects you can imagine, even by the standards of 1974.

Zardoz is a cult movie, and have some patience if you sit down to watch it.  It’s weird and it maybe explains everything at about the halfway point.  I don’t know that I’d recommend it as anything other than an odd curio.  Considering director John Boorman went on to make classics like Deliverance and Excalibur, the presence of Connery and the fact the female lead Charlotte Rampling is no slouch either, well, this seems to be more an experimental type of sci-fi exploring what makes life worthwhile, but it’s really hard to get past that opening scene of a stone head spewing guns to grateful guys in loincloths.

Let’s say seven and a half out of ten moments where you wonder what the hell is going on.

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