Zardoz (1974) movie poster

(1974) dir. John Boorman
viewed: 12/16/08

Wow and wow, again.  Very likely one of the worst films ever made.

Somehow, this cult Sci-Fi flick from 1974, starring Sean Connery and directed, written and produced by John Boorman, had slipped by me all these years.  A “friend” (if I can still call him that) “recommended” the film to me a while back, citing its high hilarity and bizarreness.  Well, he got that right.

The film is set in the far distant future, in which man has become either agrarian breeders or assassins set to kill all of the unwashed masses, all directed to do so by a giant flying head.  When Zed (Connery), one of the leaders of the assassins, breaks into the head and flies back to the hermitage or whatever they called it, it turns out that there is a more “evolved” and intelligent group who have become bored immortals who have shunned sex (and feminized their men) and can age each other by sticking their arms out.

There is a lot more.  Connery’s costume, a red-colored loincloth-like pair of shorts and an occasional vest of bullets, along with a long ponytail, is emblematic of the beyond bad qualities of the film.  There are all kinds of non-sensical elements with tropes about knowledge and savagry, sex and manliness, the intellect versus the flesh.  It’s intensely awful.  Painfully awful.  Truly awful.  But the flying head is actually pretty good.

This is a film that well-earns its reputation among the worst films ever made.  And it’s strange, a bit, because John Boorman made a number of good films, both before and after this one: the excellent Point Blank (1967) with Lee Marvin, the highly iconic (though I can’t say how good or bad) Deliverance (1972), Hope and Glory (1987) which I remember liking, and The General (1998) which was also good.  His record isn’t spotless, but this level of badness is something just short of miraculous.  To enjoy it, you have to have a high level of tolerance for the Bad.  The very bad.

One Reply to “Zardoz”

  1. Of all the films on your stinkers list this is one I remember watching on late night tv in the 80s and enjoying it. But, it’s been at least 20 years and I’ll have to go watch some of it and see if I now do agree with you. Your probably right.

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