(director/writer: John Boorman; cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: John Merritt; music: David Munrow; cast: Sean Connery (Zed), Charlotte Rampling (Consuella), Sara Kestelman (May), John Alderton (Friend), Niall Buggy (Arthur Frayn), Sally Ann Newton (Avalow), Bosco Hogan (George Saden); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producer: John Boorman; 20th Century Fox; 1974-UK)

“Weird, fatuous and tedious fantasy futuristic sci-fi cult film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Weird, fatuous and tedious fantasy futuristic sci-fi cult film that doesn’t add up to much more than a pile of trash. It’s directed, written and produced by John Boorman (“Point Blank”/”The General”). Sean Connery takes over the lead part that Burt Reynolds wisely turned down. But the bad movie is watchable because of Geoffrey Unsworth’s stunning visuals and for those who enjoy watching inane hokum, which is unintentionally funny.In the year 2293, in the Outlands on Planet Earth, there appears in the sky a floating giant stone head of Zardoz, god of the Brutals. The Brutals live in the wasteland following Zardoz’s proclaimations that “The gun is good! The penis is evil!” An elite group of Exterminators are provided guns delivered through the mouth of Zardoz to keep everyone in line. When a Brutal Exterminator called Zed (Sean Connery) hides under the mandatory grain that is given to Zardoz, he emerges from there to see naked bodies wrapped in plastic. Zed instinctively shoots the one living person he sees, Arthur Frayn (Niall Buggy), an immortal who created the god Zardoz for the Exterminators to obey. The rebellious Zed finds an opening in Zardoz to enter the Vortex. Zed becomes the liberator of the soulless immortals who live in this part of the world, who become both afraid and fascinated by his powers. The immortals soon realize he carries the seed that can end their immortal world with death. The film rails against the young intellectuals who use their technology to enslave the masses, and how religion is used to get a stranglehold on the population. The film is a muddled mess. It even makes a humorous reference to The Wizard of Oz as the one true book.