Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Zardoz

July 22, 2009 By: and Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, needs this much Connery.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, needs this much Connery.


Pre-Internet, the only way to learn about cool things if you grew up in a small town in Michigan as I did was to read about them in these magical collections of information called “books” and “magazines.” When I was in high school, there were 2 books that changed my life. The first was the fourth edition of the Trouser Press Record Guide. Trouser Press was an indispensable guide to thousands of “alternative rock” records back in the days when the term alternative rock actually meant something. The second was Danny Peary’s fantastic (and sadly out of print) 3 volume Cult Movies series. Ever since I received the first book as a Christmas present, I’ve made it my ongoing life’s mission to someday see all 200 titles that Peary discusses.

The best thing I can say about Zardoz is that I am now able to scratch another film off that list. To say that Zardoz is a terrible film is like calling Hitler “eccentric.” Zardoz creates its own new category of terrible. It is breathtakingly, incomprehensibly, mind-blowingly bad in a way that must be seen to be believed, but must never, ever be seen by anyone. Mike and I took one for the team, and no matter how tantalizing it may sound after reading our reviews, I beg you: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. It is so terrible that its title should really stand as a universally-recognized synonym for atrociously bad. If I go to a coffee shop and tell them the ½ and ½ tastes Zardoz, they should immediately lock the place up and send every customer to the hospital. If I am at a café in France and I tell the waiter “Cet croque-monsieur est Zardoz!” he should walk straight back to the kitchen and stab the chef in the throat with an ice pick.

Here is what I learned from watching Zardoz: JOHN BOORMAN IS BARKING MAD. John Boorman is loonier than Golden pond. He’s nuttier than all the candy dishes in Tampa. I can say this with 100% certainty because Zardoz was not the result of tension between a writer and a director and meddling studio heads. Zardoz was written, produced, and directed by John Boorman. It is not an unfortunate accident, it is a labor of love. And if this is how John Boorman shows his love, he should be ostracized from society. He is criminally, dangerously insane. If you see John Boorman on the street, don’t just run … fly away at the speed of light, because like a Predator, if he senses your presence, he will not stop until you have been destroyed.

I hadn’t read Danny Peary’s description of Zardoz in years, so I was truly unprepared for what to expect. The only thing I knew about it was that it was the film in which Sean Connery spent most of the movie running around topless in short-shorts and fuck-me boots. His look has got to be one of the most unappealing ever committed to film. He looks like sweat. If sweat had a body, it would like exactly like Sean Connery in Zardoz.

Floating Head #1

Floating Head #1

The film actually started out with great promise. A floating head appears on the screen, telling the audience that the movie they’re about to see is “rich in irony and deeply satirical.” I think this comment in itself was meant to be ironic. To call Zardoz a satire is like calling a lump of shit a satire of pee. I don’t really know what that means, but when I wrote it down last night it sounded pretty clever.

After the first floating head, we cut to another head that slowly drifts through a cloudy sky as the credits roll. This floating head is giant and made of stone. This is Zardoz. I will do my best to attempt a rational explanation of what happens after this, even though a rational explanation is really much too kind for what Boorman forced me to endure. First, the giant stone head tells a group of assembled men that guns are good, and penises are bad. These men are to shoot people with their guns and avoid penises. Or avoid using their penises; it’s not really clear. Then, Zardoz spits a waterfall of guns out of its mouth. One of the men in this group is Sean Connery, who appears ready to cause some mischief. At this point, I’m still with the film, because it seems like it might be promisingly bizarre.

The Great and Powerful Zardoz

The Great and Powerful Zardoz

And then, everything starts to go horribly, horribly awry. Flash forward abruptly. Now Connery’s inside the stone head, which is filled with naked men and women shrink-wrapped into plastic bags. A movement comes from inside the head. Connery spies the floating-headed narrator who introduced the film, only now he has a body attached to his floating head. Connery shoots the man, the man falls out of Zardoz to (presumably) his death, Zardoz drops out of the sky.

Connery lands in some kind of futuristic village that we shall refer to as FancyLand. He dicks around for awhile, engaging with their absurd and inscrutable technology, until he’s finally discovered or captured by some hot chicks in skimpy clothing. The hot chicks take him to a room where they look at his memories. We learn his name is Zed, because that’s a clever name for someone who represents the end of something.

Zed, we learn, is an executioner from the outlands, which is where gross, “normal” people have been banished so the people of FancyLand can enjoy their endless dinner parties and homoerotic staring sessions without having to be surrounded by poverty. Zed is also a rapist. Hey, John Boorman, here’s a bit of advice for your future movies: if you want to make a protagonist appealing, it’s probably a good idea to keep the scenes of that protagonist engaging in brutal rape to a minimum. You’re no Kubrick, so don’t even try to go with that line of defense.

The middle third of the film involves Zed getting led around the city and learning about their strange customs. Or rather, we watch their strange customs and learn nothing. And what strange customs they have! The people of FancyLand sing weird. They talk weird. They even vote weird! In the future, we discover, it will be much more productive to vote using a variety of inscrutable hand gestures rather than saying “yes” or “no.” (Note: I am trying to insert some video so you can see some examples of these strange rituals, but it is a long and complicated process. Hopefully I will have something for you to look at soon, thus making you less likely to rent this brick of frozen vomit.)

The Natty Oldies

The Natty Oldies

Somehow, Zed (who is referred to as “monster”) is given to a fancy boy named Friend, which is a clever name for a friend. Friend teaches Zed the mysteries behind this society. In this crazy world, no one ages naturally. When people break the law or engage in thought crimes or whatever, their punishment is to be aged. Once you become old enough, you go senile and have to live in a house with all the other old people and wear a tuxedo all the time. Some of the people in the city have become apathetic, which means they stand around like zombies and don’t mind being raped, because of how it’s boring to never die. I guess no one can have babies, either, on account of how penises are bad. And everyone has crystals in their heads that connects them all to some main crystal palace or something. And people can die but they are grown into new bodies or … am I still talking?

So as the film goes on, we discover that Zed is a genius and he’s going to destroy this perfect society with his raw male sexuality. If Sean Connery in his Zardoz getup was the epitome of raw male sexuality in the 70s, then the 70s should be burned. In one scene, all the future people stand around and watch while Connery gets an erection. I am not kidding. Connery stands in the center of the room and everyone stares at him while he gets an erection. Luckily, they do not show the erection. The only thing that could possibly make Zardoz worse is if Boorman actually forced us to stare at Sean Connery’s hairy ballsack.

After that, we learn that Connery knows how to read, which is unusual, I guess, and at some point before he got to FancyLand he read The Wizard of Oz, which is (spoiler alert!) “Zardoz” without the “wi” or “of,” and so that’s how he learned that Zardoz wasn’t really a god, and then he hid out in the head and killed the headless narrator, who was the film’s equivalent of the man behind the curtain, and also who eventually returns to throw a plastic bubble at Connery for no discernible reason. And then all the apathetic people stop being apathetic and start revolting and having sex in public, and so Connery goes inside the crystal matrix and shoots himself, but he’s still alive, and then the apathetics try to clobber the fancy people, but Connery makes time go backwards, and he leads the fancy people to safety, but they all decide they want to die, so Connery’s old murdering buddies show up and kill everyone, except for Connery and some woman who’s been trying to kill him throughout the whole movie, and then they have a kid and turn into skeletons. The end.

Me and Mike after Watching Zardoz

Me and Mike after Watching Zardoz

I could go on and on slagging off Zardoz. It is truly one of the most magnificently bad films in existence. It is brutally ugly, adamantly unfunny, and passionately incomprehensible. We are never given any reason to care about any of these characters, and Zed might be the single most unlikeable protagonist to ever grace the silver screen. Also, because this is the 70s, a time when filmmakers loooooved to challenge sexual mores, this film is crawling with boobs. You cannot turn around without seeing a boob. One of the main female characters does not ever wear a shirt. (Mike, could you figure out who in the Hell this woman was? The topless woman? She had like 15 minutes of topless screen time and I have no idea what she was supposed to represent!)

I tell you this in the hopes that you will leave this review with one understanding: Zardoz was such a mess, that it was not even redeemed by the presence of almost nonstop boobs. And that is as bad as it gets, my friend. In fact, John Boorman may have just murdered sex for me. Zardoz is not just unsexy. It is sex’s Altamont.

On the Awkward Press scale of pizzas, I give Zardoz: negative pizzas! Zardoz is so bad, it owes me pizzas!

What say you, good sir?

Next: Mike gives Jeffrey a good, firm critical rogering!

Pages: 1 2

51 Comments to “The Awkward Movie Challenge: Zardoz”

  1. I had the horrible misfortune of seeing this one New Year’s Eve (and if that doesn’t scare you away from a New Year’s Eve “party” nothing will) and as my brain slowly recovered its ability to reason several days later, all I could think was: How the fuck did Boorman manage to make ‘Excalibur’ after this? What drug addled studio exec saw ‘Zardoz’ and thought, oh yeah, we gotta give this guy more money! Because I enjoyed ‘Excalibur,’ so whoever that exec was, the man has possibly the keenest eye for spotting potential in a pile of shit in the history of mankind.

  2. I’m with you on this one. Bizarre, bizarre movie. I fell asleep the first time I saw it. Last time I did that was during 10,000 BC so you see where I’m coming from.

  3. I was on vacation in Dominican Republic when I saw this one with the wife. We were literally incapable of changing the channel for two hours. It was like watching a car wreck, except that the cars kept mutating into weirder and weirder shit. Honestly, the ‘WTF’ quality of the movie is actually strong enough to keep you watching despite the fact that you’re in horrible, horrible pain.

  4. terence murphy says:

    You/re all too stuck in the mud to appreciate the fact that Boorman has
    deliberately obfuscated story lines and prior history within the context of
    the story to allow (force) the viewer to use their intelligence, prior knowledge and imagination to fill in the gaps.

    I have the sneaky suspicion that the general condemnation of this classic film is because the general cinema viewer thinks that science fiction in films begins and ends in Star Wars. Complex story lines and imaginative settings
    have been stock in trade of the science fiction literati for 120 years.

    The use of these sorts of devices in general release film has not been well received.

    Shame isn’t it.

  5. I ordered this movie online cause I heard about how bad it was, so my boyfriend and I watched it together. I was really stoned when I watched it, so I thought maybe that’s why I didn’t understand wtf was going on, but my boyfriend assured me it was just a really terrible film and didn’t make sense.

    I kind of wish I could erase the memory of it, and all those thousands of boob and rape scenes from my mind.

    • Classic. The only good reason to watch Zardoz stoned is if you’re looking to stop smoking pot. I hope you can still do so without thinking of boobs and rapes.

  6. A A Hewetson says:

    The only reason to watch Zardoz is to provide credibility for novel attempts to ridicule Zardoz.

    Zardoz, however, has been ridiculed by every person who has ever seen it.

    Consequently, nothing more remains to be said …

    and no one should ever view this vile pile of putrid excretia again.

  7. Great blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also.

  8. whoah this blog is excellent i like reading your posts. Stay up the good paintings! You know, lots of individuals are searching round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  9. Good blog! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  10. I imagined this was a truly good blog put up. I generally like reading content like this one particular. I should undergo more of your respective posts.

  11. So is red, I began to design targeted young fashion clothing line for large-scale productionVivienne Westwood UK In 2012, the enterprise electricity supplier strategy to be successful, revenue from online sales accounted for a quarter of the total revenue this year is expected to reach 50%Vivienne Westwood UK

  12. This season Vivienne Westwood and Melissa have once again teamed up to produce yet another range of footwear, with everything from sling back heels, to flat pumps to ankle boots. Designs vary from stylish buttons, to glitter, to such cute designs as wax seals, cherries, and hearts on toes of shoes.In a twist that sets them aside from other brands, Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes are made entirely from PVC. In beautiful colours, often cute pastels, the shoes really stand out and give a really girly look. There are even several styles for children.

  13. This is a message to the admin. Your Awkward Press | The Awkward Movie Challenge: Zardoz website is missing out on at least 300 visitors per day. I have found a company which offers to dramatically increase your traffic to your site: They offer 500 free visitors during their free trial period and I managed to get over 15,000 visitors per month using their services, you could also get lot more targeted visitors than you have now. Hope this helps :) Take care.

  14. If someone was totally unfamiliar with Saint Laurent’s elegant work, this show provides an exceptional classroom of what put the “Saint” in Laurent. I am fortunate to have covered Saint Laurent’s funeral as well as the two globally reported sales of his and Pierre Bergé’s splendid art and decorative arts collection. I also oohed and ahed over the Saint Laurent exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum in December of 2008, and his work never loses one iota of its vision or sparkle. It is breathtakingly fresh to see and experience, especially in this context.

  15. “Night pupil issued a howl waiting for a long time, than a horn loud and clear, to provoke the people more than the drums of war, pierced the quiet of the sun and moon turn, startled numerous birds. Day policy side of rapid response, it is clear that contrary to the Cang expectations Los, Amherst law chain of dollars and ability has nothing to hide, mulberry bag known as the undefeated God of War than a hundred years ago, to win with fewer many miracles, almost force guardian the Hai Feisi the sea virtual mausoleum Marshal far worse if it were their own, do not know in advance mulberry outlet trick, it would certainly account, annihilated, there is no suspense.

  16. Would a Mother Theresa joke be in poor taste?br /(too late?)

  17. we are making use of iscsi concentrate on with a get can be described as male impotence box, so it will be not just to get storage space machine. personally, i recommend eliminating storage area machine.
    cheap jordans

  18. Have you heard involving anyone who is actually mistakenly offender involving pirating skill? The INTERNET threatened me; even though the evidence he had absolutely not incriminated myself. The particular IP address he or she stated has been my very own basically belongs to a faculty region 35 miles northern involving myself. Since the motion picture I am just accused regarding pirating ended up being Harry Knitter, that will look one of the most reasonable destination for a try to find the root cause. Not really with my family… a new 54 year old who else definitely doesn’t similar to Harry Knitter so much… Would you guide? I actually count on the pc regarding career, to get rid of my very own world wide web will be tragedy in my life!
    Moncler Black Friday

  19. I merely purchased the actual PDF/ePub online edition last night… the actual ELECTRONICO carries a inherent hyperlink that will takes you with a obtain page for all the video clip content material.
    jordans for sale

  20. is there a some sort of detector wherein my very own chat lover would not understand that we employed surveillance cams terme conseillé? merely making sure right here.
    gucci outlet

  21. hermes replica products hermes replica handbags quentin ldyoldmee

  22. Once they carried off the particular playlist feature it has become definitely not well worth possibly $3. Anything at all helpful on the website can be purchased without cost.
    cheap jerseys

  23. checked out demonstrate just about all invisible documents below web server nonetheless simply no htaccess document. my partner and i won’t have it. this can be crazy, considerably aid essential the following. all of i have to do is definitely be capable of upload add ons on blogger hi there jamesi enhanced through starhub cable connection high speed broadband 40 mbps to help fiber braodband a hundred mbps and i also discover that fibre is actually sluggish than cable connection and becos of the hoopla offered around fibre created the actual swap and located that freshly leveling bot router likewise are unable to utilize not compatiblebetter in order to adhere to cable television broadbandbest rgdshozefa
    cheap beats by dre

  24. replicas de relojes hermes fake hermes constance belt large vqgsgpsv

  25. Many thanks so much! That is seriously pleasant to hear!

  26. Oh and I’m not a Liverpool or Chelsea supporter, but the way the Liverpool fans were still singing You’ll Never Walk alone when their team was losing and the game was almost finished was pretty. Big respect.

  27. We read on tweet last night that will Harry Reid may be shame of pederasty. The reason hasn’t already he or she attended to these types of accusations?
    louis vuitton replica

  28. in the Songza information an individual say we are in the renaissance associated with social websites.. btw means “rebirth” and this understanding web 2 . 0 is rather completely new, therefore causeing this to be some sort of genesis or even trend. Remorseful as a chic this pointed that will available.
    cheap beats

  29. I became under the perception how the targeted program might just be fastened to safe-keeping machine. On the other hand I not necessarily keep in mind just where I study that will.

  30. the LG R400 can identify the wifi nevertheless find it difficult to link… even if we deactiivate this pasword… their constantly claim it is come to be away from collection Excellent difficulty involving geting information new driver known as intel-video go, and so tha our notebook (RD400)does definitely not present videos effectively, while i try and obtain this document is actually not available, am i able to be given this specific through my very own e-mail?

  31. Plz have a tendency eliminate this publish. I have look for characteristic upon Warm Motif. Plz assist me to.

  32. You happen to be rightIbrahim: Search using Yahoo or google this particular driver: winxp_Graphic controlled series 945GMLit works fine along with your LG ELECTRONICS R400 notebook computer You should help me while this Bluetooth enabled is just not operating. In the past its had been performing but now soon after new installing of Window EXPERIENCE their no longer working. Even though I have tried out often times to set up Bluetooth’s drivers. Anybody can easily resolve this issue, make sure you help me. My spouse and i should be pleased to help in this regard. Regards, Younis

  33. I possess learn some really good things right here. Certainly really worth bookmarking for returning to. My partner and i wonder just how much effort you put for making this kind of impressive educational site.

  34. acknowledge my very own apology just for this mistake the appropriate web link is actually:

  35. Yeaha! I actually totally like Hypem. The most effective with the great deal I would say.

  36. My partner and i relish, trigger I recently found what exactly I became having a look regarding. You’ve ended the some moment extended quest! God Bless anyone person. Have a very good day. Bye Only to tell you your online web-site seems a little bit peculiar inside Apple safari in the computer using Linux.

  37. An individual suggest these comment bubbles? It can simply portion of the style and design My spouse and i produced and had become some sort of WP design. It’s not actually a new wordpress tool.

  38. Good blog! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  39. I became just simply questioning, what exactly does the RIAA workforce possess because facts that will Joel downloaded or perhaps uploaded tunes? And it is Joel actually forced to send his computer into the judge with regard to assessment or a thing? I am just only trying to know how one can possibly learn an individual is actually spreading audio with no playing the particular revealing on their own. I simply acquired a new correspondence through those crooks, i did not actually open it. Now i’m intending on only going to trial by myself (I have no choiceI can’t fork out! ), along with Now i’m only doing some fishing to get as much advice because i could.

  40. Ligtning fast shipping-exactly as described-thank you!

  41. Thus there is a wide spread of water from rain (and melting snow and ice) in seven typical regions, ranging from Tzfat with 715 mm, Tiberias with 400 mm, Haifa and Tel Aviv with 550 mm, Jerusalem with 600 mm, Sodom with 40 mm and Eilat with 30 mm.tuiles and a blue biscuit Dalek

  42. wholesale hermes bag china replica hermes mens belts prices rtitodtbgog

  43. Good post. I learn something new and challenging
    on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will
    always be useful to read through articles from other
    writers and use a little something from other websites.

  44. Many thanks John to get a great tip, actually non-developers similar to me personally should be able to draw this kind of off: )This is very essential the multi-international site on the subject of SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING.
    Monster Energy Beanies

  45. And while we’re very happy to witness this rare phenomenon, our first reaction if we were in the same situation as the cameraman who shot this? Run for your life!


1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Best Search Terms Ever | Awkward Press 20 08 09

Leave a Reply