Zardoz (1974) (part 11 of 15)

Okay, about here is where I accepted that I’m just going to be completely lost for the rest of the movie. It’s still nighttime, and some of the Renegades come through a clearing. There’s lots of shouting and laughter, and we see some of the Apathetics throwing fruit at each other. Then the Renegades march past a naked Apathetic couple having sex on the lawn [!].

The woman, riding on top of the guy, stops and tugs the lead Renegade’s arm. “It’s a miracle!” she says. “We’re Apathetics!” Oh God, my head is hurting. The lead Renegade, by the way, is wearing a top hat and carrying a safety flare [!]. He’s being followed by a guy in a Dracula cape [!] and another guy with his face painted white [!]. Also among them is an unidentified person in a old bridal outfit [!], a Turn of the Century lace doily number, with the face completely covered by a veil.

“Tell us how, please!” Top Hat Guy cries. “We want some too!” Oh, I bet he wants some. Dracula and Bridal Outfit then come across a very naked Apathetic Chick getting ridden by Purple Chef Hat Guy. Helpfully, they’ve both left their chef hats on, but nothing else. “We started chasing the Brutal,” Apathetic Chick explains. “We got excited!” Yeah, we gathered.

She further explains, “We saw someone! We thought it was him!” Purple Chef Hat looks up and says, “It wasn’t! But we killed him anyway!” And I might end up saying this a lot for the rest of the recap, but please don’t feel bad if you’re lost. You’re not the only one.

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Bridal Outfit passes by two more Apathetics getting it on, and the guy pauses in boinking to say, “And then we felt desire!” Geez, would you guys just shut up and have sex already?

So, it would appear, to me at least, that the Apathetics are now not so apathetic. And what’s the opposite of “apathetic”? That’s right. “Pathetic”. I mean, I’m just sayin’.

Dracula, who turns out to be the same guy with the skull painted on his forehead, tells Bridal Outfit, “Look at the excitement you’ve caused, you naughty girl!” Top Hat and Dracula lead Bridal Outfit forward, until they come upon the home of the Eternals.

Connie is leading a group on horseback. She yells, “If you find the Brutal, destroy immediately!” As soon as they ride off, Friend appears out of the woodwork, still wearing a tux, and with half of his face still aged. Dracula calls out to him, pointing to the person in the Bridal Outfit. Dracula says, “Kiss the bride, dear Friend!”

Now here’s where the movie basically just implodes. Dracula pulls back the veil on the Bridal Outfit, and it’s Zed [!!!]. Good. Lord. I mean, for the love of all that’s holy, these are the kinds of images you normally blackmail people with.

Zardoz (1974) (part 11 of 15)

Now we know why brides wear the veil.

“You did well!” Friend exclaims. “I will take the bride!” Then he happily says, “Death comes closer for us all! Find May!” He leads Z-Dawg back to the place where they keep all the statues.

Cut to inside the statuary, where May wanders around with Zed’s revolver [!?!]. Sure, why not? She cruises past some marble statues, then finally spots Friend entering with Z-Dawg. She yells to Friend that she “cannot sanction this violence and destruction!”

Unfortunately, says Friend, “there’s no going back!” May pleads with him not to “destroy the Vortex!” She explains that “a better breed could prosper here, given time!” Friend scoffs at this. “Time?” he yells. “Wasn’t Eternity enough?” Okay, what? 300 years, people. 300 years is not Eternity. Sitting through this movie, on the other hand…

Z-Dawg suddenly pops out from behind some statues. Thankfully, he’s now back in his red diaper, and, to be honest, I never thought I would actually be this happy to see him in it. “This place is against life,” he tells May. “It must die.”

Z-Dawg goes to take back his revolver from May. She says, “I have my followers. Inseminate us all [!!!], and we’ll teach you all we know!” Uh… deal. Personally, I wouldn’t have to think for more than ten seconds about that little offer. I mean, most of the Eternals are pretty damn hot except for Freaky Freckle Face over there. And even her I could get into, if I had enough to drink.

She says that with the knowledge they give Z-Dawg, there’s a good chance he still might be able to smash up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She says either he can break it, “Or be broken.” Huh?

Friend steps forward, grabs the gun, and says, “An end to eternity.” May replies, “A higher form.” And Z-Dawg says, “Revenge.” Whatever you say, dudes. Damn, I do not have the slightest clue what’s happening here.

Zardoz (1974) (part 11 of 15)

“Okay… Shoulders square to the table… One foot on the ground… Ready… go!”

We then immediately cut to Connie leading a mob of Eternals, and they’re all running in slow motion [?]. Some of them have a battering ram, and it looks like they’re trying to break down the door to the statuary. In slow motion, Connie cries, “Charge!” and then we suddenly freeze-frame on her face [?].

We then hear Z-Dawg ask May how much time they have. “We will not work in time,” is May’s reply. “You will take our knowledge by osmosis, out of time!” Nope, that isn’t even close to what “osmosis” means.

As she talks, we pan across several women standing in a dark room, and waving their hands in front of the camera. As they do so, random colors and shapes are being projected onto their hands. “We will touch-teach you,” May explains. “And you will give us your seed!” Oh, I see. So “osmosis” is another word for “group sex”. Now I get it.

Meanwhile, paintings are being projected on the women’s hands. In the background, we hear a woman dictating a mathematic formula. What follows is a long, long montage of all the characters in front of a completely black background, with lots of random stuff being projected on them.

We see Topless Chick, once again topless. She’s got some kind of computer display projected on her head as she kneels down over Z-Dawg. She sweeps her hands past his head, and suddenly the projection moves from her body to his head. This is them “touch-teaching” him, in case you were confused. But hey, why would you be?

We hear May’s voice say some vaguely educated stuff in the background, while Topless Chick totally makes out with Z-Dawg. Hey, if this is osmosis, bring it on.

Then there’s more hand-waving and paintings projected on women’s hands as a woman speaks in Italian [?]. Several hands wiggle on the same plane, and Z-Dawg rises up through their hands [?], while some painting or something is being projected on all of them.

Then we see Topless Chick again, and she’s topless again, and as random images are projected on her body, she begins “Speaking Norwegian”. At least, that’s what the subtitles say. We pan over and find Z-Dawg with random letters and numbers being projected on him, and his eyes are wide and he’s staggering around.

Then we find May talking to Z-Dawg, and stuff is being projected on both their bodies. According to the subtitles, May is “Speaking French”. Then we cross-fade into another chick reciting the poem “The Tiger” by William Blake, while a Renaissance painting of the Virgin Mary is being projected on her body.

Zardoz (1974) (part 11 of 15)

Like, wow!

Then more stuff is projected on Z-Dawg’s face. Then we cut to May, with sheet music projected onto her face, as she sings about an “invisible worm that flies in the night”. As opposed to the very visible worm in Z-Dawg’s diaper.

Then we see paintings and mathematical formulae projected onto Z-Dawg’s face and hear Topless Chick recite lines from Dante’s Inferno. She says, “Through me, you pass into eternal sorrow.” Yeah, no kidding.

Then we see a woman singing, while projected onto her face is the face of a clown in a painting. Wow! Artistry! Hey, that’s the surefire way to make your less-than-artistic movie seem brilliant. Just rip off everything you can from great works of art!

Zardoz (1974) (part 11 of 15)

Oooh! Ahhh!

Then we cut to a naked May explaining Marxist philosophy while mathematical formulae are projected on her breasts. And you know, sometimes you type a sentence that makes you stop and ask yourself, did I really just type that?

Then we hear a “Woman Reciting Gaelic”, according to the subtitles. This scene goes on, and on, and on, and then finally decides to top it all off by giving the audience motion sickness, as people fly past the camera faster and faster, until we feel like we’re spinning.

Then we find an unconscious Z-Dawg back in the statuary. May tells him that he knows “all that we know!” Z-Dawg abruptly sits up and cries, “It’s a prison! A prison!” Jerry, marriage is a prison! A man-made prison!

Friend, still sitting nearby, comments, “No, it’s an Ark.” [!!] Hey, that’s what I was gonna say! “A ship,” he clarifies. “A space ship!” Oh geez, aren’t there enough wacky ideas in this movie?

“All this technology was for travel to distant stars,” Friend explains. Z-Dawg wants to know if they ever went there. “Yes,” Friend tells him. “Another dead end!” Uh, so why even bother to mention it in the first place?

Multi-Part Article: Zardoz (1974)

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