Zardoz (1974) (part 2 of 15)
To supposedly “angelic” singing that makes the Exorcist II soundtrack sound inspired, we see the Giant Stone Head slowly floating along through the clouds, and the credits continue. The head turns and floats towards us. We close in on the huge, gaping mouth, and then there’s a cut and we’re inside the head looking out.
The camera slowly pans over to a pile of wheat, and suddenly the barrel of a gun comes poking out. It turns out to be the same revolver Sean Connery was holding earlier, and it looks like Sean Connery is still holding it. He climbs completely out of the big pile of wheat, scanning around the rocky interior of the head. Eventually, he spots some naked people, and they’re all catatonic and encased in big plastic bags [!].
Connery aims his gun around, but none of the nude figures move. He then journeys further into the cave-like head, seeing what looks like big piles of coconuts. He then wanders up some stairs to gawk at all the naked people in Ziploc bags. Wide-eyed, he waves his gun in their faces, but they don’t stir.
He then walks towards the front of the head and peers through the crystalline eyes. We get a POV shot and see a fisheye view of clouds and hills from high above. This spooks Connery, because he’s not used to air travel and he doesn’t know where to stow his carry-on luggage or put his tray during landing.
Soon, we see Arthur Frayn, the Chef Hat from the intro, wandering around the head and walking over to the gaping mouth. He decides to peer out of the mouth while Sean Connery sneaks around and comes up behind him.
Connery leaps down into the pile of grain and fires once at Frayn, striking him in the shoulder. Frayn weakly hangs onto the big stone teeth and examines his wound. “You… are foolish!” Dude, with that stupid drawn-on goatee, I wouldn’t talk. “I could’ve shown you!” he says. “Without me, you are nothing!”
Frayn, apparently watching this movie, yells out, “A bore!” He then repeats, “How pointless!” a couple of times as he falls out of the mouth to his death. So, I guess he knows how the movie will end.
Sean Connery goes to the mouth and looks out, and he just sees… more rolling hilltops, and no sign of Arthur Frayn and his chef-hat self. Does this mean something? Who knows.
Then, it’s back to an exterior shot of the Big Stone Head cruising along. It passes over a lake, while Connery cowers behind a couple of naked chicks in Ziploc bags. The Head eventually lands near a village, and Sean Connery climbs down out of the head’s mouth and looks around. He finds some very quaint chateaus surrounding him, and behind one building is a plastic terrarium that looks remarkably like a giant plastic ass.
Diaper-clad Connery goes forward with gun in hand and enters the building, finding it to be a mill where flour is being deposited out of canvas chutes. He sniffs the pouring stream of flour, then walks over to a table and finds a stiff, green loaf of bread that he whacks against the table.
Sean Connery hears a noise and whirls around with his gun, but sees nothing. He runs out of the mill and goes over to the big plastic terrarium ass and touches one of the “cheeks”. Hilariously, it gives off a sound like a rubber duckie being squeezed [!].
He walks inside a nearby building, finding several plants inside big puffy Ziploc bags. He then jabs one like it’s a punching bag, and it makes a noise like sleigh bells [?], and then we hear it say, “Ah!” [!!] He continues to examine the puffy baggies, growing alarmed when one turns out to have an opening that he can stick his arm straight through. Meanwhile, there’s lots and lots of echoing “drip drip” noises the whole time.
Connery then continues forward through a doorway. Several plastic tubes are routed through the doorway, and each one is carrying a thick primary-colored fluid. So, is this a finger paint factory? Finally, Connery is confronted with a door, and not quite knowing what to do, he aims his gun at it for a little while. Finally, he figures out that it swings open. You know, I often do the same thing myself when confronted with those automatic doors at supermarkets.
Anyway, he finds a staircase and heads up, instantly mastering “steps”. He comes to a cramped room filled with lots of knick-knacks, which looks like somebody fixed up the attic to put their college-age son in. Drawn on the wall is a chart of the evolution of man, with life size sketches of all our ancestors, all the way up to Australopithecus, Neanderthal, and Homo Sapiens. Guess which one best describes the filmmakers.
After Homo Sapiens is a fey looking guy in a floppy chef hat bearing the caption “Eternal”. So, I guess this is Arthur Frayn’s species, and wearing that stupid hat is really an evolutionary trait.
After the Eternal, there’s a big huge question mark on the wall. Heavy, heavy. Is this where we all evolve into Mysterians?
Sean Connery continues to walk around, getting slightly spooked by a skeleton. He then pulls back what looks like a shower curtain, and behind this is another curtain made out of silver tinsel [!!]. He pushes past that into what, by all rights, looks like a headshop. I half-expect a guy in a tie-dye shirt to offer to sell Connery a bong or some magic mushrooms.
Connery looks around the headshop, then pulls back a purple curtain with a glittery Z on it. Behind this is a painting of Zardoz the Giant Stone Head. Connery actually jumps back in fright, even though he seemed to have no qualms about actually being inside of the real thing a few minutes ago.
Then he locates a Jack in the Box [!] and instantly figures how to crank it. It plays “Pop Goes the Weasel” and Connery gets a little smile on his face. Then the clown pops out and Connery flips out. He points his gun at it for a while [!], but forgets all about it when he hears a chime and a calm voice pronounce, “Attention. Harvest produce report,” over and over.
Connery scans around the room searching for the source of the voice. When he finds it, it turns out to be a big cubic zirconium mood ring. Connery puts it to his ear to listen to the voice, when suddenly the ring starts projecting a beam of light. In some way, the ring actually projects words onto thin air. (Well, the way is that the words are actually being projected on a pane of glass, if you want to know the truth. Sorry to ruin the illusion.)
The calm ring voice says that “Vortex 4 needs soap, apples, salt, leather.” And these words are projected as sort of a shopping list in thin air. The projected words, however, are spelled “needz”, “applz”, “solt” and “lethur”. Wow, Zardoz is a l33t hax0r!
The ring continues to go through a list of various numbered “Vortex” places, listing what they each “needz” or, instead, if they have a surplus of something. For those keeping track, Vortex 9 needs “karratz”, which is the title of a rap song in the making if I ever heard one.
Sean Connery puts his hand in front of the ring and sees the shopping list projected on his hands. Then he looks into the ring, and the list is then projected on his head. The projection doesn’t really line up with the angle of the ring, but no matter. It’s still “cool” and “arty”, right? Finally, the ring chimes and turns off.
Connery, a man of a single purpose, tells the ring, “Food.” The ring projects an image of a loaf of bread in thin air. Then he says, “Meat!” and the image turns into a raw rack of lamb. Wow, what else can this thing show us? Um… boobies! Salma Hayek naked!
Connery tries to grab at the meat, but his hand passes right through it. Connery then wonders aloud who lives here, and the ring responds by projecting Arthur Frayn in front of him. Connery totally freaks out, probably thinking that he’s going to be forced to watch this movie starting from the intro.
The projection says, “I am Arthur Frayn. Vortex Four.” The projection then shifts to a close up of Frayn’s eyes [?] and then a close up of just one of his eyes [??]. Connery freaks and puts a hand over the ring to shut it up. We then see the purpose of the “eye” close-up when he pulls his hand off, and an eye is projected on his palm. Ooh, this means something, right?
The voice repeats, “Arthur Frayn. Vortex Four.” Connery then sweeps the ring around for no apparent reason, projecting the eye all around on the ceiling. He puts a hand on the ring again, and when he takes it off, the eye is now projected on his forehead [?]. Uh, yeah. I mean, I know it’s all arty ‘n’ stuff, but what the hell is the point?
Connery finally grunts and stuffs the ring under an armchair cushion. He hears a woman’s voice outside yelling, “Three from Vortex Eight! Four from Vortex Five!”
He looks out a window and sees hippie types busily walking around, and one of them says there was an accident and that there are “fourteen bodies for repair!” Connery peers out another window and sees… uh, nothing but trees, really. Regardless, he decides to head down.