The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

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--Matt

Friday, July 27, 2007

Zardoz (1974)

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A friend of mine got a copy of this. He'd only heard good things, and it just seemed right up our alley. Apparently Sean Connery had trouble finding work after the Bond movies, and so the film makers got him on the cheap. Hopefully he made his money back in Rising Sun, Entrapment, and Highlander 2.

Zardoz takes place in a senseless future (meaning to the viewer, it makes no sense). Connery is a scantily clad savage that gets guns from the mouth of a big stone head and uses them to kill dirty businessmen. Curious about the head, he climbs inside and it takes him to a group of immortals who saved all of the world's achievements. The immortality comes from a crystal. The brutality of the savage Connery upsets the fragile society, but maybe for the good... I guess... anyway, he eventually slides into the crystal, shoots something, then sits next to one of the women, and the two age into skeletons.

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This movie makes zero sense. I'm not sure what it was trying to say, if it was trying to say anything at all. At some point, I think after the opening credits, I gave up. This would be an absolutely horrible thing, if the movie wasn't so damn funny. The outfits, the stone head, the Connery: it all just worked, even if the film itself didn't. When people talk about watching bad movies, this is what they're talking about.

The Connery factor is too sweet. He's dressed in this leather harness thing that was probably the inspiration for the Spartan garb in The 300. He's also got this long, braided ponytail. The whole thing is fabulous. If Connery as a Russian or a Spaniard by way of Egypt or even barking out orders in Japanese excites you, then this will blow your mind. It's that hot.

Men in business suits are tracked by people like Connery and shot at or in caught in nets. The only possible explanation for this is the film maker's attempt at a metaphor for Weber's iron cage of bureaucracy. Connery and his cronies might be the representation of the all-powerful state enforcing holding the bureaucrats in their cubicles. Maybe, on the other hand, I'm reading too much into this to link it's abject silliness with Max Weber's analysis of human society. It's probably that.

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The crystal made no sense, especially how it imparted immortality. One of the things that the immortals could do was make one of their own old. Connery found this huge nursing home where they stored all the oldies. They tried to kick his ass, and he barely made it out alive. Had this old age home thing happened early on, it would have seemed strange and out of place. By the time we see it, though, we're so lost already, that the only recourse left is to laugh at it, which I personally think is better, because it really is funny.

If you consider yourself a connoisseur of bad films like I do, this is a must have. I really should have my own copy, but instead am settling for having a friend with one. For a while it was on the free movies section of ON Demand, which is an amazing deal, because this is worth paying for. I'd pay $10-$15 for it on DVD, which if you've seen the other columns, that's a pretty big recommendation. I must stress, though, that if you're someone who can't handle a film that makes no sense whatsoever, is silly beyond recognition, and has a scantily clad Sean Connery, avoid it at all costs. For me, those three things make it the Tops, as they used to say, so I'm all about buying it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070948/

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