Ah, Zardoz (1974). A film venerated on local heavy rock t-shirts and adult soapbox derby cars alike (I saw one on Mt. Tabor)! There’s even a Zardoz belt buckle on Etsy, if you should feel so inclined. Why yes, that is Sean Connery in the thigh-high boots, orange loincloth, and thick ‘70s stache. He plays Zed, a Brutal Exterminator, whose band of thuggish horsemen terrorize other Brutals and take their grain. They offer it to their god, Zardoz, a giant flying stone head who vomits guns at them in return. But Zed is not your average brute, and one day he hitches a ride in the old stony noggin. He inadvertently kills his God… and discovers who’s really pulling the strings. This is what happens when you make a lot of money off Deliverance, and then try too hard to make intelligent SF full of Big Concepts and Existential Themes. If you have somehow missed this up till now, well, it’s time for you to ride with the Brutals.
Next, The Visitor (1979). I’m telling you, this is worth setting up a Hoopla account for. I saw this at the Hollywood theater about a year ago and laughed all the way through. It’s about a little girl who’s the spawn of a cosmic power known as Sateen. She has telekinetic powers, a pet hawk, and can shoot lasers out of her eyes. This leads to a priceless ice skating scene where she uses her powers for ill… very ill (move over, Tonya Harding!) An awkward peroxide-blond Christ figure warns us of Sateen’s evil and sends a Visitor to combat the ancient menace and prevent it from fathering more children and taking over the world. Somehow Lance Henriksen, Shelley Winters, John Huston, Sam Peckinpah, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all got themselves mixed up in this debacle. It’s their loss, and our gain.. oh is it ever.
It’s hard to do justice to the sheer wacked majesty of these films with the written word… instead, feast your eyes upon the trailers (note that both films have some edgy moments):
And if you just can’t get enough, try these.