Thursday, 19 January 2012

Zeta One (1969)

It’s hard to drop even a line about any classic exploitation movie without a certain distance. I suppose it’s kind of a necessary presumption to take that before you start watching this particular (as it ought to be), newly bought, obscure gem, it’s plot will be bland, acting not very refined, photography ridiculous and special effects as cheap as it takes. Well, welcome to B-movie world, which you visit only if you’re stoned or determined enough, because only then you can pull it together. This applies to "Zeta One" as well, so sit back and chill out first, please.

60’s were definitely faddish times! Artistic and financial creativity in the field of filmmaking gave birth to a lot of odd artifacts, which dumped by distributors after couple of screenings were shelved or stored by directors themselves, but with time a whole culture arose around it. Call it "cult movie culture", "digging in obscurities" or "rarity seeking", but some people just find a pure pleasure in discovering something, that not many have seen, even if it’s as bad as "Astro Zombies" (1968) or "The Hellcats" (1967). Fortunately, "Zeta One" is an excellent movie in it’s class. A bizarre mix of spy and sexsploitation loosely whooping up pop sci-fi themes with not the worst acting you’ll ever see and definitely hot chicks. This strictly British nugget was shot mostly in Camden Studios, in London while the capital wast still swingin’.

We embrace the plot in a form of retrospection. Our dear storyteller is a secret agent James Word, who just accomplished the most amazing assignment you will ever hear about. By the will of Her Majesty The Queen he’s been ordered to figure out what a notorious villain – Major Bourdon had been up to making his moves around the town, dropping a puzzle word Zeta and finally meeting North London stripteaser. As the action picks up we find out that he’s been looking for mysterious Zeta One – another dimension space station, inhabited only by women, who were beforehand kidnapped in different countries and brainwashed to serve their beautiful blonde queen, Zeta. As a matter of fact, Major Bourdon has a serious beef with her trying by all means to end this oasis of feminine power, hence we are thrilled to watch their all out war.

As I noticed at first, there’s no really need to care about a screenplay here as this film has little to none artistic quality (excuse me, did I really say it?). Director kept a strong sense of aesthetics instead, editing his work into colourful bricolage of topless chicks, mod clothing, absurd action scenes and occasional psychedelic effects like feminine, naked body floating on a dynamically splashing background (certainly, not without a motive). We even get James Word playing strip poker and parading in wellies, a whole basket of goodies indeed. In fact, why not indulge and sip a bit of this space-sex-spy cocktail, which by the way has a great fusion soundtrack? And finally there’s an important note for you – vintage nudes’ hunters, that waving tits are more often on than off here and some are delicious ones. After all this is one of the most eccentric 60’s exploitation pictures and a very funny one, so don’t hesitate too much if you like that kind of immagination.