Zotz! is a 1962 fantasy/comedy film produced and directed by William Castle, about a man obtaining magical powers from a god of an ancient civilization. The film is based on the 1947 novel of the same name by Walter Karig.
A brilliant but peculiar professor of Ancient Eastern languages, Jonathan Jones, finds that an amulet sent to his niece Cynthia by a boyfriend from an archeological dig has magical powers.
Just by pointing at another living creature and saying the word "Zotz!", Jones can cause great pain or a strange change in another person's behavior. Both government and Communist agents immediately develop an interest in the amulet's possible military use. (This is a metaphor for the age of nuclear weapons, as the novel was written two years after atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
In the meantime, Jones and rival professor Kellgore are both in line for a promotion to take over from retiring Dean Updike as head of this California university's language department. A new colleague and possible romantic interest, Professor Fenster, is startled by Jones' behavior, particularly at a party thrown by Updike's wife that turns into chaos.
The film begins with director-producer Castle standing up from his chair, points to the Columbia Pictures Torch Lady logo and saying "Zotz!". The Torch Lady breaks her silent character and says "Zotz? What's Zotz?". The film ends with the logo lady saying, "Zotz all," a play on the words "That's all."
- Tom Poston as Professor Jonathan Jones
- Julia Meade as Professor Virginia Fenster
- Jim Backus as Professor Kellgore
- Cecil Kellaway as Dean Updike
- Margaret Dumont as Persephone Updike
- Fred Clark as General Bullivar
During the initial theatrical run, theater patrons received a full-size plastic replica of the amulet as a promotional item. In color, size and design, the replicas were essentially identical to the film amulet, with the additional feature of a small hole drilled at the top, for a key chain.
On October 20, 2009, Zotz! was released on DVD as part of The William Castle Collection box set by Sony Pictures.
- Zotz! at the Internet Movie Database
- Zotz! title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database