Even though we’re well past the year 2000, we’re still having trouble coming to grips with the fact that today’s present is nowhere near as excitingly futuristic as sci-fi movies had promised us back when we were kids. There are no moving sidewalks, cars still drive on boring old roads, and we have yet to meet a robot butler who’s half as sassy as Rosie from The Jetsons. However, there is one reason we’re glad that the future hasn’t evolved in the way that filmmakers had envisioned: We have much better hairstyles in the year 2009 than they do in the future! Seriously, we’re not sure what terrible fate awaits our planet’s well-trained beauty-school graduates in the future, but whatever it is, we’re fairly certain that our species’ ability to wield a pair of scissors will disappear. In honor of Bruce Willis’s offensively awful haircut (*cough* wig *cough*) in this weekend’s release of the futuristic thriller Surrogates, your friendly Vulture editors have put together the following list of twelve terrible hairstyles from some of our favorite sci-fi films and programs of the past.
Actor: John Travolta
Film: Battlefield Earth (2000)
The Do: Travolta plays Terl, the leader of an humanoid alien race called Psychlos. As afraid of shampoo as he is obsessed with gold, Terl’s bedraggled whiteboy dreadlocks indicate that Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz’s influence will scarily continue on well into the year 3000.
Actor: Chris Tucker
Film: The Fifth Element (1997)
The Do: In Luc Besson’s ambitious yet wildly uneven sci-fi epic, Tucker portrays Ruby Rhod, an interstellar, bisexual disc jockey that is one part Howard Stern, one part Wendy Williams, and one part Publisher’s Clearing House–era Ed McMahon. The only thing more annoying than Rhod’s motormouth is his bottle-blond hairstyle, which for some reason prominently features some sort of phallic cannon protruding from his forehead.
Actor: Gary Oldman
Film: The Fifth Element (1997)
The Do: Apparently not content with having one star of his film wearing one of the worst coifs of this or any other era, director Luc Besson decided to give Oldman’s Southern-accented arms dealer this doozy of a do. Zorg’s hair is shaved clean on the sides and in back, but he sports jet-black bangs that look as if they came straight from a Just for Men bottle.
Actor: Leonard Nimoy
Television Program: Star Trek (1966–1969)
The Do: There are dozens (if not hundreds) of things that we’ve never quite understood about Star Trek. However, the one that most often keeps us up at night is this: If we are to believe that Vulcans are indeed the most logical of all species in the universe, why do they sport such terrible bowl cuts?
Actor: John Lithgow
Film: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
The Do: In the beginning of this cult classic, the nefarious Dr. Lizardo is trapped at the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane, which goes a long way toward explaining his fright-wig-by-way-of-Aquanet hairstyle. That said, we have to cut Dr. Lizardo some slack: The wind-tunnel effect that happens when one travels across eight dimensions has a dangerous effect on one’s hair, no matter how much Aquanet one uses.
Actor: Sean Connery
Film: Zardoz (1974)
The Do: In the year 2293, a postapocalyptic band of ponytailed warriors named the Exterminators wander the earth. Connery plays the role of Zed, who commits sins not only against fashion (that codpiece!), but also against well-thought-out hairstyles. Despite the fact that he is clearly balding, he desperately tries to cling to his virility by growing a ponytail so long and so atrocious that it embarrassed even Willie Nelson.
Television Show: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1985–1987)
The Do: By the power of Grayskull, PLEASE GET A NEW HAIRCUT! Despite his impressive physique and magical sword, He-Man’s blond pageboy haircut did little to strike fear into the hearts of Skeletor and the other enemies of Eternia.
: Adrian and Niel Rayment
: The Matrix Reloaded
: Lots of things went wrong for the Wachowski brothers when they made their two ill-conceived sequels to The Matrix
. Aside from the legendarily awful orgy/rave scene
, their biggest blunder was giving the albino Tweedledee and Tweedledum white dreadlocks. While it may be true that “there is no spoon” in the computer-generated Matrix, we have a hard time believing there is no BoRics.
: Ricardo Montalban
: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
We applaud Ricardo Montalban for having such a flowing wig mane of gray hair at who knows what age, but c’mon homes, it’s the future! Can’t you find someone in the solar system who can cover up those roots?
Actor: Tina Turner
Film: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1984)
The Do: If Khan were a female, he’d be Tina Turner’s Aunty Entity. Aunty Entity holds court over the manure-seeking masses in the postapocalyptic future, but apparently none of her minions know how to properly hold a pair of scissors. Bonus points for cool shoulder pads and even cooler earrings, but even Tyra Banks would be embarrassed to wear that wig.
Film: Dune (1984)
The Do: In David Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, the only thing brighter than the sun(s) is the shockingly orange plumes of hair sported by the members of the Harkonnen clan. While it’s good to know there are hair dryers in the future, we’re pretty sad to see that the science of dyeing hair has infinitely regressed. Put it this way: George Costanza’s father on Seinfeld would’ve demanded his money back from the barbershop had he come away looking like this!
Actor: Carrie Fisher
Film: Star Wars (1977)
The Do: Sure, George Lucas famously prefaced his tale with “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” but what kind of jibber-jabber is that? In our book, anytime there are spaceships and laser weaponry, that counts as the future. We know Leia’s buns have become somewhat iconic (especially for Ross on Friends), but let’s face facts: If anyone wore those out in a social setting other than Halloween or Comic-Con, they’d immediately be laughed off the planet.