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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: a guilty pleasure in the real sense
Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2022 at 01:30:46 pm EDT (Viewed 135 times)
Reply Subj: Sci-Fi Cinema #82 - A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Posted: Mon May 30, 2022 at 04:47:22 pm EDT (Viewed 182 times)

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A Boy And His Dog (1975)

It’s 2024 AD and World War 4 just ended. Roaming the apocalyptic desert wasteland are the boy, Vic (Don Johnson) and his dog, Blood (Tim McIntire's voice). They have a telepathic bond and their banter makes up the majority of what’s good about this movie.

Vic is not very likeable. The duo wander the wasteland in search of girls for Vic to 'nail' and food for Blood. Blood is good at tracking the broads and Vic can round up the food to keep them going. Vic is not very particular about whether or not the girls are willing. He’s happy enough to screw them at gunpoint just like the rest of the savage hordes.

Vic and Blood are solos, meaning they don’t belong to a gang. In their jouneys they run into some gangs and are pretty efficient at escaping from them, and sometimes stealing their food. They accumulate enough food to buy entry into an oasis that shows drive-in movies, mostly stag films.

Blood leads Vic to a shelter where a girl is hiding. Inside Vic finds Quilla (Susanne Benton) whom he intends to rape but they are interrupted by a gang of savages and they barely get out of the predicament alive. They manage to kill the attackers and keep the shelter to themselves where Quilla now has willing sex with Vic, multiple times, to Blood’s dismay.

But Quilla vanishes so Vic chases her to the Down Under, seemingly a missle silo and/or shelter where a community of underground denizens live. They are lead by Craddock (Jason Robards) who runs things like a twisted version of a small-town community with a high school band and town meetings. Apparently they lured Vic down here because none of them are fertile and they need to extract his seed to make more babies.

As Vic ultimately tries to escape, he is chased by an unkillable assailant whom I suppose is a robot? But he looks like a farmer. That was random.

The ending is rather grim and supposed to be darkly humorous. The screenplay was by director L.Q. Jones who I mostly know as an actor. It’s based on a 1969 novella by Harlan Ellison who didn’t like a lot of L.Q.’s dialogue including the last line, but allowed that perhaps L.Q. knew what the public wanted.

I read that George Miller considered this an influence on his Mad Max a couple years later. I’ll throw out another one, 1998’s Six-String Samurai where they also go from desert wasteland to underground shelters. Or even 1988’s Hell Comes to Frogtown where a society of females keep fertile males prisoner so they can milk their seed.

This may be a "kinky tale of survival" but I don’t know if it would play in the era of MeToo with a lead character who is an unapologetic rapist. It is probably somewhat true to life as to the savagery that humans can be reduced to when society collapses. Since he never actually gets around to raping anyone, I suppose it's no harm, no foul?

Harlan Ellison did follow his novella with a novel collecting several linked short stories. He also wrote a screenplay sequel that has yet to be filmed ("Blood’s a Rover") but I believe it was published in book form.

L.Q. Jones was working on his own sequel ("A Girl and Her Dog") which also never materialized.

I remember hearing this title a hundred times on ads for old Saturday afternoon movies but I never actually sat down and watched it until now. I can see why it’s a cult classic mostly for the humorous bickering between Vic and Blood, but it’s weirder than I thought.

I watched this one a couple of years ago and I completely understand what you say in your review. I heard about it on a podcast called "defend your sh@tty taste" and the guy who was talking about it was clearly embarrassed to admit he liked it.

Its a pretty interesting story, just nutty enough to be interesting. You can clearly see the world built was the post apocalypse road warrior idea without the cool cars. Interesingy, its after world war 4 rather than 3 as in every other apocalyptic sci-fi.

But the tone shift is so jarring in the second act that I just dont know what to make of it. I wanted to be back in the barren desert with the scary irradiated screamers whom we never get to see.

But yeah, its Vic, the protagonist (not hero), who makes it hard to stomach. Its realistic that a guy growing up in this world would be completely free of morals, but its hard to root for him. In a way he is similar to the "hero" in Blood for Dracula, the only other raping "hero" I can think of.

Blood, the dog, is fun in his interactions with Vic. Its hard to tell if they like each other or just need each other (at least until the end). The dog, while well-trained, was hard to believe as it looked bored in most of the scenes.

I can see why the film is a cult favourite because it does feel like it has deep ideas, like how close society would be to collapse and barbarism in a crisis, which feels pretty fresh in 1975. But it just doesnt quite manage to pull it off to my satisfaction.

There are some great behind the scenes videos on youtube showing just what a proper nutter Harlan Ellison was on this production.

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