film & game reviews, the retro way.

REVIEW

DIRECTOR

L.Q. Jones

WRITERS

L.Q. Jones

Alvy Moore

Wayne Cruseturner

CAST

Don Johnson

Tim McIntyre (voice)

Susanne Benton

Jason Robards

Charles McGraw

Michael Rupert

One of only two movies directed by veteran actor L. Q. Jones, A Boy And His Dog is a cult sci-fi thriller from 1975 set in a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic Earth where society has divided itself into two rather twisted slices of madness.

 

We follow Vic, an 18 year-old boy played by Don Johnson, who walks through the desolate wasteland that is the world, thieving and scavenging, with the help of a telepathic dog he calls Blood. Yes, this movie's best kept secret is that it's both a very adult science fiction film with some genuinely disturbing elements and it's also got a dark sense of humour, hence the talking dog. Before you picture a cross between Steel Dawn and Show Dogs, I should point out that A Boy And His Dog is a much better and more interesting movie than these two combined.

 

This is a truly messed-up and unpleasant depiction of the future, one that's a lot more daring and repellent than in most science fiction films, so be warned: it does contain some pretty graphic scenes à la Clockwork Orange. The world above ground is one where men are monsters who kill and enslave each other, where rape is an everyday occurrence, so it's particularly scary to see our protagonists, not only fail to criticize this society, but not even try and actually take part in it.

 

Vic and Blood, along with Quilla (Susanne Benton), a young woman they met along the way, discover a city underground called Topeka, in which a seemingly more civil society has prevailed, with Quilla's father, played by Jason Robards, being part of the ruling Committee. Topeka, it turns out, is also quite twisted in its own way and Vic eventually rejects it. This is one movie the likes of which you rarely encounter. It's the kind of film you see once and remember vividly long after. This unsettling vision of the future and the passive way in which our supposed heroes have accepted and adapted to it, along with the black humor throughout, especially when it comes to the shocking ending, makes A Boy And His Dog a hard film to forget.

If you're not expecting anything from it, it's likely to send a few (probably unwelcome) surprises your way. For such a low budget film, it really makes quite an impact. With a premise as potentially silly as this, it's a miracle that it never turns into a joke like the much campier Barbarella or Zardoz.

 

It'll turn off some viewers pretty quickly but A Boy And His Dog is, frankly, a must see. It's never particularly pleasant but there's something fascinating about this world gone mad and its odious inhabitants who have resigned to the folly around them, regrettably, without much resistance.

 

Bizarre.

TheRetroCritic

A BOY AND HIS DOG