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A Boy and His Dog - Shout! Factory Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 04 September 2017
Severed Cinema Review of A Boy and His Dog from Shout! Factory


AKA: Mindwarp: An Infinity of Terror, Planet of Horrors, Quest, Galaxia do Terror, Planeta Terror, AKA: Apocalypse 2024, O meniono e seu Cachorro, Mad Don, Un muchacho y su perro, 2024 Apocalipsis Nuclear, Cocuk ve Kopek, Um Rapaz e o Seu Cao

Directed by: L.Q. Jones
Written by: L.Q. Jones, Harlan Ellison
Produced by: Tom Connors, Alvy Moore, L.Q. Jones
Cinematography by: John Arthur Morrill
Editing by: Scott Conrad
Special Effects by: Frank Rowe, Wes Dawn
Music by: Tim McIntire
Cast: Don Johnson, Tim McIntire (voice), Jason Robards, Susanne Benton, Charles McGraw, Hal Baylor, Helene Winston, Tiger
Year: 1975
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 30min

Studio: LQ/JAF
Distributor: Shout! Factory

You know what? I do love a good post apocalypse film. The wastelands, the brutal violence, the scavengers. In my own opinion, aside from George Miller, the Italians rock up the best ones. Saying that, there’s been some sweet oddities around. The Bed Sitting Room, for instance. It’s everything a film of that genre shouldn’t be, but it works (from the UK who created one of the most chilling dramas of all time, Threads), Bad Boy Bubby, which was and wasn’t a post apocalypse movie, and then there’s this one, A Boy and His Dog. Sounding like a novel by Enid Blyton, or Barbara Woodhouse if she had turned writer, this one is so incredibly off the wall it makes you look twice. Based in fact on a novella by the legendary, Harlan Ellison. Oh yes.

Like many good quality post apocalypse trash movies,
A Boy and His Dog opens up with the flashes of nuclear warheads as we are told that World War IV basically took out near enough everybody and lasted five days. Welcome to 2024. Let’s keep in mind that Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior hadn’t been made yet, so this movie having the look and feel of that one makes you ponder if it was perhaps an inspiration to Mr. Miller.

Our central character is a lone wandering scavenger called Vic. He prowls the wasteland deserts and rocks, doing what he needs to do. His companion is a telepathic mutant dog, named Blood, who speaks in his mind like a cross old man. “I don’t know how I’ve managed to keep you alive for so long!” the dog grumbles as his human buddy nearly gets killed if not for a warning by the dog. “You’re just as ignorant as any other common rover.” he snarls more when some advice is duly ignored. After discovering the corpse of a woman left by other scavengers, Vic is annoyed. “She could have been used two or three more times!” Blood simply states, “War is hell.” These quips could have been annoying, however, in the context of the movie and the voice used, it is blackly humorous. “You’re sexually frustrated.” He tells Vic blatantly. “I’ll kick you upside your butt, dog meat!” After more arguing he raises a can to throw. “Oh, you’d stone a poor defenceless animal wouldn’t you?” Blood looks away in shame. “I can tell by your disgusting behaviour you would. And that’s because you’re not a nice person -- Albert!” (That's his real name which he hates).

This is how the two of them spend their days, arguing and looking for food. They have done so for many years. Settlers do their best making huts out of tyres, or hiding underground. Everybody wants to survive and avoid the ruthless gangs in the endless wastelands. Blood is trying to convince his companion they should look again for a better world he has heard exists with a better way of living -- called farming. For the time being, Vic is just hungry and horny. “Find me a broad and we’ll go to the Promised Land.” He says. Blood sneers. “That’s what you always say.” Again they end up arguing. Blood wants food and then he’ll find a woman for him. “What you good for?” Vic yells, “Food? You can shove that part how you lost your ability to hunt when you learned how to talk!” Blood looks the other way whilst he rants. The poor dog looks scared towards the end and actually jumps when Vic leaps up. The days before a CGI hound, eh?

They chance upon a demented wagon train populated by a master and slaves who dig into the ground routing out food supplies whilst two kids yell on the vehicle and a fella plays acoustic guitar. All very El Topo in its vision of surreal madness. Al takes a chance and swipes a bag of food, the acoustic guitar player makes his escape as well in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, three people have been observing all along.

One of the settlements has an outdoor makeshift movie house. They trade in a few cans to see the film. “I want popcorn!” Blood demands. “Ah, y’ can do without it.” Says Vic. Blood glares at him. “I hope the next time you play with yourself you go blind.” It’s a softcore porn and violence flick. Mid way, Blood sniffs the air. “There’s a female in here.” Vic laughs. “You’re nuts!” Blood states he is correct and there’s a girl nearby. Bribed by popcorn, Blood leads the way. It seems in this future world, even the good guy can demand and practically want to rape the minority of females. “Stop looking at me like that or I’ll bust your teeth out! Now get that stuff off!” Then he calms down and makes conversation. Her name is Quilla. Suddenly, Blood interrupts and states there's a pack of Rovers outside. He tells him to give them the girl over, the pack don't know about the two of them. Vic refuses to back down. Blood is frantic. Quilla cannot hear his voice as he plots and plans, instead cooing at him until he barks at her. We see there's at least ten of the scavengers waiting -- they also have a dog. Blood reluctantly takes on the hound whilst Vic tackles the humans.

All of a sudden we have a glimpse of green lights belonging to the big bad creatures in the wastelands -- Screamers! They cry and if they touch you, you are dead. The three hide out for a while. Vic and Quilla grow close. Afterwards Vic and Blood argue as per usual.

Soon, Vic is following Quilla into the 'Down Under' which is an unknown world, much to Blood's fury. Instead of a mad mutant infested realm in the lengthy corridors, we are treated to a surreal band of eccentric characters living a deranged version of a life long gone.

Once we are in the Down Under, the film does take a downwards turn for some time because it tries way too hard to be oddball and darkly comedic. It is worth putting up with all of this for the twist ending, which is grin-inducing as loyalty is put to the test.

Don Johnson plays his central role to perfection. Known more for the recent From Dusk Til Dawn series, Don also appeared in Django Unchained, and of course he is Crockett in Miami Vice. The man! Other than Don, there's a few well-known faces such as Charles (Johnny Got His Gun, Spartacus, It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Killer Inside Me) McCraw and Jason (Philadelphia, The Day After, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Murders in the Rue Morgue) Robards.

Acting salutes has to go to almost unknown bit player, Tim McIntire as the voice of Blood. He is simply excellent in his drawl dark humour and delivery. The fact he is only known for TV series’ and small films is criminal!! Still, he got to play the voice of The Devil in that bloody Soap series. And had a selection of roles in Kung Fu.

The fact that L.Q. Jones is centrally an actor and rarely directs is a surprise, he handles the film well. It has a decent pace and the scenery works.

A Boy and His Dog, to be honest, hasn't dated well in some parts, and the way this version of the future handles women is, well, shocking. I haven't read the novel so perhaps there was a sardonic bitter joke to that aspect. Against the big daddies of the genre it simply cannot stand, but to take it into a corner by itself and realise how it arrived before most of the others, consider it a good night’s entertainment. The film has a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD available from Shout! Factory.




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