A Boy and His Dog is a forgotten blast from the past you must not miss. It served as an inspiration for the developers of the Fallout video games, and if you played them it will be that much better for you. This is where I fell in love with the post-apocalyptic setting. Cities in ruins, decaying roads, and small bands of survivors trying to survive. A huge reset button that makes everything okay. These days they are very popular, but in the seventies, they were the king. Fueled by the cold war and other global threats, the genre exploded with the release of Mad Max in 1979. Followed by a throng of American and Italian copies, in the nineties, it seemed that it belongs to the past. But then The Road brought it back to life.
Based on the writings of Harlan Ellison, A Boy and His Dog is a very strange movie. It features a mixture of drama, comedy, and horror, set in a world totally different from ours. Another thing worth noticing is the reimaging of the society that’s depicted here. Shot by a band of ragtag outlaws, there’s a lot of exploitation and provocative scenes that you might find strange because they were pushing the boundaries. You might even say it’s similar to Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange. At times it does get a bit too artsy-fartsy, at least for my taste. On the other hand, you can use these scenes to think about our society and people in general. Including the crew who came up with these wild setups. After all, the trailer describes it as “an R rated, rather kinky tale of survival”.
World War IV lasted five days and caused immeasurable destruction and suffering. Most of the civilization is wiped out while the survivors roam the wasteland in search of resources. This is where we meet a young guy that goes by the name of Viv and his dog Blood. They share a telepathic link that enables them to talk to each other. Something that’s not only useful to fight loneliness but also to survive. And help Vic get laid.
Delightfully nihilistic and also quite perverse, A Boy and His Dog is a movie you’ll remember. This is a wild adventure that questions how would this desolate world actually function. It feels nasty but also realistic and I think that only Mindwarp was able to capture this particular vibe. Now, the movie does lose momentum in the second half but I think that the glorious finale makes up for that. The iconic scenes in the Nevada desert are hauntingly beautiful, especially if you immerse yourself in the story. However, once we decent into the bunkers, that feeling is altogether lost and forgotten. That part did bother me a bit as it seemed over-the-top bizarre but I guess that’s the seventies for ya. Plus it’s got that whole symbolism and exploration of societal norms thing going on.
So, if you’re looking for an authentic and rather kinky post-apocalyptic experience, check out A Boy and His Dog. And get ready for some weird-ass scenes. If you’re looking for similar movies check out Wizards and Black Moon. I also can’t help recommending Hell Comes to Frogtown, a much more upbeat and hilarious tale of survival. And finally, you can browse our Rabbit Reviews selection of post-apocalyptic movies. Enjoy.
Director: L.Q. Jones
Writers: L.Q. Jones, Harlan Ellison, Wayne Cruseturner
Cast: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Jason Robards, Tim McIntire, Alvy Moore, Hal Baylor
Fun Stuff: Throughout the movie, Vic carries a civilian model Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle and a Webley Break-Top Revolver. Both of the them were in use for over a hundred years, predominately in Europe.