Like so much cold war-era sci-fi, A Boy and His Dog envisages a future world (2024 to be precise) essentially reduced to ashes by nuclear holocaust. But this 1975 directorial debut by veteran actor LQ Jones, based on a revered novella by Harlan Ellison, is an imaginative and decidedly offbeat spin on a very familiar scenario.
Don Johnson stars as a teenager named Vic, who navigates the bleak reality of post-WW4 life with the assistance of his genius-level telepathic dog, Blood (voiced by Tim McIntire).
Vic’s perpetual sexual frustration is established early on, and Blood’s wry, eloquent teasing of his owner is a comic highlight: “I’d be delighted to tell you a suggestive story if you think that would help”.
Alas, the boy’s base impulses prove to be his undoing, as he’s lured by a beautiful woman called Quilla June (Suzanne Benton) – the daughter of a megalomaniacal underground overlord (Jason Robards) – to the creepy underground city of Topeka and held against his will so that he might help replenish its dwindling population (the male residents have all been rendered impotent by lack of exposure to daylight).
The film oscillates wildly in tone – equal parts absurdist comedy and dark meditation on the dehumanising effect of widespread atrocity. The final scene kicks the film into truly demented terrain.
L Q Jones