I love movies. I really do. There are a few movies that I can watch over and over and over and never get tired of them. There were certainly plenty of VHS tapes I had ruined in my youth simply from the number of times I had watched and re-watched some of my favorite movies. Ghostbusters, The Flight of Dragons, and The Last Unicorn immediately come to mind. I have endeavored over the past year or so to share some of these gems of my youth with my girlfriend. Though a true geek in her own right, I am often surprised at the number of movies I love that she has never seen. I’ve endeavored to enlighten her where I can about the greats of yesteryear. One of these movies was the 1975 cult classic A Boy and His Dog.
Based off a series of short stories by the same name written by Harlan Ellison, The plot follows the, well let’s be generous and call them misadventures of a young man named Vic and his highly intelligent, if somewhat misanthropic dog Blood as they wander through a post-apocalyptic America after World War IV. Did I mention that Blood is psychic and can communicate telepathically with Vic? Because Blood is psychic and can communicate telepathically with Vic.
As Vic and Blood roam the wasteland in search of food and sex, they come across a girl named Quilla June Holmes. She seems to be a rare beauty cast amid the harshness of the wasteland. Vic immediately takes a liking to Quilla, so much so that he has Blood track her to a remote underground cave wherein Vic plans to relieve his frustrations by raping Quilla.
Did I mention Vic and Blood are not very nice people? It is the post-apocalyptic world and it morality doesn’t really have a place here, does it?
But that’s what I love about this movie. There moral ambiguity of the characters really makes the audience think. These characters exist in a harsh, unforgiving world where finding food, water, and companionship could literally cost them their lives. There is no room for charity because anything they might give someone else is something they forfeit for themselves. They exist moment to moment, only thinking about survival.
There’s a great dichotomy between Blood and Vic. Blood is the calculating, intelligent thinker who quotes Shakespeare and attempts to give Vic an education, whereas Vic is walking testosterone who only exists to fulfill his basest desires. In short, Blood is more human than Vic and Vic is more animalistic than Blood. In the end, both care deeply for each other, despite their differences.
Aside from the philosophical debates the story line prompts, there is another definite reason I love this movie so. Much of the second act takes place in a place most fans of the Fallout series will quickly recognize. After escaping from Vic, Quilla returns home — a place called Downunder — that is, you guessed it, an underground vault. The citizens of this vault essentially exist in a time capsule of 1950’s Americana, complete with marching bands, picnics, and time period clothing. It turns out that Quilla purposely met Vic to lure him down to her home so that he could help impregnate all the eligible girls in Downunder and father the next generation. Needless to say, Vic is excited to be a part of all of this. Well, he is until the inevitable twist that sends him fleeing back to the surface world.
I’ll let you just find out about that for yourselves.
There are a few other things many Fallout fans will catch. At one point Vic refers to Blood as dogmeat. There are glowing mutants (a result of the nuclear bombs dropped during World War IV) that terrify the surface world. There’s no doubt in my mind that the good people at Black Isle (and later Bethesda) loved this movie as much as I do.
Vic and Blood are not heroes. It’s questionable whether or not they’re even decent human beings. How would any of us turn out living in an unforgiving world with no parents and only a dog to teach you how to be a man? What they are is loyal, if only to each other. In the end, this is a story of a boy and his dog. The love bond they share helps them survive.
I highly recommend watching this film. It’s definitely required viewing for any fan of the post-apocalyptic film genre, as well as any Fallout fan, old or new.
Born and raised in Orange County, I’m Just your average guy with delusions of grandeur. Part time poet and full time geek, my interest run the gamut from video games and sci fi movies to newly emerging tech and various Cons.