Welcome to Raptor Reviews! We review films, books, video games, Internet memes, and other silly and ridiculous things that make you want to laugh and tear your own face off simultaneously! Reviews will come with a “Rapture Level”
Rapture Level: 5 out of 13, 8 out of 13 after our fan theory
Produced in November of 1975, adapted from a narrative written by Harlan Ellison, A Boy And His Dog is a decent film about well, a boy and his dog. It is claimed to be slightly misogynistic to this day, very likely due to the fact that we meet our protagonists immediately while they are trying to track down a girl for rape only to find she is already being raped and murdered. This is the first scene by the way. Not a good introduction to your story, no matter how you cut it.
Thanks to its somewhat boring presentation and misogynist overtones it flopped in theaters. It’s simplistic cinematography lends a sense of realism to the film’s costumes and setting as everything was covered in dirt and sand as expected of a wasteland. It hit really well with the musical scores, and the acting is better than standard. There are some very boring and drawn out scenes that could have been expressed in a more efficient way. Plus, we couldn’t help but feel like we were sitting in a California desert the entire movie though.
Fun Fact: that’s where it was shot!
But! There is a hidden plot in A Boy And His Dog that reveals a side of the story that reconciles much of its content. Not that it needed it when you have scenes like this:
“Wonder why they hang around him?”
“Hmmm, probably just charisma.”
“Now, only desolation, civilization lies smothered and decaying under an ocean of mud
belonging to anyone who’s strong enough to kick and fight and take it for their own. God, that’s dramatic, I like it.”
A boy named Vic–or Albert as his dog, Blood likes to call him for reasons never explained–has a “telepathic” and overly witty dog that needs Vic as much as Vic needs Blood. Vic finds the food, Blood finds the girls.
Vic getting sex from our other lead role in the film, Quilla, who after trying to rape her ends up saving her life in a conveniently timed raid leads him underground vault dwelling community of entitled white people wearing white-face makeup to accentuate their whiteness called the Down Under. Did I mention they were all white?
Down Under is run by a fascist “committee” led by a milk-toast man who is Quilla’s father who’s whole purpose was to find a guy like Vic to extract semen from for artificial insemination because of something something sterility, but it will end up killing Vic. Now we have the plot loosely established about an hour into this hour and thirty minute film.
The conclusion did not sit well with general audiences, being called misogynistic as Vic kills and feeds Quilla to Blood in order for Blood to survive. [Side note: I doubt this was the first time Vic had to do this for Blood, because it seemed like he had a fairly easy time quartering and cooking Quilla. Does this count as cannibalism? We’ll get back to you on that.]
Harlan Ellison himself disagreed with the final line of the movie, noting that the final line to his narrative was more “human”.
We will let you decide:
Vic: Oh hell, it wasn’t my fault she picked me to get all wet-brained over.
Dog: Well I’d say she had marvelous judgment, Albert if not particularly good taste.
Narrative: “Do you know what love is?” and he concludes, “Sure I know. A boy loves his dog.”
Our Fan Theory
The real plot lies within the two characters themselves. We discover that Vic and Blood have “always known” one another. Blood is evidently “telepathic” which is claimed in all of the summaries and synopses of this movie, but we are going to argue this point right now. Nowhere in the actual lines of the movie does Vic claim he or Blood is telepathic. When asked by Quilla how he can talk to Blood, this is what is stated:
Quilla: Well, how come I can’t hear him?
Vic: Uh, he said something one time. He thought we had a feeling for each other or something.
Vic is giving Blood a voice in his head, which means that every line coming from Blood’s character is actually one of Vic’s own thoughts to himself. This is interesting because Blood is an intellectual which is evidenced by almost all of his lines and in his vocabulary, whereas Vic is always being represented as belligerent and stupid, evidenced by his uhh, stupid behaviors.
It would make sense for Vic to develop a voice in his head for his only companion to stave off the loneliness of not having a family–as it’s implied–in the middle of a dangerous, apocalyptic wasteland.
What the mind wants and what the body needs are always at war which is probably the underlying theme for the narrative as according to Blood a Fourth World War is what caused the apocalypse in this story, alluding that human desire for power and status is our own downfall; and talking to yourself is totally acceptable. Isn’t that right, Ashley? Yep!
And now our crappy, sci-fi, B-movie transformed to a cinematographic lesson of psychological elasticity in the face of lifelong hardships. Didn’t see that coming from a 1975 film about rape and murder, did you? Not that it completely saves it from being a movie about the normalcy of rape and murder being commonplace after an extinction level event.
With Harlan Ellison not of this world any longer, we may never get to confirm this alternative view into A Boy And His Dog. So take it with a grain of salt while you go and check this film out for yourself. Even if you don’t like the misogynist overtones, it’s a good film to have under your belt. Especially if you ever enjoyed any other story about the apocalypse, because this film inspired many creators to adopt some of it’s features that are now staple to the idea of an “apocalyptic wasteland”.