(director/writer: L.Q. Jones; screenwriters: novella by Harlan Ellison/Wayne Cruseturner; cinematographer: John Arthur Morrill; editor: Scott Conrad; music: Tom McIntire/Jaime Mendoza-Nava; cast: Don Johnson (Vic), Susanne Benton (Quilla June Holmes), Jason Robards (Mr. Craddock), Charles McGraw (Preacher), Alvy Moore (Dr. Moore), Helen Winston (Mez Smith), Ron Feinberg (Fellini), Tom McIntire (voice of Blood for the dog Tiger); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Alvy Moore; First Run features; 1975)

If it’s weirdness that you’re after, this cult film goes the whole nine yards.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Veteran character actorL.Q. Jones(“The Devil’s Bedroom”), a Sam Peckinpah favorite, is writer-director of this kinky survivalist futuristic sci-fi black comedy. It’s based on the Award-winning 1969 novella by Harlan Ellison. The low-budget post-apocalyptic film is set in 2024 AD, in a desolate Phoenix desert, after a nuclear explosion ends the five day World War IV and brings civilization to a halt. Inter-titles mockingly tell us the politicians claim the war has solved urban blight.

The illiterate 18-year-old Vic (Don Johnson) is a violent scavenger, who combs the desert looking for canned goods with a telepathic guide-dog named Blood (Tom McIntire, from the Doors, is the voice of Blood). The intelligent dog, the alter ego of the author, is willing to sniff out girls for the horny Vic to lay in exchange for food. After stealing some canned goods Vic uses it as barter to watch a porn movie, then Vic and the talking dog track down the sexy Quilla June Holmes (Susanne Benton) in her underground bunker. Vic forces her to go with him, but discovers she has been sent by an underground survival center, five miles under the Earth, called Topeka, viewed as the last hope for Middle-Americans, the only survivors of the holocaust. Quilla lures him to Topeka so he can service her to make sure the underground’s depleted population continues to be restocked.

Though funny in a satirical and campy way, things bomb out when reaching Topeka and everything goes hayseed with bad jokes aimed at everybody –with bossy community Committee head Craddock (Jason Robards) giving the orders to keep the sperm banks going and to keep out dogs. The pic ends on a tasteless but fitting cannibalistic note.

If it’s weirdness that you’re after, this cult film goes the whole nine yards. There’s crazy fun in catching the dog and his master become real friends and converse with put downs aimed at each other–with the dog’s cynical comments being a real howl.

The dog used is Tiger, who was known for being the Brady Bunch pooch.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”