There’s nothing like the bond between a man and his dog. So many of the entries on this site are written in the middle of the night, as our dog likes to wake me up at 3 AM to go for a walk, then I can’t go back to sleep.
Vic (a very young Don Johnson, who any of child of the 80’s knows instantly) and Blood (voiced by Tim McIntire, who was George Jones in the 1981 TV movie Stand By Your Man) are a human and dog team traveling through the post-apocalyptic fallout after World War 4. Unlike the way my dog just barks and barks until I wake up, Blood can speak telepathically.
That telepathy comes at the expense of his ability to search for food, so the incredibly intelligent, human-hating mutt uses Vic to help him. Vic’s only hungers are food and sex. He’s pretty much a moron with no basic standards of ethics or morals. While the two have an antagonistic relationship, they realize that they need one another.
While watching old porn movies at a makeshift drive-in, Blood smells Quilla Julia Holmes, who comes from “Downunder,” a town inside an underground vault. Vic saves her from mutants and the two have sex, despite Blood’s dislike of her. She leads him to the city, where Blood refuses to enter.
Quilla June’s father, Lou Craddock (Jason Robards, Something Wicked This Way Comes) has sent her to the surface to recruit new blood for Topeka, a biosphere city beneath ruined Kansas. The Committee rules all, forcing its people to dress in 1930’s costumes. Vic has been brought here to be a stud, donating his sperm at the expense of the pleasure that he needs. And even worse — once he impregnates 35 women, he’ll be sent to the farm and never seen again.
Quilla Jane breaks Vic out as part of her plot to kill off The Committee and their android goon, Michael. That said — Vic wants no part of this plot, only to get back to his home above ground and his friend Blood. Michael kills Quilla Jane’s other rebellion members before Vic takes him out. Quilla proclaims her love for Vic and asks to return to the surface with him.
When they find Blood, he is starving and near death. Quilla Jane tells him to leave the dog to die and spend the rest of his life with her. Vic makes his mind up — killing her off camera, so that Blood can eat her. Vic states that she should have never followed him as Blood jokes that she didn’t have bad taste. They walk off into the sunset together.
A Boy and His Dog comes from a series of stories by Harlan Ellison, whose prodigious output is only rivaled by his cantankerous nature. Two of his scripts for TV’s The Outer Limits, Demon with a Glass Hand and Soldier, were so close to The Terminator that Ellison has an “acknowledgment to the works of Harlan Ellison” credit in Terminator: Genisys (and Ellison was supposedly paid for his inspiration, which you can learn about here). He also wrote what many consider the greatest episode of the original Star Trek, The City on the Edge of Forever.
Ellison tried to write the screenplay, but hit writer’s block. The final script was written by producer Alvy Moore (Hank Kimball from Green Acres, who also produced The Witchmaker and The Brotherhood of Satan and appears in this film as Dr. Moore) and director L. Q. Jones (an actor in movies like The Beast Within and The Wild Bunch who also wrote The Brotherhood of Satan), which Ellison was either somewhat happy with or totally upset with, depending on who tells the story. What is known is that he was unhappy with Blood’s final line: “Well, I’d certainly say she had marvelous judgement, Albert…if not particularly good taste.” The book ends differently, with Vic remembering a question that Quilla had asked of him: “Do you know what love is?” Vic finally remembers the answer: “Sure I know. A boy loves his dog.”
If you’ve ever played the video game Fallout, then you’ll be delighted to learn how much comes from this film.
Vic and Blood would have further adventures, even one tale where Ellison tried to off the pair due to either his dislike of the film’s ending or being sick of fans asking for more stories about the duo. There was nearly a sequel, A Girl and His Dog, which would have had Blood team up with a female warrior named Spike.