Bad Movies We Love: Logan's Run
Sexually exciting news: This week's important new movie Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D (that's not the sexually exciting part) is both "futuristic" and "sci-fi" -- which means we have reason to revisit the futuristic, sci-fi lovefest of Logan's Run. Hooray! It's one of the most decadent, senselessly gorgeous Bad Movies We Love of all time. Better we re-watch it now than after the remake comes out and destroys our nostalgia. Are you ready for ray guns, cult-like "carrousels" of death, and the hirsute hotness of Peter Ustinov?
The year is 1976. Star Wars is not a thing yet, so Logan's Run's $9 million budget seems extreme. The plot goes like this: Citizens of the future live in a pleasure dome, allow "servo-mechanisms" to provide all their necessities, and kill themselves at age 30 in magnificent death ceremonies. It's a geek wonderland! A true EPCOT for MST3K fans. Sometimes a few of those citizens try to escape the dome, and our hero Logan (Michael York, of Austin Powers fame), a "sandman," has to catch and kill the runaways with his noisemaker of a ray gun. But when Logan himself flees the dome, a whole new world opens up. Yep, just like Aladdin. Logan's Run is one Peabo Bryson anthem away from perfection.
Actually, no. Logan's Run is an overlong story that flatlines in the last hour. We're left with five great moments, but most of them occur before halftime. Please, indulge!
5. The most insane preamble you'll ever see.
Speaking of Star Wars: If you dig movies that begin with scrolls of text, Logan's Run is your man! It's Scrollio Iglesias! Here's its entire preamble, unabridged for historical accuracy: "Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There's just one catch: Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of carrousel."
Oh, is that all? Anything else you'd like to bring up, movie? Maybe the characters' social security numbers or favorite breakfast cereals? Man. I love the spelling of "carrousel," the scary death ceremony where 30-year-olds float up in a vortex, Fizzy Lifting-style, and explode in midair. "Carrousel" looks like the name of a Maury guest with a few hundred unplanned children. Maury might be like, "I hear Carrousel's always got an open seat!" or "Gather 'round, children, everyone gets a ticket to the Carrousel! No saddle necessary for this carnival!" Much whooping follows, then Carrousel's wild teen is sent to boot camp.
4. Peter Ustinov
The double Oscar-winner with one of the greatest speaking voices of the past 40,090 years is wasted in Logan's Run as the surviving member of the forgotten outer-dome world. Logan and his gal pal have never seen someone older than 30 before, so when the gal pal asks Ustinov, "Those cracks in your face, do they hurt?" -- it's kind of cute. It's also kind of painful. Looky here, you Mackenzie Phillips/Vera Farmiga creature (see top photo), you don't get to mock Peter Ustinov's dignity creases! You can't even pronounce Topkapi!
3. Farrah Fawcett's classically trained hair
Farrah Fawcett(-Majors) appears in Logan's Run for approximately two scenes as the futuristic secretary of a futuristic plastic surgeon. This means, of course, that she dresses in sparkly '70s gowns and maintains giant Farrah hair. Strange that Farrah Fawcett, the legitimate sensation of 1976, is iconic thanks to her hair and hair alone. Is anyone else in history so acclaimed for one not-so-unbelievable attribute? Besides the Biebz, I mean? And, y'know, Helen Keller? Fawcett's a passable actress and a great beauty, but her sexy cartoon skunk mane makes her a Paley Center icon. She doesn't do much of note in Logan's Run besides hog screen-time with pregnant pauses, but man! I'm really still thinking about that above-average hair!
2. Craigslist is invented before your eyes.
In the freakish realm of Logan's Run, citizens use a network called "the circuit" when they want to have sex. They can beam up various horndogs to their teleportation devices, trade out the rejects, and schtup their favorites. In the literal sense, this is like an average weekend at David Geffen's house, but in the abstract, it's just like Craigslist! Here we see our man Logan turn down a shirtless male who just wants a little lovin'. Couldn't Logan have let the suitor fondle his Richard Carpenter haircut? "We've only just beguuuuun -- to hump?" Oh, well. Sorry, shirtless dude, but you're looking for a man in the Can't Stop the Music mold. See last week's entry.
1. The most fantastic, space-age sets ever or an average mall in Texas?
Logan's Run's mystifyingly expensive, extensive sets are the sole reason to pay money for this movie. It doesn't matter that Farrah wags her haircut or Peter Ustinov is more grizzled than a stir-crazy lumberjack. No, the magic here is in the scenery: lush, exotic architecture out of an Arabian absinthe dream; Jetsonian cars; water gardens; neon blue signage; walls colored like Simon buttons; icy stalactites, ivy-covered landmarks left over in the decrepit United States; a death pit out of some Devo-organized version of Medieval Times; a town center that looks like an average mall -- because it is an average mall. Logan's Run was filmed on location in Texas, and plenty of the wacky, futuristic attractions you see are just regular tourist spots in the Lone Star state. Pretty clever, movie. And kind of a letdown. Because there's a poetic grandeur to the world here, and it loses something once you know you can find a Wet Seal behind that scary, metallic hand sculpture. Still, it's a staggering visual journey. It's Willy Wonka for Wookies!