Film Review: A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Reposted from Twitter:

I finally watched the film that inspired the nuclear post-apoc aesthetic (vaultpunk?) from Fallout to Howey’s Silo. I found the acting, dialogue, and characters quite meh, which explains why it is relatively unknown despite being an extraordinarily influential artifact in terms of sheer cultural influence.

(1) So this is the origin of the distinct American style of blending slapstick humor with ghoulish ultraviolence and degeneracy (it features casual rape and cannibalism), a combination made famous by Fallout. You don’t see this in other national post-apoc traditions, which are just unremittingly bleak (e.g. Stalker/Metro).

(2) The theme of underground bunker/vault dwellers recreating an ultra-kitschy American society of the 1950-60s (marching bands, church, patriotism) but cranked up to Eleven – not without some special help from a democratic-presenting but in practice authoritarian (enforced by android killerbot) regime led by the “Committee” (overseers in Fallout/Silo). This theme of murder clown democracy is another central aspect of Fallout, from the immediate pre-war US government and reaching its apogee with the Enclave. (Similar thing happens in Metro).

(3) The controlled fertility cultures that will come with generational spaceship like living conditions (which permanent subterranean life de facto is). In this case, luring the antihero Vic into the vault for use as a stud in place of their own infertile men, if not quite in the way he envisaged it. I suspect directors of the Polish film Sexsmission (1984) were aware of it.

(4) Other notes/Easter Eggs. Theme of raiders in the post-nuclear wasteland is the main theme of the Mad Max world (1979 on). The film was based on an eponymous novel by Harlan Ellison, who is ofc much more famous for I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967). That’s obviously an inspiration for The Master in Fallout, as well as the Biomass in Metro 2033 and Tchort in UnderRail.

(5) Vic calls his telepathic dog companion Dogmeat at one point; that’s where the Fallout Dogmeat comes from. Incidentally, bros before hos? Dogos before hos! Levels of dogpilled 🐶💊 sexism previously unimagined, LOL. Though in fairness probably a pretty realistic portrayal of what a post-apoc roving raider wasteland would look like, in which the incels get to live out their “rape caravan” fantasies if not for very long. (I learned about that particular thing in a recent Kaschuta podcast with Radfem Hitler).

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.

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