Viking Night: Logan's Run
By Bruce Hall
May 27, 2014
Imagine a completely hedonistic society run by powerful computers where everyone is fit and sexy, and walks around in nothing but loose fitting satin rags. Bras are apparently illegal, and no one over 30 even exists. Common social activities include casual sex, getting high on gas and watching other people get murdered on their birthday. I know that sounds like the inside of Michael Bay’s head, but it’s actually the plot of Logan’s Run, a film that imagines a society so starved for resources, strict population control is enforced, meaning that on their 30th birthday, all citizens are expected to report for voluntary execution. At birth, everyone is given a palm crystal that glows red when it’s your turn to die.
It sounds grim but it’s not, because Logan’s Run takes place in a snowglobe universe where the civilization of an entire planet seems to consist of a few dozen identically dressed extras and a thousand bucks worth of blinking lights. The whole society is a metaphor, so if you can’t accept the premise then you can’t accept the story, which follows the exploits of a 26-year-old man named Logan 6. He’s a member of a police force called the Sandmen, whose job it is to hunt down those who object to the Birthday Murder policy and try to flee. These people are called “runners”, and their last minutes on earth usually involve being mocked, taunted and shot to pieces by the pitiless Sandmen, who treat the whole thing like a highly lethal fraternity prank.
Logan’s partner and best friend is Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), whose more aggressive personality contrasts somewhat with Logan, who is more like a curious puppy than a hardened killer. In fact, as the movie opens, the two are engaged in an expository conversation about the morality of forced population control, establishing Francis as being the more trusting of authority. Along with an excited throng of gawkers, Logan and Francis attend “Carousel”, which is what these people call their Birthday Murder ritual. In it, those turning 30 are dressed like Mexican wrestlers and shot into the air, where they are publicly disintegrated to the bloodthirsty cheers of the crowd.
Again – it sounds grim but don’t worry, it’s actually kind of amusing.
The party is interrupted when the Sandmen receive a call to chase down a runner. They hunt the man down and dispatch him with extreme prejudice, after which Logan casually appropriates the dead man’s personal effects. Among them is a curious pendant which Logan quickly forgets about. After returning home, Logan unwinds by activating the dialawhore machine in his living room. Oh yeah – if you get lonely, you just dial up someone who wants to do the nasty and they materialize right there in your living room. It’s sort of like Craigslist, only with double the odds of being stabbed to death.
Instead of a serial killer, Logan dials up Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) a cute young thing who immediately gives him the cold shoulder and starts talking politics (isn’t that the worst kind of blind date?). She challenges the notion of “renewal”, claiming that people entering the Carousel are simply killed instead. She’s wearing the same pendant as the dead runner, which Logan doesn’t immediately notice because he’s too busy trying to get her out of the clothes she’s barely wearing. Eventually Francis shows up with what appears to be a pair of hookers and a bunch of drugs, so Jessica leaves. Later, when Logan goes to dispose of the runner’s belongings, the city computer confronts him about the pendant.