Picture this: three friends are taking in the 1998 comedy Free Enterprise. We represent about half the audience in the theater. The film, which deals with a pair of lifelong science fiction geeks facing their 30th birthdays, has a dream sequence that begins with a very specific, recognizable throbbing noise. The three friends collapse in hysterical laughter while the other half of the audience sits in confused, stony silence. The difference between the two parties is that the three who are laughing have seen Logan’s Run, probably more than once.
The noise comes from the “Carousel” sequence of this film, which is when residents of this devastated future world who have turned 30 years old line up to be “renewed” (supposedly reincarnated in new bodies). “Runners,” those who tried to flee and avoid Carousel, are hunted down and “terminated” by a police force known as “Sandmen.”
One such Sandman, Logan 5 (Michael York), is given a new assignment to find and destroy a place known as “Sanctuary” where successful runners are rumored to go. He is to pose as a man nearing his 30th birthday who wants to run. Enlisting the aid of a pretty rebel, Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter) he attempts to make it out of the domed, hermetically sealed city, pursued by his former partner, Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), who doesn’t know about Logan’s new assignment.
Let’s get one thing out of the way and that’s the fact that this film is cheesy in a way that only a sci-fi flick from the mid-seventies can be. The future city, as many have pointed out before me, closely resembles the Fort Worth shopping mall used as the primary location. The miniatures look more like a model from Disney’s Carousel of Progress ride. However, a good, interesting concept and a strong execution can always overcome cheesiness and for this reason, the stench of curdled dairy product doesn’t bring down Logan’s Run.
Coming out of the nineteen-sixties, with its mantra of “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” I wonder if this story of a society in which that concept is taken to a homicidal extreme didn’t resonate more deeply than a picture of this type normally would.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that, in a film aimed at a teenaged male audience, you have Jenny Agutter in and out of a variety of skimpy outfits with a surprising amount of frontal nudity, given the film’s PG rating. I do miss the seventies.
Whatever the reason, Logan’s Run has lasted long enough to provoke gales of laughter at an inspired in-joke in another film 22 years later.