Logan’s Run was released this week in 1976. Here’s my brief ode from several years back to the retro-futuristic-by-way-of-the-1970s stylings of a cult classic. This piece has been slightly revised from its original form.
It’s interesting and probably not that surprising that so many future-set science fiction films of the 1970s didn’t look anything like the future we would come to know. Instead, they looked like the 1970s.
Logan’s Run (1976) is a fabulous example of this. Set in the twenty-third century—where society’s remaining humans live under geodisic domes that resemble shopping malls, before having their lives terminated in the “Carrousel” when they turn thirty—the fashion and hairstyles, not to mention the dated special effects of the 1970s still shine through.
The movie’s take on the twenty-third century sure looks a lot like the late-twentieth century in which it was made. This is not a criticism. I genuinely love that aspect. One of the great pleasures in watching comes from this tension between the film’s futurism and its undeniably groovy seventies clothes and feathered hair styles. Appropriately, the queen of seventies hair Farrah Fawcett even has a supporting role.
The film is a science fiction cult classic, and much of the appeal for fans lies in the nostalgia it engenders. I was born in the seventies. I’m obsessed with the decade’s culture, fashion, sociopolitical events, and popular media, largely because it’s fascinating to consider the state of the world during the decade in which I came into existence. It’s oddly comforting to watch Logan’s Run and feel transported back to childhood, when so many of my mother’s friends had haircuts like the movie’s costar Jenny Agutter—whose otherworldly beauty in this and An American Werewolf in London (1981) cemented her status as one of my earliest, and most enduring, pop culture crushes. Forty-odd years later, just the sight of her ignites nostalgic longing. The setting of Logan’s Run takes me back to my youth spent at the then-new, gleaming, and pristine suburban American meccas: shopping malls. In other words, Logan’s Run ticks all my nostalgia boxes.
Sometimes it’s nice to simply have an affinity for something because it reminds you of simpler times in your life. Logan’s Run doesn’t make me think of the future—it makes me think of the future that people envisioned when I was still so new and young that I had yet to envision anything beyond the present, and it reminds me of the era during which these futures were envisioned.