Column: Slicing Score: Logan’s Run (1976)

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Logan’s Run (1976). Composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

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[dropcap]1[/dropcap]976 wasn’t all about The Omen in the musical oeuvre of Jerry Goldsmith. The soundtrack to Logan’s Run begins with a memorable electronic overture that sets a course for a bizarre melodic territory. The restless energy of those few opening sounds is forbidding. It has restless energy that reeks of electronic time loops and alien melodies.

The 1970s was a decade with some odd interpretations of what the future would look like and 70s trends put a lot of emphasis on ankhs, mood rings, weird stone jewelry, bizarre exercise, spandex, sequins, and Tantric Yoga. Audiences will find futuristic interpretations of these trends in this film, and the music reflects every last oddity. Yeah. That’s how bizarre this soundtrack is.

Defining this film as a sci-fi horror movie is stretching the definition of sci-fi horror because Logan’s Run has a “happy ending.” However, there’s no reason to cynically dismiss the happy ending, since the premise of the film is pretty grim. Logan 5 and Jessica 6 rebel against their domed futuristic society. This society dictates via computer control that life must terminate at 30.

Logan’s rebellion is unusual because his job is to terminate rebels known as “Runners.” He is prompted to run by the computer that regulates all human life within the domed city. The computer wants to make sure life cannot exist outside the city, so it assigns Logan to destroy a place where life can exist outside its control. The place is known by the computer as “Sanctuary.”

Logan must find Sanctuary or be terminated by the computer. He might die during his pursuit. The computer, unwittingly, has created Logan’s rebellion by backing Logan into this corner. His only real chance for survival is to find life outside the dome, whether it’s Sanctuary or not.

This film has its share of crap in the staccato writing, overacting, thin romance, and unexplained villains, but the grim premise and the Catch-22 type predicament that Logan is placed in by the machine manage to balance out the crap factors with genuine thought provocation. The crap factors in this film might be intentional. Life would be superficial and crappy if it came to an abrupt end at 30 and if there were no alternatives to life under absolute power.

Some of the soundtrack highlights are: “The Dome/The City/Nursery,” “The Assignment/Lost Years,” and “The Key/Box.” There are plenty of scary strings in this score and the film retains some memorably dreadful scenes. I have always been disturbed by the scene where a robot named Box reveals the new food source he started freezing after all the other food sources dried up. The film never explains why Box exists, who put him there, or why he’s still freezing protein after his human controllers disappeared or died off. (It’s possible that he’s being controlled remotely by the domed city’s computer, but this isn’t discussed in the film.) He’s a mechanical anachronism left behind to do his job at any cost. I don’t detect a specific musical theme for Box. The score accommodates his presence by withholding lofty music in favor of horror.

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Logan’s Run‘s soundtrack is available at: http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/ and at Amazon.com.

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