While I’ve been sheltering in place, I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1976 sexy sci-fi movie called Logan’s Run. It’s a dystopian story that takes place in the year 2274 set in a protected, domed world that has a computer system for a government. The domed world is a society of beautiful young people that have “Life Clock” crystals implanted in the palm of their hands at birth that change color as they grow older and then flash red when they turned 30.
Obviously thirty years old is so old and disgusting that you then take a ride on The Carousel which spins you into outer space where—surprise!—you aren’t actually reborn, you just die. This is totally fine with everyone until their own personal Life Clock starts blinking and they suddenly feel like they have so much more to offer the world. Some people would take off running to try to escape to the outside world but then “The Sandmen” are dispatched to chase them down and kill them.
The main character, Logan 5, is a Sandman that becomes a runner when his crystal starts blinking 4 years too early. Suddenly he realizes that he likes being alive and maybe a government shouldn’t be in charge of when he dies and so he becomes a runner along with his romantic interest, Jessica.
They finally make it out of their domed world into the remains of a past human civilization which was once Washington DC. They feel the sun on their face for the first time and meet a really old guy that lives with a bunch of cats that they are amazed by because they have never seen an old person before.
And guess what? They aren’t totally grossed out by him and they sure don’t think that he has nothing to offer and should just die if he ever gets sick and needs a ventilator in order to save the economy. They actually celebrate him and bring him back to their domed world to show their fellow citizens how awesome it can be to grow old.
The computer system government cannot compute this and totally melts down, freeing all the domed world citizens to go out into the real world where they can grow as old as they please without feeling like they have to die for society’s greater good.
*Logan’s Run starred Michael York, Jenny Agutter and featured Farrah Fawcett(!). It was directed by Michael Anderson and was based on the book by the same name, written by William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.