As we continue our countdown toward the festive Frontierado holiday (celebrated every year on the first Friday in August) I figured I would do another item about a very weird western. For the details on Frontierado click here: https://glitternight.com/2010/07/28/just-9-more-shopping-days-until-frontierado/
This film is from 1977 and it’s called Welcome To Blood City and believe me, it is OUT THERE! The best way to describe it is like a cross between Westworld and the original Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner. The opening will likely remind people of the television series Lost with our heroes, led by Keir Dullea, finding themselves in a strange landscape dressed in prison garb with no recollection what circumstances led them to this plight. They eventually are rounded up and taken to Blood City, a town straight out of the Ollllllllld West. There’s a very strict caste system in our sanguine metropolis (just wanted to get pompous for a moment) and your only way of climbing the ladder is by killing, preferably with the six-guns and rifles that are always handy. Jack Palance is every bit as weird as always playing the less-than- ethical lawman of Blood City. The film starts out very nicely, sucking the viewer in and establishing a nice feeling of mystery. Unfortunately, the film spoils its own best quality by blowing the mystery VERY early on and letting the audience (but not the characters stuck in Blood City) in on the secret. The people stuck in Blood City are all experiencing a mass illusion induced by the corporate rulers of the near future. Their bodies are really strapped down while the images are projected into their minds to measure each one’s reactions to the madness and their adaptability to a violent environment. Our future corporate overlords run this game on a regular basis to find suitable warrior material for their real-world army which is engaged in a long-running war.
That description makes this film sound much more interesting than it really is, since it’s actually kind of dull. Once the secret is blown the film stagnates as we watch Keir Dullea and company come to grips with the increasingly annoying laws and customs of Blood City. Even a “meta” bit with Corporate Techie Samantha Eggar inserting herself into the illusion goes nowhere and just leaves the film floundering. The mystery needed to be preserved for much longer to keep the audience guessing, or at least interested. Once we all know what’s really going on things are much less entertaining. The ending tries to provide a nice rebellious jolt by Keir Dullea but it’s really more of a hollow gesture accompanied by a hackneyed attempt to question the nature of reality. By all means watch this flick but keep something to drink handy.