One of the horror genre's "most widely read critics" (Rue Morgue # 68), "an accomplished film journalist" (Comic Buyer's Guide #1535), and the award-winning author of Horror Films of the 1980s (2007), The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia (2007) and Horror Films of the 1970s (2002), John Kenneth Muir, presents his blog on film, television and nostalgia, named one of the Top 100 Film Studies Blog on the Net.
Logan's Run 40th Anniversary Blogging: "Crypt" (November 7, 1977)
The seventh episode of the short-lived 1977-1978Logan's RunTV series is also the best. "Crypt"
comes from a story by Harlan Ellison (teleplay by Al Hayes), and the
installment is directed by Michael Caffey.
In “Crypt,” Logan, Jessica and REM drive their solar craft into an
honest-to-goodness destroyed metropolis this time -- a ruined modern city, not
just the California countryside.
REM informs his friends that the poison air killed most of the
people there, not the bombs. In one of the buildings, the threesome discovers a
recorded message from March of 2120. A very sick woman explains that the last
survivors of the scientific community --six chosen people -- are frozen in cryogenic units in
Though they are alive, they suffer from a plague that arose after
the thermonuclear war. Fortunately, there are still two vials of serum left;
enough for all six scientists. The staff died and a door malfunctioned before
the scientists could be saved. Now, the woman leaving the message begs for the
visitors to complete her mission.
After fixing the stuck door, Logan, Jessica and REM head for the
crypt in the basement to revive humanity's last hope, only to endure a terrible
tremor. In the earthquake, one of the vials of antidote is destroyed, meaning
that only enough serum remains to save three of the all-important scientists.
Logan and his friends awaken all six sleepers, but now must decide
which three will survive. Among the choices: a robotics expert (Neva
Patterson), a bureaucrat/administrator (Liam Sullivan), a telekinetic
(Soon-Teck-Oh), a medical doctor (Ellen Preston), an engineer (Christopher
Stone), and a young scientist, Sylvia Reynes (Adrienne La Russa).
While Logan and Jessica interview the awakened scientists to
determine who should live and who must die, REM discovers an alarming fact from
the facility's computers: one of the scientists is actually an imposter.
And then a murder occurs. The administrator, Lyman, is murdered,
but the crime is made to look like an accident.
One of the scientific minds of the future is not merely a fake,
but a murderer, willing to resort to criminal behavior to survive.
Now, Logan and Jessica's task takes on an even greater
significance. If they choose wrongly, a murderer will decide the future of
No argument about it: "Crypt" the bestLogan's
Run episode, just nosing out Noah Ward's
"Man out of Time." For once, Logan and Jessica actually have
something critically important to do: choose
the path of the future.
If they choose wrong in this
situation, their world could face the repercussions for generations.
More to the point, the writers of this episode put the mission into a kind
of personal context for Logan, a world-view which generally seems missing from
the series. Here, Logan sees this predicament in very human, very specific
terms relating to his tenure in the City of the Domes. There, as he points out,
a select handful of people (The council of the Elders) chose who lived and who
died, deciding on an arbitrary date of termination (the age of thirty).
Now Logan is put in the position of making such a choice himself, and doesn't
want to be arbitrary like that, or choose unwisely. The question here is: do
moral obligations still exist (as one character asks)?
And more importantly,
what are those moral obligations? "Crypt" answers that question in a dynamic way that actually seems to reflect how Logan, given his experiences, would feel.
Logan reacts violently and emotionally when he is confronted with
the murderer. He is able to contextualize this murder in terms of his own
experience. “I left the City of Domes to find a place” without murder as a
means to an end, he tells the killer.
It is also clear from this episode that REM, by far, is the
character that the writers seemed to enjoy writing for the most. Here, the
kindly android not only gets his feelings hurt at one point, but steps into the
role of a mechanical Sherlock Holmes in order to solve the locked room (or
closed crypt) mystery.
Using deductive reasoning and his intellect (and his understanding
of human nature), REM comes to his conclusion about the identity of the killer, and in classic mystery fashion
gathers all the suspects together to declare his findings.
Afterwards, one of
the scientists claims that REM's reward for ferreting out the murder should be
a city named after him. "REMSville,"
REM suggests. Or even better, "REMsylvania."
Because it has a sense of humor, because the episode is about more
than a straw man society easily toppled, because the episode stops to think
about Logan's point of view, "Crypt" is quite an entertaining and
valuable hour of this series. It demonstrates, truly, the potential that this 40 year old series had.
Still, even in its finest installment, the Logan’s Run formula proves limiting.
Here, Logan and Jessica and
REM have a real task to accomplish: to help these scientists rebuild the world. They could
serve as their security, their assistants, or even their guides in the post-apocalyptic
ruins. Instead, formula insists that our heroes must run off, drive away, and leave the important task of world-building
behind. For what?
Again, some hazy concept of “Sanctuary.”
The very format is flawed not only because it requires the three
protagonists to go on traveling forever (or until they find Sanctuary). But because requires them to leave people in need, rebuilding society, all in favor of a
It would be nice if Logan and the other started building a Sanctuary
for all mankind to prosper from, instead of just running off to a place that is already up and
running, that they believe will harbor them.