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Monday, 12 December 2011

Welcome To Living In Harmony

Welcome To Blood City!

   Living In Harmony saw the towns people, the Judge, the Kid, Cathy, Zeek and the boys. Gunfights, fist fights, the Silver Dollar Saloon and the death of Cathy as being all in the mind of No.6.
Fill him with hallucinatory drugs!
Put him in a dangerous environment!
Talk to him through microphones!
Give him love, take it away.
Isolate him, make him kill, then face him with death.
He'll crack, beak him even in his mind, and the rest will be easy.
    It's always worked and it would have worked this time if the participants in the Green Dome had controlled themselves and not allowed to let themselves become involved!
    That was back in 1967, a decade on we have Welcome to Blood City starring the recently late Jack Palance and Barry Morse .
    Like the personal of No.2, No.8 and No.22 in the Green Dome during Living In Harmony in Welcome to Blood City we have a Chief Technician and a No.2 style of Character in a sinister control room and a laboratory which mirrors that of the Prisoner episode A B & C, with a couch on which the patient lies with attached electrodes the patient first having been brainwashed the action of Blood City taking place only in his or her mind!
    At the beginning there is traffic, and a traffic cop blowing his whistle and pointing his white truncheon at Michael Lewis sat behind the wheel of his car.
    The terrain is a barren territory where Lewis finds himself along with three other men and a girl, none of whom know where they are or why they have been brought here, nor by whom. There is initial violence as one man is shot dead and the girl dragged off and raped by a couple of woodsmen. Then along rides a Marshal, Marshal Frendlander {Jack Palance}who wears a regular five pointed silver star on his chest and the more unusual thick silver cross pinned to the back of his black shirt, who we later discover is an 'Immortal.'
    The remaining four are led to Blood City and taken to an Arrival room where they will wait pending selection on Choosing Day. Once picked they will be slaves, unless they can kill a man to earn their freedom, though such a feat will be difficult as everyone but the newcomers is wearing a gun!
    The population comprises of only bar-room girls, Citizens of a most unfriendly type, and Bosses, the later being black shirted thugs of both sexes who support Frendlander, some of whom envy and have the desire to kill, thus making themselves immortal!
    The plot can be almost dismissed as one gunfight takes place after another and the body count rapidly rises. The main theme is to kill 20 men the total of which makes one Immortal, and it is not surprising that Lewis, who started out as a pacifist, and now having been given the title of No.9, is soon on his way to achieving that number.
   As with Living In Harmony it is the rule never to let yourself become involved, yet in Blood City the Chief Technician does allow herself to become involved and more, she begins to manipulate events to attain her own ends. She become immersed in the plot and begins to have designs on Lewis creates a relationship with him.. But later jealousy and hatred wells up within her as the Chief Technician realises that Lewis wants to escape with the girl Martine who arrived with the original group.
   The rejected Chief Technician creates a scene in which the girl is shot dead and then arranges for her new prey to be pursued by the manic Marshal Frendlander. And with a few clicks of buttons on her control panel the Chief Technician arranges for Frendlander to follow Lewis wherever he runs, to put him wherever Lewis hides.
   In the end the Lawman Frendlander commits suicide by his own gun and the scheme goes horribly wrong for the lab femme fatale, Katherine, who some would have you believe is the same as Cathy in Living In Harmony although Cathy is spelt with a 'C' and not 'K' as Katherine places herself in the plot of Blood City as a saloon girl.
    Finally Lewis awakens in the laboratory and realises what's been happening to him as No.6 did in the laboratory of A B & C. Lewis discovers that his colleagues have been rendered mad and are being held in a caged room. As for Lewis it seems that the world has gone mad, the experiment he has undergone is designed to find natural killers, those who can go out into the real world and keep law and order but who would be prepared to kill if so necessary.
    Lewis rejects this, he upsets instruments in the laboratory and puts into motion the programme he has been undergoing, knowing that capture and living under control in this modern civilised society is unbearable. He much prefers to fight it out in the Old West. As the leader and his aide burst through the doors into the laboratory they find Lewis unconscious forever, electrodes self-applied to his head, now riding out as an 'Immortal' with a silver star pinned to his black-shirted chest.
    There is no doubt that there are Prisoneresuqe connotations in Welcome to Blood City those to be found in Living In Harmony but for those you will have to watch and judge for yourselves.

The article that follows comes from Halls of Horror magazine.


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