Blood Machines (Vapid Sci-Fi Horror Synth Cheese)

 

Those uninitiated in synthwave and unfamiliar with one of the forefathers of the genre, Carpenter Brut, can now be exposed to it all through bloody 80s nostalgia with the release of Blood Machines on Shudder. The three episode “epic” by Seth Ickerman involves the discovery of an entity who escapes her spaceship, turning into a humanoid ghost bearing an upside down cross on her navel. Two galactic hunters, Vascan and Lago, along with a droid resembling a bargain-bin C3PO, chase this semi “star child”, who begins to assimilate everything it comes in contact with - mechanical or organic. The hunters also encounter Corey, a mysterious priestess who heads a cult which protects the machines but whose motives are unclear. For what’s supposed to be an epic, it would work better as a novella.

 
 

The neon space world and hammy acting resemble the cult film Manborg and could have worked better as an extended music video due to its similarities to other films of its type, which is something you’ll likely notice almost immediately. The visuals work best when the music is pumping and the dialogue is quieted, actually, but it’s then less of a film and more of a music video. Scenes where the emphasis is put on non-verbal gestures and actions, such as when observing alien entities, fit the music splendidly, but the three-act structure of Blood Machines doesn’t flow seamlessly. If the film was condensed into one thirty-minute section of music and zero dialogue, it could have been a minor classic. The first five minutes of episode two, featuring the “Blood Machines Theme” is, in fact, all you need to revisit, leaving it, as a whole, forgettable genre fluff.

 

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Written by The Dyer Wraith

Blood Machines (2020)
Seth Ickerman (director), Shudder (distributors)
3.4 / 5