Bruce Purkey Finds Dazzling Trash With ‘Blood Machines’

Bruce Purkey gets seduced by the visually alluring 'Blood Machines,

On paper, there is no reason I should enjoy Blood Machines, a Shudder Original Series, directed by Seth Ickerman. It has a thin plot revolving around some naked-lady-ghost ai escaping from “blade runner” types, only passable acting, and relies heavily on digital effects. But, despite all of those shortcomings, there is a level of energetic creativity that just swept me up in its dazzlingly trashy spell. 

To understand Blood Machines, I need to describe the aesthetic. This movie lives somewhere in a nebulous, new genre that I think of as “psychedelic noir.” Psychedelic Noir might be art-house fare, like Gaspar Noé’s Enter The Void or manic revenge horror, like Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy, or cosmic family horror, like Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space

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Take this general tone and mix in a heavy dose of the sci fi, comic magazine Heavy Metal, where the artistic visions of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo ruled. Finally, tie it all together with a dark synth soundtrack from the great Carpenter Brut. Brut’s work really adds the energy to bring Ickerman’s vision to life, providing a score that would be right at home in earlier Dario Argento.

So, I can’t recommend Blood Machines to the average viewer and can’t even say it’s great cinema, but if you have 50 minutes to try out the mind-bending, dayglo, cyberpunk world of Blood Machines, you might just have as much fun as I did.