Bruce Purkey Finds Dazzling Trash With ‘Blood Machines’

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

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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

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.

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