REVIEW: BLOOD MACHINES combines science fiction and the surreal in an explosion of retro-flavored Lovecraftian sci-fi/horror.


Director Seth Ickerman combines the driving retro synth-wave sound of Carpenter Brut to a fun 80’s sci-fi body horror throwback with shades of Alien, Blade Runner, and From Beyond.

Director Seth Ickerman and synth-wave band Carpenter Brut have a soft spot for “Grindhouse” flavored science fiction and horror. Ickerman’s 2016 video for the Brut song “Turbo Killer,” introduced a melange of spaceships, bio-organic entities, and sports cars controlled by the spirits of the machines as interpreted as hot girls sporting neon crucifixes in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by would-be warrior nuns in gas masks and all manner of retro-flavored imagery. Four years later, Ickerman and Carpenter Brut team up again with a “cosmic space opera” entitled BLOOD MACHINES, which gives a backstory and arc for much of the imagery seen in the Turbo Killer video while spinning off a whole new story.

In Blood Machines, a 3-part 50-minute series debuting this Thursday, May 21st on Shudder, we are introduced to 2 “blade runners;” Lago (Christian Erickson), a ship mechanic very inspired by Harry Dean Stanton’s Brett from 1979’s Alien, and Vascan (Anders Heinrickson) the ship’s arrogant captain somewhat inspired by Harrison Ford’s Deckard from Blade Runner. The 2 are chasing down a rogue warship called the Mima which has crashed on a world called Apus 7. Upon landing, the duo is confronted by a group of scavengers led by the enigmatic Corey (Elisa Losowski). After a spirited confrontation, Corey helps to seemingly exorcise the spirit of the Mima, which materializes as a sensual nude figure (Joelle Berckmans) which blasts off into space where Corey, Lago, and Vacan crew up with their AI vessel the Tracy to hunt the A.I. entity down.

Blood Machines sports some cool retro production design with shades of From Beyond and the influence of HR Giger with its biomechanical feel, as well as retro aging and Grindhouse effects to give it an 80’s feel. The imagery is really cool to behold, even if at times absurd, and has some really innovative scenes that draw you in, including a warship battle juxtaposed by a dance of the nude female A.I. entities controlling them. But really, the main star is the score by Carpenter Brut, especially in the 2nd and 3rd chapters.

Like a ’90s Heavy Metal comic magazine come to life, Blood Machines combines sex, sci-fi, horror, and violence with a heavily stylized retro feel and effects. At a run-time of less than an hour, it’s well worth checking out and basking in its immersive imagery and soundtrack.

– BLOOD MACHINES debuts on Shudder on Thursday, May 21st