Directors Raphaël Hernandez and Savitry Joly-Gonfard, working under the pseudonym Seth Ickerman, are on some next-level shit. If you’ve seen their video for Carpenter Brut’s “Turbo Killer,” you’ve got an inkling of what they’re bringing to the table. But you are not prepared for Blood Machines.
Think of 1981’s Heavy Metal mutated through a steady IV drip of Blade Runner and the sights and sounds of John Carpenter. In a futuristic world, two crew members of an AI-assisted ship are attempting to salvage a downed ship. The two men come across a group of women who are determined to protect the downed vessel at any cost. A battle ensues, and during the skirmish, the disabled ship’s artificial intelligence emerges from the wreckage. The AI takes the form of a ghostly nude woman with a glowing, inverted cross ablaze upon her torso.
From this scene, the two men give chase across the galaxy. The embodied AI flees to a cluster of abandoned wreckage. In this place, the AI will call upon unexpected allies and make her final stand.
The story is serviceable enough—but let’s be honest here. Hands down, the draw for Blood Machines lies primarily in its aural and visual delights. In those aspects, the film delivers in spades. Blood Machines is a demon-fueled synthwave explosion, throbbing with the unmistakable sounds of Carpenter Brut. It’s an acid-tinged plunge deep into the minds of Carpenter Brut and Seth Ickerman, filled with indelible sights and sounds.
Blood Machines was funded in part by a Kickstarter, and it’s clear that the money raised was put to good use. The creativity on display is enough to carry any portions of the narrative that may be lacking, and the rare bit of dodgy CGI. Blood Machines is an ideal straight-to-the-brain injection of Carpenter Brut, for the initiated and yet-to-be initiated alike.
Fantastic Fest 2019 hosted the North American premiere of Blood Machines on Thursday, September 19th. The film plays again on Monday, September 23rd, and will be coming soon to Shudder.
Fantastic Fest 2019: ‘Blood Machines’ is an Acid-Tinged Plunge Into the Mind of Carpenter Brut [Review]
Blood Machines is a demon-fueled synthwave cyberpunk equivalent of Heavy Metal, throbbing with the sounds of Carpenter Brut.