Blood Machines review: Space opera feast for the senses

Blood Machines review: Space opera feast for the senses

Seth Ickerman and Carpenter Brut are back to blow our minds with their space opera for Shudder.

Having directed synth-wave artist Carpenter Brut’s highly successful music video, Turbo Killer (click the link if you haven’t seen it before), Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard (under the pseudonym of Seth Ickerman) are back with Shudder’s short film/series Blood Machines. And if Turbo Killer didn’t melt your mind – this will successfully finish it off.

Told in three chapters (and totaling 50 minutes), Blood Machines follows two space hunters who are tracking down an AI-controlled spaceship trying to free itself. After taking it down, the ghost of a young woman pulls itself out of the machine, as if the spaceship had a soul. Trying to understand the nature of this entity, they start chasing the woman through space and end up in a giant floating scrap yard. And that’s where things go completely bonkers – we’re talking body-swapping, dimension-shifting and a giant naked dance sequence of more spaceship women whose movements represent their wrecked ships being flung at an enemy.

But the plot isn’t really the point here, with Brut’s score heaping on the frantic beats and Ickerman flinging red-infused visuals at you from every direction, this isn’t really a film or TV series you’re watching. This is an experience and there’s no time to really think about the plot or much else as your senses are pulled apart, played around with a bit, then put back together in a slightly different way than they were before.

And Blood Machines truly is visually stunning, from the iconic spaceship woman, named Mima, naked apart from a glowing cross on her body flying through space, to the AI-controlled spaceships themselves, all giant grotesquely beautiful hunks of metal and guns, your eyes will take a while to recover.

At 50 minutes you can’t really become too involved in Blood Machines, especially as each episode is so short, but that’s part of its charm. Short bursts of ‘what just happened…?’ followed by Brut’s Eighties-inspired score as the credits roll by on each episode gives you not nearly enough time to prepare for the next installment. This is almost akin to a longer version of a music video in a way, though we wouldn’t be so brave as to put Blood Machines in any kind of category. Like the AIs themselves, this is a free entity flying through genre boundaries and blasting apart any notion of normalcy. It has to be seen to be believed.

Blood Machines is streaming on Shudder now.