The film is a collaboration between synthwave musician Carpenter Brut and French administrators Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard (who work collectively below the pseudonym “Seth Ickerman”). Carpenter Brut and Seth Ickerman had joined forces earlier than on the music video for Brut’s 2016 track “Turbo Killer,” which will be greatest described as two competing ritual sacrifices involving unhealthy males and captive hotties. In the video, one ritual ritualizes in a delightfully synthetic graveyard whereas the opposite does its factor aboard—prepare—a spaceship formed like an inverted crucifix.
Cool. Car chases ensue, synthesizers blare, and every little thing is awash within the sort of threatening neon that befits an ’80s homage.
The filmmakers try to carry the identical gonzo power to their 50-minute followup, Blood Machines, and for probably the most half they succeed. Sure, among the dialogue bits will be clunky, and what will be loved as “archetypal” at 4 minutes typically simply turns into “unsubtle” when stretched too lengthy. But these leaks do not sink the ship.
The filmmakers describe Blood Machines as a sequel to “Turbo Killer,” which makes about as a lot sense as the rest in “Turbo Killer.” After the music video’s success, Ickerman (the Ickermen?) raised €117,539 through Kickstarter, which Google says is at present $128,284.42. Now is after I remind you that Avengers: Endgame value $356 million dollars, or roughly three thousand occasions as a lot.
For that princely sum, Brut and the Ickermen get an interplanetary space-chase of bone-crunching sound results and sexy-gross spaceships. Our two spacemen (Anders Heinrichsen and Christian Erickson) observe a rogue, AI-powered spaceship to the floor of a desolate world. While attempting to destroy or get better the rogue ship (Blood Machines is both imprecise or I do not listen actual good), they cross paths with a band of scavenger-witches, main them on a pursuit of cosmic dimension.
Themes and imagery return from “Turbo Killer,” however the palette has grow to be engorged. The setting is solely extraterrestrial; the spacemen’s AI computer seems to be like a golden fertility statue that Indiana Jones has no chance of carrying; an angular spacewarp results in a psychedelic nebula; and the cavernous interiors recall to mind a neon-lit Notre-Dame. Blood Machines doesn’t lack for ambition.
Wait… did you say it’s 50 minutes lengthy?
Fifty minutes is an odd runtime for a contemporary movie. It’s exhausting to work up the power to drive to the films when an hour later you will be again residence together with your depressing ideas once more. Conversely, 50 minutes is a big ask for those who’re at a short-film competition. You might watch someplace between 5 and 10 motion pictures in the identical time. And consider how snooty you possibly can be to your film-snob bros who squandered that hour at only one screening. “Lame!” you’d exhort. “Lame!”
But with so many people caught at residence, perhaps now could be the right time for Blood Machines to debut on Shudder. Here’s the scene: you are pinned to the couch below a loud night breathing housecat. A mix of spilled Dr Pepper Ten and Doritos mud has welded your hand to the TV distant, however you do not have the psychological power to begin a two-hour function. Maybe you must begin one other episode of no matter binge-able cable collection was cooked up in a lab to hook your mind chemical compounds. But you determine in opposition to it—the present is beginning to make your frontal lobe really feel as punished as your liver. Now’s the perfect time for a 50-minute one-and-done.
Glorified music video
Do folks nonetheless use “glorified music video” as a solution to criticize a film? That’s a silly factor to say. The Crow is a glorified music video, and it is the raddest factor ever.
The greatest elements of Blood Machines are the music-video elements: the synths, the chases, the inexplicable imagery. You know, the final WTF-edness. The non-music elements are the weakest. Clunky dialogue concurrently explains an excessive amount of whereas not explaining sufficient, and the preliminary standoff between the spacemen and the cryptic machine-defenders goes on too lengthy for the allegory Blood Machines clearly is. Fairy tales transfer fast—there isn’t any break within the Three Little Pigs to marvel, “The pigs have created an infrastructure that allows for the creation of bricks, and they can talk?”
One of the nice issues about silent horror movies like Nosferatu and The Fall of the House of Usher is that the characters cannot weasel out of their issues by speaking. Once the nightmare begins, dialog goes the best way of the dodo. That custom persevered, to various levels, within the badly dubbed European horror movies of the postwar period. Think of Euro-cheap trashterpieces like Suspiria and even Night of the Demons wherein minimalist spurts of English-language dialogue are portioned out sparingly amongst actors who most likely realized two or three English phrases phonetically simply earlier than a director yelled “Action!” in Italian. Blood Machines might have benefitted from that.
Story or resume?
To quote my colleague Nathan Matisse, quick(-ish) movies are sometimes made by filmmakers who’re early of their careers to “act as proof-of-concepts, they play at festivals because people who might be able to collaborate on or finance a larger project tend to attend, and the goal might be a future deal more than audience distribution.” In different phrases, the purpose of many quick movies is each to inform an unique thought but in addition to show to the Men in Suits who’ve All the Money that the place to place a digital camera, when to chop a scene, and are available in underbudget. (Watch the terrific behind-the-scenes video that accompanies “Turbo Killer” to see simply how small an operation the Ickermen have been working. And you get to see a gasmask-wearing area demon verify his smartphone between takes.)
So is Blood Machines 50 minutes lengthy as a result of it must be 50 minutes, or as a result of the Ickermen had 50 minutes of particular results they needed to indicate off to get funding for his or her subsequent, even greater challenge? Is it the Ickermen’s approach of telling the The Suits, “Look at all we did for 124 grand! Imagine what we could do with twice that much!” Maaaaaybe.
But when The Suits see it, I hope they throw fistfuls of money on the Ickermen and everybody celebrates with a couple of traces of coke, which I perceive is the first love language of Men in Suits. I’m wanting to see what the Ickermen do with their in-development first function movie, which is titled—I poop you not—Ickerman.
The hubris! I can not wait.