What do you get if you cross futuristic cop shows Almost Human or APB, the dystopian world of Death Race 2000, where contestants are implanted with Battle Royale-like exploding microchips and set them off on a Mad Max road race across America in cars fuelled by human blood and piss like Peter Weir’s magnificent but woefully underrated 1974 film, The Cars That Ate Paris? Oh, and what if the result was produced by Robert Rodriguez, directed by Rob Zombie, edited by Edgar Wright with Quentin Tarantino supervising music and broadcast on Latino El Rey Network?
Muthafuckin’ Blood Drive, that’s what! SyFy’s latest series seems to be a mash-up homage to everything great, ever!
THE FUCKING COP
The story of the pilot episode“The Fuckng Cop” (yes, really!) begins with a voiceover: The year is 1999, gas costs $2,000 a barrel and my future wife, Grace d’Argento (another brilliant on-the-nose homage, played by Christina Ochoa) goes around feeding rapey rednecks to her vampire Chevy Camaro so she can make it to decrepit Los Angeles by midnight.
After introducing two Verhoeven Robocop-esque privatised cops, Arthur Bailey (Alan Ritchson) convinces his partner, Christopher Carpenter to stake out Club Mayhem – a brilliantly tacky post-apocalyptic club/death race run by flamboyant master of ceremonies, Julian Slink. And it is he, actor Colin Cunningham (Dark Skies) who absolutely steals the pilot episode.
BLOOD DRIVE IS A FILM GEEK’S HEAVEN
If mash-ups are the theme of the day, try this: Imagine Dick Dastardly, the Fields of the Nephilim and The Mighty Boosh in a blender, emceeing for the dregs of this Class of 1999 society – the debauched lowlifes, the heroin chic goths, neon dreadlocked steampunks, the unwashed vamps, the jailbirds and the necrophiles. And among these circus freaks are the other brilliantly stereotyped racers: The Gentleman and The Scholar, Rip Bone, Clown Dick and Fat Elvis.
Long story short, Grace and Arthur are inexplicably teamed together as race partners, injected with the electrocuting bomb chip and drive off into the sunrise… with the perfect core conflict set up within 23 minutes. Bad girl needs to murder for fuel to win $10million to help her disabled sister, Good Cop won’t let her kill anyone. Genius.
Blood Drive is everything you’d expect from a homage to every exploitation genre ever – clunky, wise-cracking dialogue falls from one-dimensional tongues. It’s clichéd, over-the-top, predictable and poorly acted; its low budget means it’s badly choreographed.
Its highly-sexualised nature (and desert setting – though it was shot in South Africa not California) gives it an exploitation feel like Russ Meyer’s Supervixens series… only with vampire cars that eat people, surf music and characters that can’t decide whether they’re from The Simpsons or Slipknot.
But I fucking love it!
The fact that two main characters share surnames with horror directors (Dario Argento and John Carpenter) plus the fact that Arthur is also the name of the hapless tourist protagonist in The Cars That Ate Paris, it’s obvious that 36-year-old writer James Roland (until recently a producer’s assistant and 2nd unit A.D.) has a genuine love for, and encyclopaedic knowledge of, the horror and Grindhouse genres.
The pilot made me think ‘why didn’t I come up with this’ but as a series, it’s gonna have to come up with something to keep it fresh every week. The word on the streets is that the series will tackle a different exploitation genre every week which is a wonderful idea (like The River tried, and failed at, a few years back)
That said, I highly doubt that after a second episode (even after The Fucking Cop ended up fucking in that hilarious, adrenaline-fuelled horny sex-scene) Blood Drive will still be my favorite thing ever…
but I’m gonna enjoy the shit out of it while it lasts…
Blood Drive continues on the SyFy channel on Wednesday nights. Hopefully forever.