We’ve reached the ceremonious mid season turning point of the genre-grindhouse masterpiece Blood Drive! If you’re not familiar, the year is 1999 in a reality where oil prices have skyrocketed after an earthquake opened a gaping fissure, The Scar, right through the heart of the United States. The population has migrated to the coasts and the ominous Heart Industries seemingly has their corporate fingers in every facet of modern life: television, candy, fuel additives, beer, police forces,and a new technology: engines that run on blood!
The Blood Drive is a cross country race in automobiles powered by the blood engine technology- think Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 cross-bred with Wacky Racers followed up by a nightly by the most insane musical festival. At the center is the eccentric Julian Slink, the vaudevillian Master of Mayhem and creator of the Blood Drive. Slink has assembled a field of drivers including, Clowndick, Fat Elvis, the suburban couple Cliff and Domi, the Gentleman and the Scholar, and our heroes Grace D’Argento and Arthur Bailey. The rules are simple, it’s a stage by stage race to the finish and the last racer across the line has a small explosive embedded on their spine detonated.
From Left to Right: Julian Slink(Colin Cunningham), Grace D’Argento(Christina Ochoa), and Arthur Bailey(Alan Ritchson)
Outside the race we have a few other characters to note: Christopher, Arthur’s Contracrime(the standing police force in this world) partner and Aki, the S&M sex-bot tasked with assimilating Christopher into Heart Industries after he is captured trying to help Arthur. Through a series of body and behavior modification, Christopher has found himself not only in the “heart” of the evil corporation but also with a new new cybernetic eye capable of tapping into feeds from the Blood Drive as well as a number of other feeds around Heart. We are also treated to an awkward, and often times uncomfortable, budding love story between Chris and Aki.
Left to Right: Aki(Marama Corlett), Christoper(Thomas Dominique)
Unraveling throughout the race are the motives of both Grace and Arthur. Karma, Grace’s younger sister, is institutionalized and the race, with careful manipulation by Slink, takes Grace on a series of empty leads in an attempt to bring Karma back. Arthur, we learn through a notebook he has kept through his cop career, is on a mission to take down Heart. On top of this year’s current race, studio execs at Heart are planning to bring the Blood Drive event to the masses and begin airing the race global – with or without the services of Julian Slink which has at times had “creative differences” with the direction Heart wants the race to go.
What makes Blood Drive a special series and must watch for all genre fans is the back drop against familiar grindhouse themes and tropes. In the first 7 episodes, references to cannibals, Evil Dead, George A Romero’s zombie universe, Amazons, hulking abominations and so much more create a welcoming vibe for gore hounds and horror fans alike. Every episode seems to be peppered with simple call outs and in-jokes, like Kox Meat Packing and Smax Candy Co. Like icing on the most horrific cake, we are treated week in and out to one of the most gore-filled, over the top series ever to hit cable television – there is an entire episode with a set covered in “bleuge!”
Do we have you attention now? Good. Blood Drive is not a series you should be glancing over and the good news it is so easy to get caught back up. Full episodes are available via the SyFy channel app as well as on www.SyFy.com. The show airs at 10PM on Wednesday nights and if you want to join in, we do a live tweet along during the 10PM EST airing(follow @SlackJawPunks on Twitter!)
After you’ve caught up, make sure to listen to BURNING BLOOD: The Blood Drive Podcast right here on Slack Jaw Punks(and Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher!) Bub and Matt give an episode by episode break down and little insights from the creator, writers and actors!
Make sure to check out Episode 208 of the Slack Jaw Punks Podcast to hear Bub and Matt sit down with show creator and genre-genius James Roland! We also have an upcoming interview with the man behinds Julian Slink, Colin Cunningham, coming up on the podcast so be on the lookout for that!