Part of me really loves trashy, so-bad-it’s-good television. Heck, that’s why I did those Amish Mafia episode reviews years ago.
And now that I’ve found a new television series – Blood Drive – that’s so far over the top it lands in the next county – I’m hooked. Not only does the show – a cross-country road race where the cars are fueled with human blood – pay homage to every 1970’s late night double feature drive-in movie, it does so with the full and complete knowledge that the viewers are in on the joke.
Episode 2 of Blood Drive – the wryly named “Welcome to Pixie Swallow” – encompasses that trend. Note – this review is of a television show that is rated TV-MA, and this review is recommended for mature readers only. Viewer discretion is advised.
Our main protagonists – badass bad girl Grace and beefcake cop Arthur – are at a racing rest stop and order food at the ubiquitous diner. Of course, we all know that the diner’s menu is less salad green and more Soylent Green, but that in itself is like watching televised poker and knowing what each player has in his hand, and watching the players strategize without THEM knowing what’s in their opponents’ hands.
Yes, plenty of jokes about the food being served extra rare, and don’t even ask about the corn dogs – yeah, no, don’t ask.
Of course, at some point we have to get some backstory for the characters, and thanks to one of the secondary stories – Arthur’s cop partner Christopher has been captured by the big bad Heart Industries, and it’s through his eye (yes, I said eye) that we learn about Heart Enterprises and its far-reaching grasp throughout the Blood Drive universe.
Apparently the world of Blood Drive went into a vast wasteland because of – get this – hydrofracking that tore the United States in half. See, I told you that hydrofracking was bad for the planet – it turned the United States into Damnation Alley. Heck, if that’s the case, maybe all the racers are headed toward Albany, just like in Damnation Alley.
We also learn that Heart Industries – a small tech company before the fracking took place – profited from the fracking disaster, and is now the largest and most integrated corporation in America. They are planning on taking the Blood Drive race to television (which is why they call racemaster Julian Slink to their headquarters for an update on the race), and they also own the mental hospital where Grace’s sister Karma is held prisoner.
Oh yeah, back to Grace and Arthur. They quickly have that Soylent Green moment – in this case, they discover that the burgers they ate at the restaurant were freshly made from the carcass of one of their fellow racers, Fat Elvis (Fat Elvis’ death scene is brilliantly filmed) – then Grace and Arthur have to fight their way out of Pixie Swallow before the local band of cannibals arrive to devour them and their fellow racers. Yikes!
And in another subplot, we learn about one of the other driving teams, “The Gentleman” and “The Scholar,” whose dom-sub relationship is under strain. The Gentleman needs The Scholar to keep their team’s Rolls-Royce functional for the race, while The Scholar needs The Gentleman for emotional support. Not really sure how I feel about these characters, yes I know it’s the kind of characters that were stereotyped in 1970’s exploitation films, but still… this is 2017…
In the end, there’s another car chase, as Arthur rescues Grace from the clutches of the Pixie Swallow Diner crew, then lets Grace know that he received information about the whereabouts of Grace’s sister Karma (Grace is in the race to free her sister from an insane asylum).
Again, this show is completely over-the-top, nudge nudge, wink wink, totally embracing its 1970’s exploitation grindhouse roots. And believe me, it’s fun to try to pick out the midnight movie references in each film and to appreciate which genre the show is spoofing – in this case, I’m seeing references in classic 70’s films like The Man From The Deep River and Soylent Green in this picture. Wow.
If Blood Drive can keep the action and adventure cranked up for the show’s entire 13-episode run, it will be a fun ride for all.
Can’t wait for Episode 3… oh wait, here’s a VHS cassette with a promo for next week.