Today: May 17, 2024

Blood Car

In the

future, like, two weeks from now, the cost of gasoline has risen so
dramatically ($36 a gallon!) that the
global economy has ground to a halt, everyone now walks or cycles and only the
very rich can afford to drive.
Teenagers still have sex in cars but the cars are
stationary, stacked high in junkyards.

 

Sweet, well-meaning, vegan kindergarten teacher Archie
(Ashton Kutcher-alike Mike Brune)
spends his days reading right-on kids books like Tibet: The Land That Cried to his students and spends his nights
working on his own eco-friendly car engine that will run on the wheatgrass he
buys from the veggie juice stand run by the gawky and besotted Lorraine (My Girl’s Anna Chlumsky, all growed up).

 

His experiments fail miserably until one night he gets
drunk, cuts himself and accidentally contaminates the wheatgrass with his
blood. The engine roars to life
and Archie drains a little blood from his own veins to go cruising around the
neighbourhood. Showing off the
working car to Lorraine, he attracts slutty maneater Denise (Katie Rowlett) who runs the meat stand
next to the veggie stand. Pretty
soon she’s leading Archie astray, introducing him to the delights of kinky sex
and barbequed meat. But Denise
only dates guys with cars and Archie’s car needs blood. Casting aside his vegan principles,
Archie experiments with animal blood only to discover there’s just no
substitute for human blood and lots of it. As Archie is driven to ever more desperate measures to feed
the car’s hunger and his sanity starts to disintegrate, a shadowy government
agency is watching…

 

It’s hard to define what exactly makes a cult movie but
gleefully throwing a baby into the ravenous maw of a carnivorous car probably
counts. Made in 2007 and a hit at
film festivals around the world (I first saw it at 2008’s Edinburgh Film
Festival) Alex Orr’s Blood Car might be a little tasteless
(ok, a lot tasteless) but there’s
just something inherently funny about a weeping vegan tearfully culling the
neighbourhood’s pets (cue a montage of cute, waggy-tailed dogs and cuddly
kittens being shot) just so he can get laid. Tongue firmly in cheek, Orr lines up his sacred cows and
takes a bolt gun to their heads as Archie, filled with the best of intentions,
degenerates into madness. Feeding his
elderly dead neighbor to his car could be seen as conscientious recycling and
you could argue that the carjacker who attacks him has it coming but pretty soon
he’s bundling disabled war veterans into his hungry engine (the artificial
limbs jamming the works) before graduating to cruising for busty, gullible
hitchhikers who think they’re about to see some puppies right before Archie
tosses them into the whirling blades hidden in his trunk. From there it’s just a short hop to
chasing government agents down the street with an axe, covered in blood and
howling like a banshee, as the film succumbs to it’s own delirious insanity.

While they won’t win any awards, the performances are arch
and suit the film’s garish, primary-coloured tone. Mike Brune’s Archie makes for an awkward, sweet but
self-absorbed hero and his physical resemblance to Ashton Kutcher can’t help but make you think of Dude Where’s My (Blood) Car?, his
descent into psychosis hilarious and deftly played. Archie knows what he’s doing is unspeakably wrong, betraying
every principle he’s ever had, but he’s not going to let that stop him. Chlumsky is gorgeous and gawky,
reminding you how good she was as a child actress and making you wonder why
she’s fallen so far off the radar while Katie Rowlett tears into her role as
white-trash femme fatale Denise, a dominant, tequila-fuelled trollop who’s into
watersports and strap-ons, gleefully spitting out all the best lines in the
movie.

Cheerfully offensive and ultra-low budget, Blood Car is a dark, satirical
throwback to the early exploitation flicks of Roger Corman, movies like A
Bucket Of Blood
or Little Shop Of
Horrors
. The film sticks
pretty close to the formula of these cheapo classics; a geek finds acceptance,
is seduced by fame/sex/power and, having had a taste of the good life, goes to
increasingly demented lengths to hang on to it. It’s not rocket science and Orr and company don’t pretend
for a second that it is, but it’s unpretentious, surprisingly charming fun with
a subversive, anti-corporate undercurrent. “Killing people for fuel is not racist. It’s patriotic,” an ultra-cool
government agent tells Archie, seducing the hapless twerp with visions of power
and glory, hammering home the film’s message that America’s thirst for oil
costs lives.

Smart, funny and gloriously absurd, Blood Car has everything you want in in a low-budget, post-modern
horror movie; sex, violence, laughs, buckets of blood and a high ideal or
two. Buckle up for a
gore-splattered guilty pleasure.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: david.watson@filmjuice.com

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