Horror films often borrow from the social climate of the times. Most of the time these films will mix in current events and social issues going on in the country in subtle ways. When done right, this is an excellent way to flesh out a horror movie. It makes the film relevant and easier for the viewer to sink their teeth into the material. Here's the key though, It’s a fine line. In the case of “Blood Car”, the film makers decided to not only cross this fine line; they decided to jump over it, rub it out and forget about it all together. This doesn’t mean that they are simply beating us about the head about high gas prices simply because they can; this means that they’ve managed to take some current events and turn it into a pretty stellar bit of satire mixed in with a great little monster flick.
Archie is a died in the wool tree hugger. He loves the earth and goes out of his way to make sure he’s not harming any of it. This could be backlash from the film's setting; our own near future where gas prices have skyrocketed to forty dollars a gallon. In this future, people simply stop driving. They can’t afford it anymore. This is a great turn of events for the earth, but it is a pretty drastic change of life for the citizens of the United States. It could be that Archie just has a thing for wheat grass and wants to save the world by inventing a car engine that will run on said hippie cocktail. Time passes by and Archie continues to work on his engine, met with failure after failure. Until that fateful night when he cuts open his hand and spills some blood in the fuel tank of his wheat grass mobile. The engine likes blood and it runs on it pretty damn well. With his newfound popularity that comes with driving a car in a world where gas is simply un-affordable, Archie begins to reap the benefits of his invention; he’s getting laid, and he likes it. Just how far will Archie go to keep his blood car running?
I’ve heard much about “Blood Car” over the past year or two. There was a lot of praise and even a lot of negativity. It seems that people were divided pretty widely on the film. I can’t say for sure why I put off my own viewing for over three years, but it could be a case of having heard so much about the film across the podcast landscape, I felt there really wasn’t much for me to see. I’d heard most of it from the countless reviews and podcasts out there that covered it. Having finally sat through it though, I can honestly say that I’m sorry that I waited so long. I was met with a great horror comedy with plenty of laughs and a solid story. And maybe even just a little because it has a grown up Anna Chlumsky in it and she’s still adorable.
The true beauty in “Blood Car” lies in a great script that’s filled with great jokes and a straight forward plot. The movie pushes you gently into thinking that they are going to serve you some granola flavored agenda with a heavy hand and then switches things up with a slap to the face making fun of the scene you just watched. They lampoon the culture, they lampoon the social agenda. Yet despite all this, it still points out our love of gas guzzling pollution machines as well as shows us what too much power can do to an otherwise normal person. The jokes are plentiful throughout the movie and still the message underlying it all manages to carry through. It’s not all rainbows and hippies either; while the gore is fairly light throughout the movie, there are still gore jokes aplenty and they all manage to fit in logically with the scene built around it.
Possibly my favorite thing about this movie is the lead actor Mike Brune who plays Archie. He starts out bland as you would expect from your stereotypical granola munching earth friend. His life is mundane and he takes his kindergarten teaching job far too seriously. As the first act unfolds, you will find yourself rolling your eyes at Archie a bit as he misses the obvious and holds on to his bland outward appearance. As we keep going though, we watch as Archie slowly comes unhinged in dealing with his hemoglobin hotrod. It’s not a straight cut to psychosis; Archie is fully aware that to keep his invention and love life trucking along, he’ll have to go against the beliefs that he has raised himself to follow. It doesn’t stop him though. Watching as he slowly brings himself to terms with his newfound fate is down right hilarious at times and he blossoms into a pretty great nut job for such a low profile film.
“Blood Car” is a solid horror comedy through and through. They take just enough cracks at themselves, the peace-nick earth lovers, the auto industry, the government and more to make this a movie full of good laughs. And they do it all while still pointing out that we have a problem in our lives to contend with. It’s a shoestring movie; the central sets of the film are a beat up car and two ramshackle lemonade stands, one marked ‘Wheat Grass Stand’ and the other ‘Meat’. It doesn’t matter though. The writing and acting that takes place around it are good enough to keep things moving along nicely and give you a hell of a chuckle all at the same time.