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Series / Blood Drive

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Blood Drive is an action-comedy-gorefest series that premiered on Syfy in June of 2017.

Los Angeles, 1999. The world has gone to shit. Oil is $2000 a barrel, crime runs rampant, resources are scarce and things are just generally bad.

In the middle of all this is Arthur Bailey (Alan Ritchson), goody-goody employee of Contracrime, doing his best to make things better for the impoverished citizens.

Along with his partner Christopher, Arthur stumbles onto a hedonistic party of madness, run by the diabolical Julian Slink. He's putting on a race, the titular Blood Drive. A cross country slaughter-fest of blood, babes and debauchery. And Arthur finds himself shanghaied into participating, as does his partner, the mysterious Grace D'Argento (Christina Ochoa), who has her own reasons for racing.

Now with explosives in their necks, the two join forces to combat fat Elvis Impersonators, nutjobs dressed like clowns, cannibals and all the other insanity of their America.

...Did we mention the cars run on human blood? Yeah, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Cancelled following the end of its first and only season.

Not to be confused with the video game of the same name, although both share similar themes.


  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: The human survivors in Steel City have made a religion out of office team-building exercises, with jargon like "synergy" serving as holy writ.
  • Anachronism Stew: Set in the dystopian futurescape of...1999, but featuring modernisms like hybrid cars and references to Taylor Swift.
  • Anti-Villain: Julian Slink. Bordering on Heel–Face Revolving Door because he'll go against anybody that endangers his show.
  • Artistic License – Biology: One of the viewer complaints flashed during the complaint line advertisement is that blood is not combustible.
  • Auto Erotica: In the first episode, while the car is still moving! Since Grace and Arthur are in last place, the adrenaline generated by doing this overrides the chips in their necks, saving them from having their heads blown up.
  • Bathtub Scene: In "A Fistful Of Blood", Grace lures Arthur into the bathroom while she's bathing and seductively rises out of the tub in an attempt to seduce him. The audience only sees her Toplessness from the Back or Shoulders-Up Nudity, but he gets the full eyeful. While he can't help but enjoy the view, he ultimately turns her down since he knows she's vulnerable and just wants Sex for Solace from him at that point and he's Above the Influence.
  • Bedlam House:
    • Even before it went to hell, Kane Hill Asylum hadn't been a functioning psychiatric hospital in years; rather, Heart Industries was using it purely for human experimentation. One of those experiments, involving Smax chocolate, went horribly wrong and caused the patients to take over and torture the staff.
    • The rehabilitation center that Karma was transferred to from Kane Hill apparently wasn't much better. The women there staged a revolt and ran off to form the Lady Land of Majora.
  • Berserk Button: As one unlucky cannibal finds out, Rib Bone does not like it when people leave their pets locked in their cars.
  • Big Bad: Turns out, Grace's sister Karma has been pulling everyone's strings the whole time.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Dr. Vermaak. His surname is the Dutch word for entertainment.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Arthur,Grace and Slink finally achieve their goal of destroying Heart's corporate office, but the explosion ends up killing the latter two as well as Christopher and Aki.
  • Black Blood: The Glimmers bleed green goop. Their blood was tainted by a gasoline additive that leached into ground water, and subsequently works like super fuel.
  • B-Movie: Affectionately parodied by some commercials for the show as well as the episode previews, which portray the show as a set of low-rent slasher-type flicks.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Jack and Diane, the carriers of the sex-zombie disease in episode 5. Apparently, blood siblings having sex with each other is the only thing that produces the antidote. They eventually get shoved into a giant grinder machine mid-coitus, and their remains become part of the antidote they produced.
  • Cain and Abel: Grace and Karma turn out to be this in the end.
  • Cannibal Larder: In the second episode, the infamous Pixie Hollow diner is discovered to be a haven for cannibals by Arthur, where the guests are made into dinner. Apparently the food is quite delicious.
  • Casting Gag: This is not the first time that Alan Ritchson has played a character who's put in a fight-to-the-death situation
  • Censor Box: Several instances of nudity get the black box treatment, if they're not covered by Hand-or-Object Underwear or camera angles. Played for Laughs in that the boxes concealing men's privates are often much longer than would realistically be necessary.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The picture of Julian's prototype Soul Reclamator comes back into play in "Rise of the Primo" when it's revealed that Heart Industries built a working version.
    • You know all those DNA samples Aki took from Christopher during his imprisonment? Karma uses them to create a copy of him in the penultimate episode of the season.
  • Crapsack World: Julian outright refers to the world as a cesspool. There has been little to contradict him.
  • Creepy Physical: Aki spends the entirety of “In the Crimson Halls of Kane Hill” performing one of these on Christoper, complete with a skimpy leather nurse outfit.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Plentiful and numerous, not to mention un-bleeped. It's a wonder Syfy was able to get away with it.
  • Cool Gate: The Blood Gate, which wouldn't look out of place in a more visceral horror movie like Hellraiser or Event Horizon.
  • Cool Car: Grace's blood-red 1967 Camaro SS, called Karma or Sexy Suzy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Arthur's fight with Rib Bone in Kane Hill does not go his way. The much larger, much tougher goon kicks his ass up and down the halls before Arthur douses him with powdered Smax chocolate.
  • Dead All Along: Karma died in the revolt at the rehabilitation center, as Grace discovers when she sees the shrine that the women of Majora have built for her. Subverted, she's still alive.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: The pet mentioned under Berserk Button, a tiny chihuahua, is summarily adopted by Rib Bone and dubbed Caligula.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Even Slink is shocked when the Old Man turns out to be Karma.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Clown Dick's demise is partially caused by this, as he'd stopped to brag to (and grope) the Mayhem Girls.
  • Eaten Alive: Rib Bone is devoured by the candy-crazed inmates of Kane Hill when Arthur douses him in Smax-brand powdered chocolate. Also happens to a lot of unfortunate "fuel", if being chewed up by the teeth of a car's engine counts.
  • Eldritch Location: The Scar, a massive fissure running through the heart of America that was created when hydraulic fracturing caused a massive earthquake. Heart Industries built its fortune off of exploiting the various anomalies that it found in the Scar.
  • Elvis Impersonator: The racer known simply as Fat Elvis. Who ends up ground into hamburger.
  • Enemy Mine: Arthur and Grace have to team up with Julian to stop the sex-zombie apocalypse in return for the location of Grace's sister.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: In-universe. Arthur and Grace become fan favourites among people subscribing to the Blood Drive broadcasts. Heart executives are majorly pissed off at Julian when he sends Arthur and Grace to die in the Scar because without them the ratings will tank. And because that would ruin Karma's revenge on Grace.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The leader of the group holed up in Steel City is only known as The Supervisor, while her second in command is only known as Team Leader.
  • Explosive Leash: Explosive/shock chips in their necks keep the racers from ducking out, trying anything funny, or even getting more than a certain distance away from each other, though there are ways to circumvent them. Grace and Arthur eventually get theirs removed.
  • Eye Scream: Whatever happened to the Sheriff in the Scar burned both his eyes out, though he can still see.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • The nurse at the asylum, who'd previously helped Arthur, turns him in to Rib Bone in exchange for Smax.
    • Arthur snaps during the fight at the Battle Dome, and lets himself become the new Primo. Grace gets through to him in the following episode.
    • Karma manipulates Christopher into hating Arthur, and agreeing to kill him.
  • Faking the Dead: Karma, who then took on the identity of the Old Man in order to manipulate Slink and Grace.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Racers Cliff and Domi. Happily Married, and both lovers of wanton slaughter, such that killing people is their way of settling any disputes they might have. They ultimately kill each other in an act of passion during the melee at the Battle Dome, so that they don't have to worry about outliving the thrill.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • The Glimmers treat gasoline as this, thanks to the additive that warped them into what they are.
    • Smax candy causes people to treat sugar as this, to the point of homicide and eating people alive.
    • Red Rapture, which drives people insane. Grace's sister Karma ended up in an insane asylum due to it.
  • Faux Symbolism: Invoked. In episode 9, Arthur's vision quest leads him to a "Last Supper" Steal involving him, Grace and numerous other blood drivers. He questions what it is supposed to mean, but Vision!Aki tells him not to worry about it.
    Arthur: Well, of course Grace is Mary Magdalene, but why is Rib Bone a Rabbi?
    Dream!Aki: Don't look too deep into it. Why is Clown Dick wearing a cocktail dress?
  • First-Episode Twist: Christopher's impromptu partner Aki is a robot (one of many, at that), and she gets Christopher kidnapped by, and inducted into, Heart Industries.
  • Forced Orgasm:
    • Aki ends her salvo of DNA extractions from Christopher with a handjob. Being a robot, her technique was more than effective.
    • At the female-led Wet Canyon Resort, captive men are machine milked for their semen.
  • For the Evulz: Some of Heart Industries' creations make no logical sense beyond causing death and destruction.
  • Ghost City: Steel City is like this thanks to the Glimmers.
  • Glove Snap: Before collecting Christopher’s stool sample, Aki does this as she pulls on an elbow-length medical glove. You can guess what happens next.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Glimmers of Steel City.
  • Gorn: This show absolutely revels in showing human bodies being turned into red mulch.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Old Man, who apparently runs Heart Industries. Is in fact Karma in disguise, and she's the real Big Bad.
  • Homage: Many of the themes of each episode refer to and parody common subjects and settings in classic horror flicks. Such as a cult episode, asylums, cannibals, mutants, a plague, a western theme and a an oriental/kung-fu inspired episode.
  • Honey Trap: In a rarer male example, Arthur takes off his shirt to seduce and distract The Gentleman So Grace can steal the box controlling the brain-bombs.
  • Human Resources: The cars run on human blood, provided by mulching the unlucky fuel source in the meat grinder of an engine.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The proprietors of the Pixie Swallow motel. Fat Elvis becomes one of their biggest catches.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Just about everything involved with Heart Industries and the Blood Drive runs on this. Including Karma's revenge plot on Grace.
  • Klingon Promotion: Karma took over Heart Industries by killing all the board members.
  • Knight Templar: The sheriff of Red River, thanks to The Corruption of the Scar.
  • Lady Land: The residents of Majora, a run-down resort turned Amazonian refuge/sperm bank.
  • Large Ham: Julian Slink, the self-titled "Master of mayhem and god of the stage" has an expectedly large presence. Also a case of Evil Is Hammy.
  • Last-Second Showoff: Clown Dick stops to brag to the Mayhem Girls mere feet from the finish line. He is passed by Arthur and Grace, and quickly gets his head turned to pudding.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: At point, Arthur's vision quest in episode 9 leads him back to the Pixie Swallow diner, where Rib Bone and other already-dead contestants are frozen in that well-known tableau.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Arthur and Christopher both work for Contracrime, a private police force run by Heart Industries.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the last episode, roughly 30 minutes before the end of it, a bomb timer is started with 30 minutes left.
  • Loophole Abuse: Grace states that outright killing other racers is against the rules, but immediately states that everyone finds ways around that all the time.
    • Highlighting this: in episode 4, Rib Bone and Arthur both try to get the asylum patients to kill the other by offering Smax candy in some way, with Arthur winning via dumping a lot of Smax chocolate powder on Rib Bone.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Scar gasses filling the air of Cronenburgh makes everyone think it's a paradise full of beautiful people, rather than the rundown, mutant-infested hellhole it is.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Vermaak. Who is responsible for Red Rapture, Smax Candy, the Dionysus Strain and turning The Ogre into what he is.
  • Mass Hypnosis: The town of Scar Tissue.
  • Meaningful Name: Contracrime is a blatantly corrupt and violent privatised ‘law enforcement’ entity. They are on a contract to commit crimes. As well as stop them.
  • MegaCorp: Heart Industries, who appear to own literally everything, including the above-mentioned Contracrime and the mental facility that Grace's sister was committed to. They are also Julian's employers, plus they created the gasoline additive that in turn created the Glimmers, Smax candy, and, for some reason, the Dionysus Strain and the serum that created Denali.
    • One conversation between Grace and Slink sums up how much power Heart really has:
      Grace: Meadville, Steel City, LA... how many towns has Heart Industries fucked over?
      Slink: How many are on the map?
  • Modesty Towel: Grace wears one after she showers in the diner they're staying in "Welcome to Pixie Swallow".
    • Domi when at Majora's spa.
  • The Mole: "The Gentleman's Agreement" reveals that Sergeant Gower, Arthur and Christopher's superior at Contracrime, was also working for Heart Industries all along, and was the one responsible for getting Arthur and Christopher into their respective predicaments.
  • Monster Clown: The racer known as Clown Dick.
  • Naked on Revival: Resurrection via the Soul Reclamator results in this.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Cliff gets Domi to rescue him from the Amazons, even though they had just had a big fight before their capture with Domi taking well to living in Lady Land, by tapping out in code that "if I'm going to be killed, you should be the one who does it."
    • They ultimately kill each other, for this exact reason.
    • Karma to Grace to an extent. She tried to keep Grace and Arthur in race so she could get revenge on Grace.
  • Pastiche: The entire show is one big love letter to Grindhouse cinema.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Several cheerleaders show up during the first episode. Unfortunately, by the time they're on screen, they've been partially dismembered by Rib Bone for fuel.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the episode 9 dream sequence, Slink is shot in the forehead, and manages an annoyed "Fuck me" before falling down.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Arthur's punches have little effect on Rib Bone.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: The show is set in 1999 — specifically, how a dystopian '70s grindhouse movie would've portrayed it, combined with elements of how we know the future turned out. In practical terms, it's the culture of The '70s and a combination of '70s and 2010s technology, including a Toyota Prius. The big disaster responsible for the crapsack state of the world, a massive earthquake caused by hydraulic fracturing opening a massive chasm in the heartland, is also a reference to a modern environmental concern that was barely thought of before 2010, though the manner in which it's portrayed is very much in the vein of how many such films depicted the future as a Polluted Wasteland. Going in the other direction, Jack and Diane in episode 5 also have a very strong '50s aesthetic in their behavior and manner of dress, referring to Elvis Presley as one of their favorite musicians.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The Old Man wears pink nail polish. And when beating a guy's head in, he's more concerned with having chipped a nail in the process. Turns out, he's actually a woman in disguise.
  • Robotic Reveal:
    • Aki is revealed as a robot in the first episode, when she recovers from Christopher impaling her on a pipe.
    • In the penultimate episode, Slink turns out to be one as well, when Arthur beheads him only for him to transfer to a new body. Also, the "Christopher" running around all episode is revealed as a duplicate when Arthur stabs him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Supervisor in episode 3 tries to pull this. Team Leader stops her from doing it, and both get killed by the Glimmers.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: The aforementioned Pixie Swallow motel uses serve human meat in their diner disguised as hamburgers, steaks, etc. Particular body parts are used for particular meats:
    Arthur: I'm pretty sure that corn-dog was somebody's...
    Grace: Don't say it.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: Diane in episode 5. She looks the part, but she has sex with her brother, and neither of them have any moral qualms with spreading a sex-zombie plague in order to kill Slink.
    • Grace in Arthur's dream journey. She starts off as a cute, devoted housewife, but Arthur's subconscious turns things dark fast.
  • Shaming the Mob: Arthur tries this in "Primo Rising." It doesn't work.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Grace and Karma's surname may be one to Dario Argento, famous giallo filmmaker.
    • Episode 5's Jack and Diane, to the same song by John Mellencamp.
    • Episode 5's title, "The F*cking Dead", and the zombie virus, to Night of the Living Dead (1968).
    • The Dionysus Strain itself is also one to Classical Mythology, as it references Dionysus (hedonistic god of revelry, among other things), and the end stage, where the infected end up ripping people apart, was an unfortunate tendency of his Maenad followers.
    • The town of Cronenburgh from "Scar Tissue"
    • The basic premise of hugely inflated fuel prices and cars running on blood is similar to a Cult Classic Black Comedy film Blood Car.
  • Show Within a Show: What Heart Industries wants to turn the Blood Drive into, which they apparently succeed at.
  • Technicolor Fire: Green flames, from cars running on Glimmer blood, which serves as an extremely potent fuel.
  • The Prophecy: The Sheriff of Red Rock, who was somehow given prophetic power by the Scar, prophesizes that Arthur will enter the Scar himself.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Officers employed by Contracrime are instructed to yank teeth out of the mouths of criminals, to the point of actually having a quota.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Or threaten to torture, at least. Slink threatens to shove a drill up his henchman's urethra if he doesn't answer a question the way he wants. The henchman just spreads his legs and grins while giving the unwanted answer. Slink finds himself without an adequate response.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The opening of the first episode has the creator says that due to bad reactions from test audiences, the network thinks that the audience is too stupid to understand the show without an opening explanation of the narrative.
  • Vision Quest: Arthur in Episode 9, partly due to a gunshot wound, partly due to the soup a magic Chinese woman fed him.
  • Weakened by the Light: Light makes the Glimmers explode.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Many of the racers, both named and unnamed are killed off quickly and unceremoniously.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 11, "The Rise of Primo": The Old Man is revealed to be a still alive Karma in disguise (which even Slink didn't know), and the whole show has been a revenge plot against Grace for abandoning her in Kane Hill. Arthur snaps during the final fight amongst the Blood Drive contenders, and ditches Grace to become the new Primo.
  • Wham Shot:
    • A pilfered picture from Kane Hill hospital featuring Julian as one of the doctors. Dated 1957.
    • A lesser example from the same episode is Julian as the DJ at the rave where Grace's sister went insane on Red Rapture.
    • Another old photo in episode 5 shows that Julian had a prototype of both the bottle grinder machine and the blood-running engines, called a Soul Replicator.
    • Karma appearing out of the soul replicator, revealing she survived being put into a blood engine.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Played with when Heart decides that Julian no longer fits in with their plans for Blood Drive. They plan to kill him off and find another master of ceremonies. He earns a reprieve when they are impressed by the way he murders a man in their lobby. However, a few episodes later they decide that he needs to be replaced after all. They are still unable to kill him because of a clause in his contract that their lawyers need more time to get around. While they wait they offer his job to the Gentleman.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Grace and Arthur finally make it out to the asylum to free Grace's sister Karma, only to discover that she'd already been transferred elsewhere. Two episodes later, they find that Karma died in an inmate revolt at the rehab facility she was sent to. Several episodes later, it's found that she's alive after all...and just happens to be the Big Bad.