Tag Archives: Love Death + Robots

Sucker of Souls (2019)

Captured by the beast
Head ripped in two!
Head ripped in two!
Geyser of blood from victim!
Geyser of blood!

In a cave-like tomb some mercenaries and an archaeologist have to deal with a red-eyed, naked, bearded humanoid who transforms into a large, demon-like monster after feeding on a young archaeology assistant.

Human-like Dracula
Dracula is initially human-like…
Drcula starts to transform
…but he starts getting bigger after feeding…
Toothy-faced monster
…until he becomes a toothy-faced monster

The creature is actually Dracula, who halts momentarily in his attack when he sees a cat, allowing the survivors to flee, regroup, and leave an explosive device that blows Dracula up. The team runs down a tunnel that opens-up into a large chamber, where other monster-like vampires await…

There are more of the monsters!
There are more of them!

SUCKER OF SOULS, an episode from season 1 of the Netflix animated anthology show Love, Death + Robots, has a pleasing, sketchy animation style reminiscent of comic strip illustrations, zips along at a brisk pace, and portrays Dracula as a being capable of becoming a completely non-human beast.

He's a beast!
He’s a beast!

Made by the Paris-based Studio La Cachette, SUCKER OF SOULS has a pretty simple plot, includes some obvious, not that funny pussy jokes, but is an entertaining 13 minute short.

Mercs with guns
I liked the hand drawn style
THe merc holds the cat
Cue the pussy jokes…
The characters run away
Run away!

The Secret War (2019)

Red Army vs demons!

As the second season of Love, Death + Robots was recently released on Netflix, I thought I’d go back and give one of the episodes from the first season of the animated anthology show a rewatch…

THE SECRET WAR tells the story of a group of Red Army soldiers hunting and fighting demons in Russian forests during World War 2. The soldiers have several encounters with the hell-creatures and also find a notebook that describes how an old Soviet plan called ‘Operation Hades’ is the reason the creatures were summoned in the first place, but the demons weren’t controllable and became the menace they are now.

Skull in the snow

The Russian soldiers attempt to neutralise a large subterranean nest of demons with explosives, but this causes a huge cave-in, provoking masses of the creatures to crawl to the surface. The Russians make a last stand, whilst one of their number rides off, tasked with requesting a major bombing of the area.

No hiding from the creatures…

The next morning we see the malformed creatures munching on the corpses of the dead soldiers, then Soviet planes fly overhead and they begin bombing the site (the demon-things are depicted as a horde of deformed, hairless creatures that come across more like monstrous aliens rather than demons from hell.)

Demons chow down

THE SECRET WAR is amazing to look at, with a hyper-realistic style impressively depicting the cold Russian landscapes. Digic Pictures, a Hungarian 3D animation studio that specialises in the production of 3D animated game cinematics, made this episode. The 16 minute story, however, feels more like a fragment of a bigger plot, so THE SECRET WAR does rather come across like a cool cutscene for a high-end video game.

The landscapes look amazing
Demons close-in…

Snow in the Desert (2021)

Alien bounty hunter
A bounty hunter moves in…

In the Love, Death + Robots season 2 episode SNOW IN THE DESERT, an albino wanderer known as Snow lives on a hot, barren planet and must deal with various bounty hunters who want to kill him so that they can attain a certain part of his anatomy…

His name is Snow
His name is Snow and he lives in the desert

Snow, it transpires, has lived hundreds of years: this is due to the fact that he can endlessly regenerate his cells and body parts, thanks to special hormones released in his testicles. This pretty much makes him immortal – and it also means there are people who want to get rich by acquiring his balls to access a never-ending supply of Snow’s unique genetic material. This is why there are always bounty hunters on his case, but now a young woman called Hirald, who works for an advanced AI within Earth’s government, enters Snow’s life…

Hirald has a secret
What is Hirald’s secret?

Based on a short story by Neal Asher and, like a lot of his work, set in a future history known as the ‘Polity’ universe, this Netflix animated short features super-realistic mo-cap characters and impressive vistas, created by 3-D animation studio Unit Image.

Alien sun
This planet is hot
Bounty hunters
These bounty hunters have a cool ‘skinned alive’ look!
Saggy-skinned alien dude

The action is very brutal and there’s some cool world-building, with the inclusion of various alien races, including a rock-skinned bounty hunter, and some local vulture-like creatures. There’s a nice touch concerning these flying creatures, when we see them cover themselves completely with their leathery wings to endure the desert planet’s hot midday sun.

These reptile-vulture creatures know that the sun is about to rise...
These reptile-vulture creatures know that the sun is about to rise…
The creatures hide from the sun
…so they wrap themselves up in their leathery bat-wings!

On the whole, the short comes across as a taster for what to expect in the Polity universe, but there are some twists and turns in the brief story, as we discover Snow’s abilities and are finally shown Hirald’s true self – and, of course, you get 18 minutes of sci-fi eye candy.

More bounty hunters arrive

Here are some (spoiler-ific) shots from the story’s finale…

A rock-fleshed bad guy!
Brutal sci-fi action!
Hand through the villain’s chest!
Ah! Hirald is part machine!
Sunrise on a happier future for Snow?

Ice (2021)

Majestic breaching Frost Whales!
Majestic breaching Frost Whales!

Two brothers, called Sedgewick and Fletcher, have recently moved to an ice-covered planet, where they try to fit in with the other youths already living in a grim, industrial factory base.

The base is pretty uninviting
The base is pretty uninviting

Fletcher is the cooler of the two brothers and is ‘modded’, whereas Sedgewick is not genetically modified and is looked down upon by the locals.

Even though Fletcher doesn’t think it is a very good idea, Sedgewick tags along with his brother and takes part in a race across ice flows, beneath which massive marine creatures called Frost Whales swim.

Everyone but Sedgewick is modded and they soon begin their dangerous race, which involves keeping ahead of the Frost Whales that always smash into the thick ice seven times before crashing through it to jump skywards.

Towards the end of the icy run Fletcher gets injured, so Sedgwick grabs him and carries him to safety, just as the Frost Whales begin breaching. Sedgewick is now respected by the locals and the group head back to the base after their adventure.

The vehicles on the ice planet
Massive factory vehicles
I love the look of these massive vehicles

ICE is a 13 minute episode from the second season of the Netflix animated anthology series LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS and is an interesting mix of styles.

The characters have a look reminiscent of stylised Jamie (Gorillaz) Hewlett drawings, whilst the machinery trundling around the industrial base has a more realistic feel: these massive oil rig-like contraptions on massive caterpillar tracks look pretty impressive.

Future youths

The Frost Whales, however, are even more striking visually, as they leap from the ice and are lit by some kind of phosphorescent lighting.

Frost Whales
These Frost Whales are so cool!

ICE, made by Passion Animation Studios, possesses an okay story, but you’re far more likely to remember the episode because of those majestic breaching alien whales at the culmination of the tale.

Love, Death + Robots logo

All Through the House (2021)

The monster looms closer
This certainly isn’t Santa!

On a snowy Christmas Eve, a young brother and sister quietly sneak downstairs to hopefully get a fleeting glimpse of Santa as he leaves presents under the christmas tree. But they actually discover that ol’ Saint Nick is a grotesque-looking, raw-fleshed, toothy creature!

The creature lurks behind the christmas tree
What’s lurking behind the christmas tree?

ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE is a 7 minute episode from the second season of Netflix’s animated anthology series LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS and it wonderfully mixes cuteness with creepiness.

The creature knows if you've been good...
The creature knows if you’ve been good…

Directed by Elliot Dear, this animated short from Blink Industries first hints that we’re not going to see your typical Mr Clause when a long, prehensile probe-tongue snakes onto the screen to suck up the milk and snatch away the cookies that’ve been left out for hungry Santa!

The tongue-tentacle appears...
The tongue-tentacle appears

The gift-giving creature is a marvellous creation: it has a toothy maw reminiscent of the eyeless, tooth-faced alien from THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983), mixed with some overlong forelegs that make it look a little like the critter in CLOVERFIELD (2008). Actually, this festive beastie also reminds me quite a bit of the large, pink-skinned thing featured in METAMORPHOSIS: THE ALIEN FACTOR (1990). This santa-beast also possesses human-like arms & hands that it uses in an amusing, expressive way!

The weird creature approaches...
The weird creature approaches the kids
Jazz hands!

Anyway – regardless of exactly which previous movie monsters reminded me of this episode’s cool, novel-looking creature – ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE proves to be a short, sweet, semi-scary treat that reveals how we actually get our presents: a xenomorph-like monster vomits-up the perfectly-wrapped gifts in a stream of saliva!

The creature holds a gift
This is for you…

At the end of the story the creature growls the children’s names as it coughs-up their presents, tells them that they’re good, then crawls up the chimney. Once the beast has gone the sister is left to ask the question: what would’ve happened if they hadn’t been good?

the creature gets close
Close encounter…
…with a very nice-lookin’ critter

The Tall Grass (2021)

Deathly-white creatures attack!
White-fleshed creatures attack!

A passenger (resembling H.P. Lovecraft) leaves his carriage to have a smoke when the train he is travelling on briefly breaks down in a field of tall grass.

Disregarding the train conductor’s request not to wander from the train, the man walks into the prairie and notices strange lights amongst the grass… so he treads further into the field and he finally encounters a white-skinned humanoid creature with a featureless face.

The passenger should've listened to the conductor and not strayed from the train
The passenger should’ve listened to the conductor and not strayed from the train…
The passenger walks into the tall grass...
…but he does walk into the field…
The passenger walks through the prairie
…and he paces further into the long grass…
The passenger encounters one of the creatures...
…and he encounters one of the creatures!

More of these pale-fleshed beings crawl out of the dirt within the field and they chase the passenger through the grass! We now see that the faces of the creatures are not totally featureless: big, gaping mouths full of masses of sharp teeth can be seen as the beings close-in on the terrified passenger.

So many teeth!
So many teeth!

The man is dragged to the ground and is overwhelmed by the creatures, but the train conductor intervenes, saving him. When both men manage to get back onto the train, which is finally heading away from the prairie, the conductor says that he believes this area of grass is some kind of portal to another world – and these humanoid creatures are transformed people who became lost there in the past.

The creatures close-in...
The creatures close-in
The conductor comes to the rescue
The train conductor comes to the rescue with a flaming torch…
The creatures don't like fire
…because he knows the creatures don’t like fire

A satisfying 11 minute horror short, this episode from season 2 of the Netflix animated anthology series LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS has a unique animation style that I prefer to the more photorealistic animation seen in other episodes in the series.

Based on a Joe R. Lansdale short story of the same name, this is a straightforward, simple but effective tale, made by Axis Animation, that is full of mood, mystery and monsters.

Love, Death + Robots logo