42nd Street Cinema

Blood Glacier (2013)

Once again, fellow freaks, fiends, monsters and mutants I'm still attempting to return to the blogosphere. My life has taken a lot of twists and turns in the past 18 months. I feel it needless for any further explanation or procrastination, since I generally like to try and keep my personal life out of my blog. I feel that because I made this talk about movies I love, hate or love to hate I shouldn't use it to talk about personal problems, or life in general.

With that BS out of the way, I'm going to be talking about Marvin Kren's second feature Blood Glacier. Also known as, Blutgletscher and The Station.

Starring: Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Beseler and Peter Knaack.

Now, I'm going to assume most of you reading this are somewhat familiar with Kren and his first outing, the zombie film Rammbock (2010). I watched Rammbock some years ago and can actually recall very little of it. I do however remember it as having quite an intense and brooding atmosphere and being one of the 'stand out' zombie films of more recent times. In the UK it's known as Siege of the Dead, undoubtably a cash-in attempt on the many 'of the dead' films currently circulating. Yet, in the States it's known as Berlin Undead - I prefer this title, as I think it's much simpler and entirely more effective. Let me explain why (yes a rant is steadily approaching)...

I feel that in much recent years the zombie film has become stagnant, parodied and raped. Now, don't get me wrong, I love zombie films...I would say that at least 80% of the reason I'm even interested in horror is because of the Romero trilogy and later the more obscure and metaphoric, Fulci epics.  But, the sheer multitude of zombie films that have been released in the last 10 years is astounding and out of them, only a few are actually worth any attention. Maybe (a big maybe) I have become jaded, but truthfully I just feel sorely disappointed. If we take a step back and look at all the zombie films of generations past, they all have some merit, some worth, a reason to watch them.
Now, I step into my local HMV to browse the horror section and I immediately see dozens upon dozens of budget horror films...granted there are always the godawful possession / ghost movies, that require little or no special effects, but what else do I see? the beloved zombie film. Why? I don't know, I don't have a specific answer. I just feel as though a lot of these poor quality flicks demean horror. Enough to suggest that horror can't be intelligent, classy or have a sense of finesse and that's really quite sad.
By the way, I have already had the assumption that I could be alone in thinking this.

With that out of the way, perhaps I can begin to talk in droves about the topic at hand. Marvin Kren's Blood Glacier. Before viewing this I did read a little bit about it online and what I had gleaned was that it's very much in the vein of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), which of course, only served to excite me further.

The plot has a fairly straight forward set up. A team of environmental scientists working in the Austrian alps discover a glacier leaking a red liquid that, unbeknownst to them, is affecting the local wildlife.

As I previously mentioned, yes it is very much like The Thing, but I'm sure any creature feature set in a snowy environment will always be compared to such. But, on other levels it is very akin to Carpenter's work. The one thing that struck me instantly was the music, there are a few string notes and melodies that sound as if they have been directly lifted from the 1982 Morricone/Carpenter score. Not to say that's a bad thing, by any means, for me it really set the tone.

Tonally the film is dark and oppressive. One of the films most memorable sequences involves Janek (Liebmann), struggling to find a way to deal with his ailing dog. The dog stands for more than just a pet, it's seemingly all he has left from a failed relationship with Tanja (Malovcic). For those who have ever been in a situation with a dying pet can surely understand the grief and moral confusion that goes hand-in-hand when dealing with it. Given this psychological aspect too, it is also quite comparable to The Thing. In as much as, the character's pent-up anger and resentment towards one another only serves to exacerbate the situation. Combined with the impending isolation and immediate threat.

In direct contrast to those touching and harrowing sequences, there are some genuine and (I believe) intentionally funny scenes present in Blood Glacier. One of which sees Janek attempting to convince the local wildlife Minister not to visit because of the recent 'outbreak', claiming there is a rabid fox on the loose.

On the whole, Blood Glacier is really enjoyable flick with great looking monsters. Taking the more traditional approach to effects, rather than utilising CGI. Fans of sci-fi horror, will definitely get a kick out of this for sure. For me, the only downside is that besides the clunky pacing, I just wish Kren had spent a little more time exploring the whole genetic workings of the organism and it's origins. We get a rough idea how it lives and forms 'new' creatures through a host body. But, I'm just left with a feeling of wanting more.

If memory serves correct, Rammbock also ended in a similar fashion. Perhaps Kren has a taste for ambiguity or he hasn't yet refined how to wrap up a story.


Nigel M said...

Yeah Rammbock was great! Paced similar to [Rec] if I remember correctly. Going to look for this one now, it sounds like my sort of film.

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