TR Review: Blood Glacier, the Glacier That Bleeds Blood

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

[Editor's Note: I was recently made aware that the title "Fanboy Flick Pick" was confusing people who thought a "flick pick" was inherently a reference to older movies, or DVDs. As such, I'm reverting to the older, simpler "TR Review" that Rob used.]

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For those who don't know - by which I mean about 90% of the current practitioners - this is the real way to do a grindhouse-style movie. It's not deliberately rotten-looking, there are no digital "film scratches," and aside from an utterly absurd title, the execution of the premise is played straight. People have forgotten nowadays that the folks making low-budget horror rarely set out to make something dumb or laughable - that's a relatively new quirk, one that I imagine one day people will be nostalgic for anew.



The European horror film Blood Glacier is the epitome of maximizing the resources you have. Come up with a simple premise that sells itself in the title. Find a visually stunning location you're allowed to shoot on - in this case, up in the mountains of Italy. Build distinctive, practical monsters (I've never, ever, seen a killer mutant ibex in a movie before), and use as much clever editing, cinematography sound, and manipulation of nearby objects to make it look like they're in motion more than they actually are.

I don't know if "environmentsploitation" is a word used for anything else, but this movie is it, using global warming as the catalyst for unleashing and melting a red glacier full of mutant cells from the primeval world - cells which, when inside a host, form a hybrid creature from the DNA of that host and every other animal they've been in contact with thus far, which promptly chestbursts, Alien-style, when formed. This yields fox-spiders, vulture-beetles, the ibex thing mentioned previously, and more. Given the snowy setting, it's tempting to make comparisons to John Carpenter's take on The Thing, but I really don't think it's trying to be that - there's none of the paranoia about who's real and who isn't that was the essence of the horror there.

Anyway, when the small three-person crew at a weather monitoring station in the Austrian Alps find a blood-red glacier that, I guess, just suddenly appeared one day, as glaciers do, it naturally falls on the drunken recluse of the group to go investigate with his dog. When they find what appears to be a gutted fox with suspiciously moving belly, they just figure, eh, it's rabies (What does the fox say? "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, I'm dead!"). And our dog has had his shots, so never mind the suspicious bleeding hole in his stomach. When the red glacier disappears the next day, as it seems glaciers also do, it becomes evident that something else is out there as well. And an analysis of the red stuff that was there indicates its mutant powers under a microscope.

Upping the ante is the fact that this just happens to be the week that a government minister is coming to inspect everything, along with her assistant who just happens to be Drunk Dude's ex. And as is typical in B-horror, the love interest screws it all up - the boozer has just about mustered up the courage to shoot his dog in the monster-filled belly, but the ex makes him promise, over the phone, that he won't do anything until she gets there. Because it used to be her dog too.

That's far from the dumbest decision she makes during the course of the film...but we can forgive her if we assume she has never seen a horror movie before.

Decent gore, fun creatures and its high-concept premise make Blood Glacier an enjoyable night out, and perhaps a good way for geeks to learn German. I'd be happy to see a bigger-budget sequel that could show us a little more of the mutations, but as it stands, director Marvin Kren (Berlin Undead) has made great use of what he had to hand.

And more ibexes next time, please.

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Blood Glacier is now available on-demand, and playing in select cities.

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