Blood Glacier (2013) Review

Blood GlacierA group of scientists stationed in the Austrian Alps make the discovery of a crimson glacier.  It, like all surrounding glaciers, are melting thanks to climate change.  It’s not blood in the glacier, however, but an organic matter that incubates in the host’s stomach, mixing DNA of the host and any animal it may have eaten.  So a fox that has eaten a wood louse and a beetle will have a creature burst from its stomach that will be a mutation of all three animals, and it will be hostile.  This is precisely what the scientists discover when our lead, loud mouthed Janek, follows his dog into a dark cavern beneath the blood glacier.  While the scientists try to process their discovery, more and more creatures begin making their presence known.  Throw in a government minister with an entourage en route, including Janek’s ex, to make a publicity appearance at the outpost and you have a multitude of characters that must band together if they want to survive.

Much of the story’s focus is on Janek and his ex, Tanja.  It’s made clear that they parted under sudden and mysterious circumstances years prior, and her sudden reappearance has thrown him into emotional turmoil.  It’s this plot thread that is meant to anchor the audience emotionally to the story, but it ends up feeling contrived.  In a later scene, Tanja picks a strange moment to make a solemn confession to Janek about the end of their relationship, but never offers to explain the reason behind her decision.  It’s this forced relationship that makes the film feel much longer than it actually is.

Minister Bodicek should have been the focus.  Her introduction gives the false impression that she’s a high maintenance, fragile politician that needs her every whim catered to.  She proves to be the toughest one of the bunch while retaining the most compassion for her fellow survivors.

Likely to budget, the creatures don’t seem to attack often or with any sense of urgency.  It’s rare to even get a good look at the creatures.  I didn’t realize that the climax had come and gone until the music queued up to signal the film’s end.  It’s not the budget that’s the issue, but that the film doesn’t know what it wants to be.  Torn between B movie creature feature and ominous eco horror, the film unsuccessfully attempts both.  There are tragic moments in the film, and it doesn’t mesh with the gory camp moments.  Choosing just one would have made Blood Glacier far less tonally confusing and much more enjoyable.

 

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Texas Frightmare Weekend 2014

This past weekend I attended my first horror convention, and suffice it to say that I’m now hooked.  A full weekend submersed in all things horror seemed like a blast going in, but I had no idea.  Screenings, panels, vendors selling all sorts of horror related items, and access to so many horror icons all persuaded me that this was an event I needed to attend.  But what I didn’t know about Texas Frightmare Weekend, what made this event truly awesome, was getting to see first hand just how amazing people are in the horror community.

Texas Frightmare, it turns out, is a social event.  Long line to meet your favorite horror celebrity?  You’ll hardly notice, because your line neighbors will strike up a conversation with you and share their horror experiences.  Do you look confused because you’re not sure which line you’re supposed to be in?  Before you have to ask, someone will smile and show you the ropes.  More than an event to connect fans with their favorite icons, it’s an event to connect fans with each other.  It sounds sappy, but never have I been prouder to be a horror fan.

Before you even step foot into one of the event’s rooms, you’ll notice an array of fans showing off their very well put together costumes.

How cute is he??

How cute is he??

cosplay

So many faves in one spot

 

Anyone in costume were typically surrounded by a thick crowd, so I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked.  I did notice a creepy clown theme, so beware those who have a clown phobia.

Being a huge cinephile, I was stoked to meet the celebrities and attend their panels.  I absolutely love learning about the behind the scenes experiences and what goes into the making of my favorite movies.  It’s neat to see actors gather on stage together when they probably haven’t seen each other in years.  The Terminator panel included Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Robert Patrick, Kristanna Loken, Jennette Goldstein, Earl Boen, and Peter Kent.  Seven people to discuss three Terminator films, all crammed into an hour.  Other panels featured a sole guest, like Tobin Bell or Scott Wilson.  There were enough scheduled to cover just about all interests.

I believe there were over 40 celebrity guests in attendance, so meeting some of my favorites was a definite highlight of the trip.  You get brief one-on-one time to engage them in conversation, sometimes longer as some of them had no line at all when I passed by their table.  Lou Taylor Pucci, for example, spent a good while answering questions as I grilled him about his role in the 2013 Evil Dead remake.  For example, there were only two takes, period, to nail the arm scene in the film’s climax.  Really makes me marvel at the scene even more knowing the pressure they were under.  Or, that Lou spent a lot of time between takes jumping rope to not only maintain energy levels but to try to keep things fresh.  He didn’t want his expression of fear to become stagnant, so that was his way of trying to keep things varied.  He also was very hesitant to even audition for the film in the first place, because the original is so sacred to him.  So when he was called in to audition he intentionally gave his worst audition.  Also, the long hair and beard was something he had to convince the director and producer to keep.  That was his way of paying a sort of homage to the original.  He was so enthused to meet and speak with fans that he lost his voice by Saturday.

Lou Taylor Pucci and me

Lou Taylor Pucci and me

Other tidbits I picked up over the weekend:

  • Sharni Vinson’s role in You’re Next was a cake walk compared to prep for her role in Step Up 3d, which required weights, capoeira classes, and a variety of other training classes.
  • Doug Bradley’s feelings on the term reboot, “Bullshit.”  And his message to those wanting to remake Hellraiser, “Fuck off.” (Just so you know, he’s also one of the biggest sweethearts I’d met at Texas Frightmare.  He felt guilty about misspelling my name and chased me down to compensate for it in a huge way.)
  • Barbie Wilde, female Cenobite, is now a writer for Fangoria magazine.  Getting covered in plaster in preparation for Hellraiser 2 was nerve-wracking for her.
  • Robert Patrick studied a variety of animals to achieve his character’s persona in Terminator 2, including a praying mantis.
  • Kristanna Loken wanted to fans to associate her terminator as female, so she tried hard to maintain a sense of femininity in the role despite being an inhuman character.
  • Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn both thought they were signing on to do a sci-fi flop when doing the original Terminator.
  • Chris Marquette has recurring nightmares about Chucky the killer doll.
  • Kyle Labine is not so good at beat boxing.
Settling in for the Terminator panel

Settling in for the Terminator panel

I’m bummed it’s over, but now that I have a feel for how things work I can plan better for next year.  Because I will be going back.

Horror on vinyl

You may or may not know that Record Store Day, on April 19th, came and went.  I’m a little bit of a vinyl junkie, so I love this day.  Not enough to camp out 26 hours in advance outside of my local record stores, but enough to brave the mobs that show up to scour the shelves for the exclusive RSD releases.  I love the RSD goodies the owners give out, the free beer and live in store performances, and the camaraderie of fellow vinyl and music enthusiasts.  Of course the RSD exclusive I most coveted, the Ghostbusters 30th anniversary release, was long gone before I even woke up for the day.  With a limited pressing of only 2,000, my city only received a handful, and they were one of the first hot items to go.

If you’re a horror fan, or fans of film OSTs, now is the perfect time to get into vinyl.  There’s a lot of love behind the current releases. For example, this Creepshow OST released last month by Waxwork Records:

creepshow-cover

 

It’s pretty right?  Of course it is.  The artwork is done by “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin,  one of my favorite horror artists.  But there’s also a booklet inside with essays by George A. Romero and John Harrison, an art print, and the vinyl itself came in 5 different variants that represented the various segments in the film.  I fell in love with the Birthday Cake variant from the segment “Father’s Day,” and snatched up a copy before they sold out.  And all five variants did sell out.

CreepshowBirthday CreepshowCloseup

Stunning, right?

CreepshowPrint CreepshowInside

Their passion really shows; the work is..well, I’m in love.  While it may be difficult to get your hands on Creepshow, Waxwork Records is currently working on a vinyl release for Chopping Mall.

Death Waltz Records is another favorite, with Slumber Party Massacre set to be released this Tuesday.  Though not all releases are available to the US/Canada, so be sure to read the notes if looking to purchase.  They do link to another US/Canada based site for cheaper shipping options, as well.

My final recommendation is for Mondo. Luckily vinyl isn’t as popular as their posters, which have a tendency to sell out within minutes.  I’ve picked up their Halloween and Paranorman LPs, and I’m really looking forward to their Jurassic Park release this summer.

Between the three, my bank account doesn’t stand a chance.