Glacial scientists are menaced by mutants in this entertaining old-school creature feature
Marvin Kren (Austria, Midnight Madness)
Friday, September 6, 11:59 p.m.
Ryerson Theatre (43 Gerrard Street East)
Sunday, September 8, 2:15 p.m.
Scotiabank 14 (259 Richmond Street West)
Friday, September 13, 9:15 p.m.
Scotiabank 9 (259 Richmond Street West)
The Station, Austria’s first-ever appearance in the TIFF Midnight Madness programme, is a lively, well-crafted foray into classic 70s-style eco-horror, with a few contemporary tricks up its sleeve.
When a transformer blows at a glacial laboratory—where climate change is abundant evidence—crusty technician Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) finds that vast sections of the ice have thawed to reveal an ancient, blood-red, gene-fusing micro-organism. Before you can shriek “mutant,” the area is overrun with bizarre cross-species hybrids that are large, nasty, and infectious. Thunderous creature attacks? Genius scientists behaving stupidly? Gruesome autopsies and impromptu surgeries? Things that seem to be dead but aren’t? Check, check, and double check.
Not a lot here is new —save for one WTF choice near the end that even the characters hesitate over—but the pace is brisk, the creatures disgusting, and the scares nerve-jangling. Kudos to actress Brigitte Kren (the director’s mother) who, as a no-nonsense government minister, breaks out the rum and the giant power drill and steals the show.