Toronto: 'The Station' is Austria's Answer to 'The Thing'

The Station - H - 2013
The movie hails from Marvin Kren, who previously directed the zombie-like thriller "Rammbock."

It’s not every day an older woman walks out onto a stage and does the splits, but then again, this was a Midnight Madness screening, the Toronto sidebar celebrating horror, sci-fi and action movies.

The world premiere of The Station was the first time an Austrian film was showcased for the popular sidebar. But even though it was Austrian, there was a touch of the familiar to the movie, which centers on scientists at a research station in the Alps who encounter a unique and replicating organism in the glacier.

It was directed by Marvin Kren, who admitted classics such as John Carpenter’s The Thing and Ridley Scott’s Alien -- both of which set the bar for the "trapped in tight quarters with monsters" creature feature genre -- had influenced the film.

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Kren was on stage for the post-screening talk and was joined by screenwriter Benjamin Hessler, producer Helmut Grasser and Brigitte Kren, his mother and the lady who did the splits.

Brigitte Kren proved to be an audience favorite, not just for the splits, but for playing an environmental minister visiting the station when things go to hell. The character has some great lines and earned her genre bona fides when she dispatched a mutant ibis in gruesome fashion, a sequence that elicited one of three loud bursts of applause throughout the screening.

Part of the movie’s conceit is that the recession of glaciers, caused by global warming, creates or unveils new lifeforms. The movie was shot on an actual glacier in south Tyrol.

"It was an inspiration for us," Kren admitted. "A sad inspiration."

The movie may be called The Station, but the German title is Blutgletscher, whose direct translation is Blood Glacier. Kren and Midnight Madness program director Colin Geddes threw the titles to the audience, asking them which they preferred. With roaring approval, Blood Glacier was the clear-as-glacial-water winner.

"So world (sales) agents? What do we do now?" asked Kren coyly.