Science Fiction Film & Television

‘We will change’

Deep past and uncertain future in Blood Glacier

Science Fiction Film & Television (2021), 14, (3), 395–412.

Abstract

One of the many threats accompanying climate change is that of deadly viruses being revived or uncovered when the permafrost melts, as in the 2016 uncovering of anthrax in Siberia. Blood Glacier (Kren Austria 2013, originally Blutgletscher) addresses this in creature feature form, telling the story of something nasty emerging from the natural world (in this case, microorganisms emerging from a melting glacier) to threaten humans and human superiority. Blood Glacier reflects a larger twenty-first-century creature-feature trope of prehistoric creatures emerging from thawing ice as well as an expansion of ecohorror beyond familiar nature-strikes-back anxieties or fears of humans becoming food for animals. Instead, the microorganisms discovered within the glacier change people (and other animals), causing mutations and leading to the creation of new combinations of species. The film juxtaposes these environmental concerns with one character’s past abortion, which comes to represent another, more personal, challenge to Western values. As a result, the film asks questions not addressed by other similar creature features: Which life has value? What does the future look like, and who decides that? The film therefore addresses the ethics of bringing life into being, gesturing toward the responsibilities inherent both in bearing children and in choosing not to bear children. These questions are addressed in the end of the film, with the birth and then adoption of a mutant baby. By bringing these issues of reproduction and environmental futures together, the film asks us to consider how our past and current choices help shape the future - both personal and planetary. The conclusion of the film serves in part to reinforce heteronormativity and reproductive futurism, both of which stake the future on the replication of the past through traditional relationships and by reproducing ourselves and our values through our children. Simultaneously, however, it gestures toward new possibilities for queer, nonhuman, mutant kinship and care.

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Author details

Tidwell, Christy