The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

UK Lion's Gate Blu-ray edition


Text below written 2016-10-03


I do have a vague remembrance from 10 years ago that Japanese cult-director of Versus fame should make a US
film, and at that time this didn't sound very interesting. Why? The japanese golden era had ended and favourite
filmmakers as Miike had started making garbage mainstream J-horror films for an expected teenage audience
and also Kiyoshi Kurosawa started to suck with J-horrors as Loft. The Japanese wild filmmaking era 1995-2005
had ended and Kitamura wasn't even a favourite director even though i had seen all his films since Versus and was
mildly enjoyed by them. So, when there was silence regarding his US film i forgot about it ....
and so did everyone else as the film company for some reason buried the film.

Clive Barker - The 1980's Master of Horror

When i watched it now in October 2016, 8 years after it was made, i had very low expectations and was pleasantly
surprised. I even think this is the best film i've seen from Kitamura. Well, Clive Barker was overjoyed by the film, so
that must mean something. He should know as it's based on one of his stories from the classic Books of Blood series
and this film is widely regarded as the best Clive Barker adaption since the 1987 Hellraiser.
Clive Barker, the modern day H.P. Lovecraft of horror writing, and i had a big horror reading period in the 1980's
when i read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker.

The Great Son of Celluloid in a 1991 printing but earlier featured in his Books of Blood Volume 3 in 1984
Books of Blood Volume 2 from 1984 in a 1986 re-printing
(see pics below)

The Midnight Meat Train was featured in Clive Barker's Books of Blood Volume 1 from 1984, and for some reason
i never read that book but i have Books of Blood Volume 2-5 and i saw Hellraiser 1-2 and the trashy Rawhead Rex
film, but in the 1990's i had filled my cravings for reading horror and started reading other things, also the quality of
Clive Barker's writing and the films got worse, the Hellraiser series after the first one stinks.
The 1990's was a really, really BAD decade for Horror and Scream was the nail in the coffin for the genre.

Back to TMMT:
Leon (Bradley "Limitless" Cooper) is a photograph living in LA with his girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb) and one night
when he's out taking pictures for a future gallery exhibition he talks to an asian girl in the subway. He then reads the
news that she has disappeared. By chance he photographs a strange ominous man carrying a big bag and recognizes
him as the man travelling in the same train wagon as the missing asian woman that night. And Leon starts sleuthing.

The man is Mahogany (a great and very scary Vinnie Jones) and he slaughters people taking the late 02.00 train.
He's using a meat club on the poor unsuspecting passengers in an explosion of nasty gore and hangs them up in
meat hooks. Leon, but not the Police for some unfathomable reason, starts thinking about the case of the hundreds of
missing LA citizens last seen taking the subway and could there be a connection to the Butcher killings in 1895 ?

TMMT has got great cinematography with a pulse to it, lots of great and hideous Gore and well made action scenes
and the only minus are the bad CGI in some of the murder scenes and from the train rushing through the tunnel.
But the gore gets better with analogue special effects later on, and anyway Vinnie Jones is super scary as the killer.
The ending has a Lovecraftian touch to it, and with that i mean ..... no, no spoiler.
One murder set-piece was exceptionally impressive with something of an Argento touch when a decapitated woman
sees her headless body. This director's cut is a very enjoyable Gore Explosion for the experienced genre fans, and
watching this film i also became curious about director Kitamuras 2nd US film No One Lives from 2012/2013,
but unfortunately that one sucked. Sure, it had violence and gore en masse but that didn't help

widescreen 2.35:1, english DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio with english subtitles
Extras: a commentary track with director Ryuhei Kitamura and author, painter and director Clive Barker, and very
surprisingly Kitamura speaks perfect english. What? Yes, he has lived in Australia for many years.
Clive Barker: The man behind the myth (15 min), Mahogany's Tale (5 min), Anatomy of a Murder scene (9 min)

 

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