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
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
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)