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The Midnight Meat Train (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Ryûhei Kitamura

Starring:
Bradley Cooper/Leon
leslie Gibb/Maya
Vinnie Jones/Mahogany
Brooke Shields/Susan
PLOT-CRUNCH
Photographer Leon (Cooper) get more than he bargained for when he begins following and snapping pictures of some well dressed hombre (Jones) who gets off on butchering peeps in a train with a metal hammer. Should’ve taken pics of cheerleaders cheering, tits bobbling up and down instead. WOuld have made for a better day!
THE LOWDOWN

I've got a train to catch. - Leon

After the awful CLIVE BARKER film adaptations of TRANSMUTATIONS and RAWHEAD REX kicked in back in the days, I was happier than a player in a whorehouse where the whores whore for free like the whores that they are, that Barker took matters into his own hands and made HELLRAISER, LORD OF ILLUSIONS and NIGHT BREED himself, all fine films based on his work. I’ve been waiting for the next Clive directed flick for what feels like eons, it never came, but at least I had CANDYMAN to sink my teeth in until the big C get s back behind the camera…and now I have MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN too.

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN was shamelessly dumped in one dollar theatres via a limited release by LG, I didn’t get to see it then but I saw it now and it was almost worth the wait 100%. Allow me to expand as I take a sip of this fine glass of JD. SIP SIP, okay....here we go....based off a short story of the same name found in Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, Vol. I, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN delivered the goods in INSANE spades off the bat and for an hour or so, the flick was doing no wrong in my pitiful world. Its initial premise was compelling, its chain of events mucho engrossing, its villain enigmatic (hence making me curious as to what made him tick and kill) and scary as f*ck and the gore… raoe me silly with a power drill, the red grub here was so ample that I almost overdosed on it. Last time I saw that much red was when I drove my Jeep Cherokee into a schoolyard filled with physically challenged tots. Fun times!

Director Ryûhei Kitamura’s vision as to the piece also had me whacking off with two hands relentlessly. Remember his visually dynamic, jamboree of fun VERSUS? Well the dude brought the same energy and  creativity to this one but with a different kind of jive backing it up. The ever moving camera, the novel shots, the oppressive mood, the blue-ish hues...god damn I said god damn! And tagged with ace cinematographer Johannes Kobilke behind the lenses, this TRAIN to hell wound up being one of the more macabre gorgeous horror film of this year (THE BROKEN which I will review soon rivals it, it’s a tight race in my noggin). I got to watch this sucker again and take notes for when I helm my next celluloid opus. Color me f*cking impressed! Topple on top of that an oddball yet unsettling score that so amplified the uneasiness of the piece and balls on acting by all and you get a ride worth hopping on.

Sadly….euh... give me a sec…gulp, gulp, burp…okay let’s go…

So... sadly; two things stopped this one from being a bonafida classic for this dingbat. 1- The CGI gore was well, too CGI in places, hence taking way from some of the fly kills. I don’t want to see CG eyeballs popping out of some dude’s head, give me the closest to the real thing yo! With that spat, my biggest beef with this one was its last block which put out the WHY behind the slaughter. The answer given came out of left field (should have built it up throughout IMO), was criminally undeveloped , I  didn't care for it and it definitely lacked the impact that a “reveal” should have. Also with that kind of motive behind it all, it opened up the film to all kinds of plot holes if you stop and think about it. Underwhelming was the word and me semi bummed as the end credits rolled was the result. I guess I would’ve dug a NON supernatural WHY…or just a better and more fleshed out one.

All in all though don’t get me wrong here; this was a solid genre picture that hit where it should, under and over the belt. If only its finale had lived up to its first 2 acts, if only. So you going to catch this train and cause a ruckus or what? If you do, I recommend having a bottle of hard stuff by your side and a barf bag cause its get ugly in this mofo. ALL ABOARD!
GORE
If I’d list all the gore found in this unrated version, I’d be typing till I’m 50 years old. Let me just vomit this: a metal hammer, knives, a hook... all applied on poor schleps with pizazz. You do the math – Blood Bath!
ACTING
Was it me or did Bradley Cooper (Leon) kind of look like a young Clive Barker? Acting wise, he did what he had to do well. Was nice to see him in a lead. Leslie Bibb (Maya) was smoking hot and credible as the much needed female presence. Brooke Shields (Susan) played Brooke Shields. Hard for me to buy her in any role for me. Vinnie Jones (Mahogany) was GENIUS casting as the baddie. Physically imposing, intense while actually managing to convey layers within his character without dialogue – he owned it!
T & A
You see a nipple for like a second, we get some nude cadavers and one clean tit shot. The ladies get painting of penis’ and some dead male ass – enjoy!
DIRECTING
Ryûhei Kitamura outdid himself here via the atmosphere he imbued his flick with, his ambitious camera moves, his milking of tension and subliminal imagery. WOW… just WOW!
SOUNDTRACK
The almost ambient electronic score by Johannes Kobilke and Robb Williamson was simply incredible. It backed-up the overzealous visuals in an outstanding fashion. Gotta get it!
BOTTOM LINE
MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN was almost the next LORD OF ILLUSIONS (a film that I loved) – it was all there for the first hour: story, scares, gore, zany imagery, f*cked up score… I was like… “this flick better not let me down”. Alas, it go limp at the finish line with a disappointing WHY behind all of it that left a sour taste in my jockeys as the flick faded to black. But hey, that’s just my opinion and last I checked it isn’t worth shit. So tap it and hopefully you’ll love it as much I did or maybe even more! Am done! Time to finish that bottle! CHEERS dudes and dudettes!
BULL'S EYE
Patrick Tatopoulos was at first supposed to direct the film.

Clive Barker lent some of his paintings for the gallery scene - hence the paintings of penises and the villain behind called Mahogany (get it - wood).

Look out for a cameo by Sam Raimi's brother Ted Raimi. yes he plays an a-hole again... hey he's great at it!
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2:02AM on 01/12/2012
I've wanted to check out the story this movie is based on ever since I heard the song of the same name by Manilla Road (hunt down 'Out of the Abyss'... it slays!!). So when I heard that there was a movie that had been put out, I was quick to jump in line to rent it.

The only thing that really keeps me from giving it 4 stars is the CGI gore. Yes, it's Ryuhei Kitamura's style, given the style of 'Versus' and 'Godzilla: Final Wars', but it was out of place here. But that was my only
I've wanted to check out the story this movie is based on ever since I heard the song of the same name by Manilla Road (hunt down 'Out of the Abyss'... it slays!!). So when I heard that there was a movie that had been put out, I was quick to jump in line to rent it.

The only thing that really keeps me from giving it 4 stars is the CGI gore. Yes, it's Ryuhei Kitamura's style, given the style of 'Versus' and 'Godzilla: Final Wars', but it was out of place here. But that was my only complaint.

The ending didn't bother me at all; I took it as Barker's homage to H.P. Lovecraft. And in my world, that's not a bad thing (my screen-name should tell you all you'd need to know).
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11:18AM on 05/27/2010
I gotta admit, this was a decent (if not dam good) sleeper hit outta left field. I think I heard Arrow mention it a year or so ago, and then subsequently saw it "on-demand" for free a few weeks after that. Then bought it on dvd a few days ago at Wallyworld for $7.50. Sweet.
Anyway, back to the movie. So it did have a few plot holes, and the ending left much to the imagination and everyone scratching their head. But if you think about it, it was far superior to the majority of low budget or
I gotta admit, this was a decent (if not dam good) sleeper hit outta left field. I think I heard Arrow mention it a year or so ago, and then subsequently saw it "on-demand" for free a few weeks after that. Then bought it on dvd a few days ago at Wallyworld for $7.50. Sweet.
Anyway, back to the movie. So it did have a few plot holes, and the ending left much to the imagination and everyone scratching their head. But if you think about it, it was far superior to the majority of low budget or independent films arriving daily. All in all, I give it a 3 1/4. My hats off to Clive.
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2:23AM on 01/27/2010

Disappointing

Got to disagree with you mofos. Leon and his girlfriend failed to communicate to an unrealistic extent, just to serve the plot. They both frequently did idiotic things as well. Consequently, I had little sympathy for them when the shite hit the fan, thus lessening the impact. Secondly, even though I could appreciate Clive Barker's dark vision behind the story, the film completely failed to really capture that vision. There should have been more focus on Leon's growing obsession and on the
Got to disagree with you mofos. Leon and his girlfriend failed to communicate to an unrealistic extent, just to serve the plot. They both frequently did idiotic things as well. Consequently, I had little sympathy for them when the shite hit the fan, thus lessening the impact. Secondly, even though I could appreciate Clive Barker's dark vision behind the story, the film completely failed to really capture that vision. There should have been more focus on Leon's growing obsession and on the strangeness and mystery that permeates the city after hours, and less running about like headless chickens.
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9:14PM on 08/31/2009
An gory as hell thrillride that was fast paced and should of been in 3D if it had a chance to be a wide theaterical release. I do feel though that this is a tad overrated and wasn't worth the wait they put us through and I wasn't a big fan of the ending either, it didn't give us a good enough explaination. It's lack of story and good dialogue made it uninteresting in some parts but it makes up for that with its gory and creative kills, if it wasn't for the gore I would have given it a lower
An gory as hell thrillride that was fast paced and should of been in 3D if it had a chance to be a wide theaterical release. I do feel though that this is a tad overrated and wasn't worth the wait they put us through and I wasn't a big fan of the ending either, it didn't give us a good enough explaination. It's lack of story and good dialogue made it uninteresting in some parts but it makes up for that with its gory and creative kills, if it wasn't for the gore I would have given it a lower rating. I thought the acting was on in some parts and off in others, nothing was a stand out in this department. I do however think the filming was expertly done and was one of the high points of this movie. Overall it's a great gore flick but nothing more than that, check out the horror/thriller End Of The Line, a much better subway horror movie!
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6:52AM on 05/10/2009
Competent, tense but with a rushed, weakly-explained ending. I loved it, up to the last 15 minutes where for me it all went wrong in either the script or the editing room. It needed more time to make better sense.

Bradly Cooper should become a bigger star, by the way. The guy is all charisma and strong screen presence.
Competent, tense but with a rushed, weakly-explained ending. I loved it, up to the last 15 minutes where for me it all went wrong in either the script or the editing room. It needed more time to make better sense.

Bradly Cooper should become a bigger star, by the way. The guy is all charisma and strong screen presence.
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3:08PM on 05/03/2009
It really SHOULD have gone much, much farther with the Big Reveal, as the short story did, but it nicely captured the mood of everything otherwise.

My one and only gripe with the film? Leslie Bibb. Or her character. Or both. Couldn't it have been neither?
It really SHOULD have gone much, much farther with the Big Reveal, as the short story did, but it nicely captured the mood of everything otherwise.

My one and only gripe with the film? Leslie Bibb. Or her character. Or both. Couldn't it have been neither?
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7:49PM on 04/29/2009

I don't usually give 4's, but...

I hear you on that next Clive Barker directed film...seems like I've been waiting forever...

Loved this film though, the second best of last year (right after INSIDE). I seem to be in the minority of those who really loved the ending, but I could see how some could disapprove. To me it was mucho insane Barker-esque though. :D
I hear you on that next Clive Barker directed film...seems like I've been waiting forever...

Loved this film though, the second best of last year (right after INSIDE). I seem to be in the minority of those who really loved the ending, but I could see how some could disapprove. To me it was mucho insane Barker-esque though. :D
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12:12PM on 04/28/2009

Gutsy Film

Stoked you finally got to see this, Arrow.

I've been following it for what feels like ages - way back, since I got up to wondering what Barker was doing these days and saw the listing on IMDB for Midnight Meat Train (which sounds like an all-black gay porno, as my roommate put it), and then to all the Arrow coverage here. The absolutely undeserved studio-shaft treatment aside, when I finally got this on blu-ray, I was not disappointed.

Credible (and likable) characters, a kinetic,
Stoked you finally got to see this, Arrow.

I've been following it for what feels like ages - way back, since I got up to wondering what Barker was doing these days and saw the listing on IMDB for Midnight Meat Train (which sounds like an all-black gay porno, as my roommate put it), and then to all the Arrow coverage here. The absolutely undeserved studio-shaft treatment aside, when I finally got this on blu-ray, I was not disappointed.

Credible (and likable) characters, a kinetic, pulsing score and stunning direction and visuals - this one had me. I was cringing, gripping my seat, cheering at the Ted Raimi cameo, then cringing again. The only place it lost me was the CGI gore - it was very, very obvious. The ending, however, I really liked - it just seemed like the sort of thing that Barker would pull, which also happens to be the sort of direction I love to see things go - the unusual, gutsy path. Granted, more of a build, more cues into it wouldn't have hurt, but overall, I was spanked in a great way by that twist.

To be honest, I enjoyed this one more than any other slasher in recent memory.
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