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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
7 10
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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