The Midnight Meat Train (2008) Poster

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

  • Rate: 6.2/10 total 25,993 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 7 August 2008 (Russia)
  • Runtime: 98 min | USA:100 min | France:85 min | USA:103 min (unrated version)
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The Midnight Meat Train (2008)


The Midnight Meat Train 2008tt0805570.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
  • Rate: 6.2/10 total 25,993 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Release Date: 7 August 2008 (Russia)
  • Runtime: 98 min | USA:100 min | France:85 min | USA:103 min (unrated version)
  • Filming Location: Burbank, California, USA
  • Budget: $15,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $73,548(USA)(10 August 2008)
  • Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
  • Stars: Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper and Leslie Bibb
  • Original Music By: Johannes Kobilke (music by) Robb Williamson (music by)  
  • Soundtrack: Big Black Sky
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Photographer | Subway | Subway Station | Butcher | Serial Killer

Writing Credits By:

  • Jeff Buhler (screenplay)
  • Clive Barker (short story "The Midnight Meat Train")

Known Trivia

  • The train in the film is a modified 2200 Chicago elevated car.
  • Clive Barker provided some of the paintings seen in Susan Hoff’s art gallery.
  • On its official North American release to cinemas, the film opened in 102 discount theatres, also called “dollar theatres” for their very low admission prices, rather than at regular first-run cinemas with normal ticket prices, which was a factor in its poor opening weekend box-office earnings.
  • ‘Patrick Tatopoulos (I)’ was once attached to direct this film.
  • Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper were born exactly ten years apart on January 5th. Vinnie in 1965, and Bradley in 1975.
  • Nora’s character “Erika Sakaki” shares the last name with one of director ‘Ryuhei Kitamura”s regulars, Hideo Sakaki.

Goofs: Crew or equipment visible: In the subway car at the opening of the film (approx 00:02:20), a ladder is visible through the left window, highlighting the use of a set and studio.

Plot: A New York photographer hunts down a serial killer. Full summary »  »

Story: The photographer Leon lives with his girlfriend and waitress Maya waiting for a chance to get in the photo business. When Maya contacts their friend Jurgis, he schedules a meeting for Leon with the successful owner of arts gallery Susan Hoff; she analyzes Leon's work and asks him to improve the quality of his photos. During the night, the upset Leon decides to wander on the streets taking pictures with his camera, and he follows three punks down to the subway station; when the gang attacks a young woman, Leon defends her and the guys move on. On the next morning, Leon discovers that the woman is missing. He goes to the police station, but Detective Lynn Hadley does not give much attention to him and discredits his statement. Leon becomes obsessed to find what happened with the stranger and he watches the subway station. When he sees the elegant butcher Mahogany in the train, Leon believes he might be a murderer and stalks him everywhere…Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  


Synopsis: The film opens as a well dressed, barrel chested man stalks the late-night passengers of a subway train. He assaults and kills several people with a meat hammer, and a butchers hook. He dispatches his prey wordlessly, and with an uncannily unnatural strength. He wears a ring on his finger, adorned with eight stars.

We are then introduced to Leon, a vegan photographer who heads into the city’s subway system at night to take photographs. He is criticized constantly by other photographers for fleeing danger before shooting a full reel. One night, in a decision to break this trend, he saves a woman from a gang that is abusing her. The next day, he discovers this girl has gone missing. Leon is intrigued by the mystery, and begins to investigate newsreels about similar disappearances. His investigation leads him to a butcher named Mahogany, who he suspects has been killing subway passengers for as long as a hundred years.

Leon attempts to turn some of the photos he has taken of Mahogany in to the police, but they refuse to believe him, and instead cast suspicion on his own motives in photographing the victims. Leon’s involvement quickly turns into a dark obsession, upsetting his waitress girlfriend Maya, who is as disbelieving of his story as the police chief. Leon takes matters into his own hands, entering the subway train at midnight, only to witness a shocking bloodbath, as the butcher kills several passengers, then hangs them on meat hooks. Passing out on the subway floor, he awakes the next morning in a slaughterhouse with strange markings carved into his chest.

A concerned Maya and her friend Jurgis, a short-order cook, begin to examine the photos Leon has been taking of Mahogany, leading them to the killer’s apartment. After breaking and entering the butcher’s home, Jurgis is captured, and brutally killed. Maya goes to the police, But finds that they are as unwilling to consider her story, as they were of Leon’s. It is at this point that we begin to discover that the police may be involved in the cover-up of Mahogany’s crimes. A police official directs the misguided Maya to a trip on the midnight train. Leon, unaware of Maya’s involvement, finally decides to put an end to the butcher’s crimes, and heads to the hidden subway entrance in the slaughterhouse, arming himself with the a butcher’s apron, and several slaughterhouse knives.

Leon enters the train as Mahogany has completed his nightly massacre, and has cornered a helpless Maya. Leon attacks the murderer with a knife, beginning a climactic battle between the photographer and the superhuman butcher. They fight in between the swinging human meat, Leon’s knives against Mahogany’s meat hammer, and human body parts are ripped, thrown, and used as weapons in the shower of epic gore. Finally, Mahogany is thrown out of the train by Leon, but not long before it hits its final stop. The train has entered an underground cavern, filled with skulls and decomposing bodies. Mahogany, in a battered and bleeding state, returns, barely alive, from beneath the train, and engages in a death struggle with Leon, who finishes the job at last by impaling the psychotic butcher’s skull on a blade. Mahogany grins in his dying throes, pronouncing the single word "Welcome!"

With the butcher’s death, the conductor of the train enters the car, advising Leon and Maya to "Please step away from the meat." With these words, the true purpose of the underground station is revealed, as horrible reptilian creatures enter the car, consuming the meat to which they have been delivered. The conductor explains to Leon that the creatures have always existed below the city, and that the butcher’s job was to keep them satisfied by feeding them every night. The conductor then forces Leon to watch as he kills Maya with one of the butcher’s knives. When he is done, he picks up Leon, and with the same supernatural strength as the deceased butcher, rips out Leon’s tongue, throwing him to the ground. He tells Leon that, having killed the butcher, he must take his place.

In the final scene, the police chief hands the train schedule to the new butcher, who wears a ring with eight stars. The killer walks onto the midnight train, and turns his head to reveal that he is Leon, ready to go on his nightly slaughter.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Clive Barker known as producer
  • Peter Block known as executive producer
  • Jason Constantine known as executive producer
  • Joe Daley known as executive producer
  • Beth DePatie known as co-producer
  • Anthony DiBlasi known as executive producer
  • Gary Lucchesi known as producer
  • Robert McMinn known as executive producer
  • James McQuaide known as co-producer
  • John Penotti known as executive producer
  • Eric Reid known as producer
  • Tom Rosenberg known as producer
  • David Rubin known as executive producer (as David Scott Rubin)
  • Jorge Saralegui known as producer
  • Fisher Stevens known as executive producer
  • Richard S. Wright known as producer (as Richard Wright)

FullCast & Crew:

  • Bradley Cooper known as Leon
  • Leslie Bibb known as Maya
  • Brooke Shields known as Susan Hoff
  • Vinnie Jones known as Mahogany
  • Roger Bart known as Jurgis
  • Tony Curran known as Driver
  • Barbara Eve Harris known as Detective Lynn Hadley
  • Peter Jacobson known as Otto
  • Stephanie Mace known as Leigh Cooper
  • Ted Raimi known as Randle Cooper
  • Nora known as Erika Sakaki (as NorA)
  • Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson known as Guardian Angel
  • Dan Callahan known as Troy Taleveski
  • Donnie Smith known as Station Cop
  • Earl Carroll known as Jack Franks
  • Allen Maldonado known as Lead Gangbanger
  • Michael Shawn McCracken known as Father #1 (as Michael McCracken)
  • Ryan McDowell known as Father #2
  • Eddie Vargas known as Father #3
  • Kelvin O'Bryant known as Scrawny Kid #1
  • Jayson Sanchez known as Scrawny Kid #2
  • Brian Taylor known as Young Man
  • Greg Brown known as Drag Queen (uncredited)
  • Geoffrey Gould known as Subway Passenger (uncredited)
  • Bryn Hammond known as Tom (uncredited)
  • Chris LaCentra known as Creature (uncredited)
  • Kate Mulligan known as Newscaster (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Stephen Bettles known as special makeup effects technician
  • Kelly Capoccia known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Daniel Cheshire known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Katrina Chevalier known as hair stylist
  • Carlton Coleman known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Carlton Coleman known as prosthetics: additional photography unit
  • Gabriel De Cunto known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations
  • Tim Estes known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Ed French known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations (as Edward Emerson French)
  • Aurelio Guzman known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Ruth Haney known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations
  • Jamie Hess known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Alexis Horlick known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Matthew Jorgensen known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations (as Matt Jorgensen)
  • Jane Kim known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Aaron Koons known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Margie Latinopoulos known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations
  • Corinna Liebel known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations
  • Ann Marie Luddy known as hair stylist (as Anne Marie Luddy)
  • Michael Shawn McCracken known as designer: father sculptures (as Michael McCracken Jr.)
  • Romesh McCullough known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Ryan McDowell known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Bart Mixon known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Matthew W. Mungle known as special makeup prosthetics
  • Koji Ohmura known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Deborah Patino Rutherford known as supervising makeup artist (as Deborah Patino)
  • Christopher Payne known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations (as Chris Payne)
  • Christopher Payne known as prosthetics: additional photography unit (as Chris Payne)
  • Joe Podnar known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations
  • Don Rutherford known as makeup artist
  • Graham Schofield known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Kyle Sullivan known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Solina Tabrizi known as supervising hair stylist
  • Ross Tallent known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations (as Ross Talent)
  • Eddie Vargas known as lab prosthetics: W.M. Creations
  • Elizabeth Villamarin known as makeup artist (as Elizabeth Villamrin)
  • Clinton Wayne known as special prosthetic makeup artist: W.M. Creations

Art Department:

  • Sergio Acevedo known as labor foreman
  • Terry Adams known as on-set dresser
  • Greg Allinson known as propmaker
  • Peter Angles known as set dresser
  • Paul Atacan known as propmaker
  • Thomas Baumgartner known as propmaker
  • Steven M. Bishop known as scenic foreman
  • Eric Boden known as labor gangboss
  • Carrie Brody known as painter
  • Patrick Butcher known as propmaker
  • Todd Butler known as propmaker
  • Sergio L. Castaneda known as propmaker
  • Tony Chavez known as propmaker
  • Chuck Courrieu known as lead person (as Charles F. Courrieu)
  • Ronald Day known as painter (as Ronald A. Day)
  • Fernando Diaz-Barriga known as stand-by painter
  • Dave Dragan known as propmaker (as David Dragan)
  • Mike Ellis known as painter
  • Steven Fenster known as painter (as Steven C. Fenster)
  • Nathan Haas known as set dresser
  • Todd Harris known as storyboard artist
  • Renee Heimann known as props
  • Becky Herron known as art department coordinator (as Rebecca Herron)
  • Alex Hunter known as art department assistant
  • Gerard Jordan known as set dresser (as Gerard A. Jordan)
  • John A. Keim known as property master
  • Greg Kovach known as propmaker
  • Roger Luna known as plaster foreman
  • Chris Marneus known as construction coordinator
  • Matthew Martin known as construction foreman
  • Kevin McCoy known as propmaker
  • David Miller known as labor gangboss
  • Russ Mott known as propmaker
  • William A. Nauman known as propmaker (as William A. Naumann)
  • Felicity Nove known as buyer
  • Richard Nua known as painter
  • Bill O'Neal known as construction medic
  • Frank Ortiz known as painter
  • Daniel Pennington known as propmaker
  • Anthony Price known as set dresser
  • Bob Renna known as assistant property master (as Robert Renna)
  • Bob Renna known as assistant props: additional photography unit
  • Nell Roemer known as labor foreman (as Neil Roemer)
  • Matt Sazzman known as propmaker
  • Rik Sciacca known as propmaker (as Rick Sciacca)
  • Michael William Shaules known as set dresser (as Michael W. Shaules)
  • Gregg Smets known as plasterer
  • Paul E. Smets known as plasterer
  • Ryan Ulbrich known as painter
  • Aroldo Vazquez known as laborer
  • Joe B. Villalobos known as propmaker
  • Tom Waisanen known as assistant property master
  • Greg Wyszynski known as set dresser (as Greg A. Wyszynski)




Production Companies:

  • Lakeshore Entertainment
  • Lions Gate Films (as Lionsgate)
  • Midnight Picture Show (in association with)
  • GreeneStreet Films (in association with)

Other Companies:

  • Alex Gourmet Catering  catering services provided by (as Alex's Gourmet Catering)
  • Avon Studio Transport  transportation (uncredited)
  • BT Industrial Supply  expendables
  • Camera House, The  cameras by (as The Camera House [TCH])
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies
  • Company 3  digital intermediate
  • DeWitt Stern of California  insurance provided by (as Dewitt Stern Of California Insurance Services)
  • Direct Tools & Fasteners  expendables
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound post-production (uncredited)
  • Ignite Creative  main and end titles designed by
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)  this picture made under the jurisdiction of (as I.A.T.S.E.®)
  • International Film Guarantors  completion guaranty provided by
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank  production financing provided by
  • Joan Pearce Research Associates  script clearance
  • Lakeshore Records  soundtrack available on
  • Orbit Digital  post production services provided by
  • Riot  dailies telecine transfers (as RIOT)
  • Rockbottom Rentals  cell phone rentals (uncredited)
  • Rockbottom Rentals  junxion box rentals (uncredited)
  • Scarlet Letters  end titles


  • A-Film Distribution (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Lionsgate (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Belgium) (DVD)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution (2008) (Canada) (all media)
  • Argentina Video Home (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment (2011) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Eagle Films (2008) (non-USA) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Hoyts Distribution (2009) (Australia) (all media)
  • Kadokawa Pictures (2011) (Japan) (DVD)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Maple Pictures (2009) (Canada) (DVD) (director's cut)
  • Metropolitan Filmexport (2008) (France) (all media)
  • Movie Bank (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
  • Noori Pictures (2008) (South Korea) (all media)
  • Nordisk Film (2009) (Finland) (DVD) (cropped to 1.77:1)
  • Nordisk Film (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Pyramid (2008) (Russia) (all media)
  • RTL Entertainment (2011) (Netherlands) (TV) (RTL7)
  • Shaw Organisation (2008) (Singapore) (all media)
  • Spentzos Films (2008) (Greece) (all media)
  • Universal Home Video (2009) (Brazil) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • W.M. Creations (special make-up prosthetics) (as Matthew W. Mungle)
  • Furious FX (visual effects and animation)
  • Luma Pictures (visual effects)
  • LOOK! Effects (visual effects) (as Look Effects Inc.)
  • Barbed Wire (visual effects) (as Barbedwire FX)
  • Sub/Par Pix (visual effects)
  • Proof (previsualization)

Visual Effects by:

  • Erika Abrams known as production accountant: Furious FX
  • Bridget Allen known as visual effects producer: Barbedwire FX
  • Ron R. Anantavara known as production manager: Barbedwire FX (as Ron Anantavara)
  • Adam Avitabile known as digital compositor: Look Effects Inc.
  • John Baker known as CG artist: Furious FX
  • Derek Bird known as digital compositor: Look Effects Inc.
  • Chris Bradley known as lead effects artist: Luma Pictures
  • Alexandre Cancado known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Bryan Chavez known as CG artist: Furious FX
  • Vincent Cirelli known as visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Michael Collins known as visual effects supervisor: Look Effects Inc.
  • John Cornejo known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX
  • Christine Cram known as paint artist: Furious FX
  • Erin M. Cullen known as rotoscope artist: Furious FX (as Erin Cullen)
  • Justin Daneman known as visual effects artist: Sub/Par Pix
  • Minh Huyen Dang known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX (as Huyen Minh Dang)
  • Avi Das known as visual effects supervisor: Barbedwire FX
  • Chad Dombrova known as lead lighting & pipeline technical director: Luma Pictures
  • Scott Dougherty known as visual effects executive producer: Furious FX
  • David V. Fedele known as effects artist: Luma Pictures (as David Fedele)
  • Jenny Foster known as visual effects producer: Look Effects Inc.
  • John R. Hazzard known as animator: Luma Pictures (as John Hazzard)
  • Brent Hensarling known as senior systems administrator: Luma Pictures
  • Jotham Herzon known as previsualization artist: Proof, Inc.
  • Carlton Hinds known as production coordinator: Barbedwire FX
  • Cajun Hylton known as lead modeler: Luma Pictures
  • Justin Johnson known as digital effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Harimander Singh Khalsa known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX (as Michael Cashore)
  • Giseon Kim known as roto/paint artist: Luma Pictures
  • Krystine Lankenau known as rotoscope artist: Furious FX (as Kristine Lankenau)
  • David Lingenfelser known as executive visual effects supervisor: Furious FX
  • Kevin Lingenfelser known as creative supervisor: Furious FX
  • David Liu known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX
  • Jason Locke known as 3D tracker: Luma Pictures
  • Chris MacKinnon known as CG artist: Furious FX (as Chris Mackinnon)
  • Mary E. Manning known as previsualization artist: Proof, Inc. (as Mary Manning)
  • Wolfgang Maschin known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX (as Wolf Maschin)
  • James McQuaide known as visual effects supervisor
  • Juan Melendez known as visual effects coordinator: Luma Pictures
  • Glenn Morris known as visual effects producer: Luma Pictures
  • Ashok Nayar known as visual effects coordinator: Luma Pictures
  • Ben Neall known as lead texture artist: Luma Pictures
  • Sean O'Connor known as compositor: Furious FX
  • Kim O'Donnell known as compositor: Furious FX (as Kim Pepe)
  • Gary Oldroyd known as visual effects artist: Sub/Par Pix
  • Gary Oldroyd known as visual effects producer
  • Bill Phillips known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX
  • Pavel Pranevsky known as CG supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Pimentel A. Raphael known as animation supervisor
  • Brett Reyenger known as 3D tracker: Luma Pictures
  • Christopher Sage known as matte painter: Luma Pictures
  • Chad Schott known as digital compositor: Look Effects Inc.
  • Parker Sellers known as previsualization artist: Proof, Inc.
  • Chris Serenil known as computer services manager: Furious FX
  • Mark Shoaf known as CG supervisor: Furious FX
  • Payam Shohadai known as executive visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Joey Sila known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Jared Simeth known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Raena Singh known as visual effects artist: Barbedwire FX
  • Thanapoom Siripopungul known as rigging technical director: Luma Pictures
  • Tiffany Smith known as visual effects producer: Furious FX (as Tiffany A. Smith)
  • Martha Soehendra known as digital compositor: Look Effects Inc.
  • Safari Sosebee known as modeler: Luma Pictures
  • Safari Sosebee known as texture artist: Luma Pictures
  • Steven Swanson known as visual effects supervising producer: Luma Pictures
  • Sarote Tabcum Jr. known as visual effects executive producer: Barbedwire FX
  • Tracy Takahashi known as visual effects producer: Furious FX
  • Andranik Taranyan known as digital compositor
  • Alexander Vegh known as previsualization lead: Proof, Inc.
  • James Waterson known as digital compositor: Luma Pictures
  • Jimmy Wu known as matte painter: Luma Pictures
  • Jason Yanofsky known as lead lighter: Luma Pictures
  • Michael Boggs known as film scanning supervisor (uncredited)
  • Francis De La Torre known as digital compositor (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • Canada 19 July 2008 (Fantasia Film Festival)
  • USA 1 August 2008 (limited)
  • Russia 7 August 2008
  • Germany 14 August 2008 (Fantasy Filmfest)
  • Singapore 14 August 2008
  • Thailand 14 August 2008
  • Estonia 15 August 2008
  • Netherlands 21 August 2008
  • South Korea 21 August 2008
  • UK 23 August 2008 (Frightfest)
  • Germany 28 August 2008 (Nuremberg Fantasy Filmfest)
  • Greece 25 September 2008
  • Canada 9 October 2008 (Edmonton International Film Festival)
  • Turkey 10 October 2008
  • UK 18 October 2008 (Gorezone's Weekend of Horrors)
  • Finland 24 October 2008 (Night Visions Film Festival)
  • Finland 30 October 2008 (Iik!! Horror Film Festival)
  • Ireland 31 October 2008
  • Poland 31 October 2008
  • UK 31 October 2008
  • Belgium 5 November 2008
  • Portugal 13 November 2008
  • France 31 January 2009 (Gérardmer Film Festival)
  • Canada 17 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • USA 17 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Australia 19 February 2009
  • Hungary 5 March 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • France 1 April 2009 (Lyon L'Étrange Festival)
  • Brazil 8 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Iceland 14 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Italy 20 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Argentina 27 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Sweden 10 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 11 June 2009
  • Finland 24 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • France 9 July 2009 (Paris Cinéma)
  • France 29 July 2009
  • Japan 18 March 2011 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for sequences of strong bloody gruesome violence, grisly images involving nudity, sexual content and language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. movedout
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    Clive Barker's more sanguinary inclinations are paid tribute herethrough a hulking golem, a malevolent meat merchant in his dapper best,named Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) who smashes, eviscerates and cleavesthrough unsuspecting commuters on the last train home. Adapted fromBarker's seminal anthology, "Books of Blood", the similarly named "TheMidnight Meat Train" is more than just an opportunity for somesophomoric snickering over its title but one of Barker's most reveredshort stories about a supernatural serial killer that ekes outfascination, fear and obsession from a lone photographer, Leon Kaufman(Bradley Cooper) stumbling upon the butcher's late night deliveries.

    Director Ryuhei Kitamura (of "Versus" and "Azumi" fame) offers up oneof the year's most brutally alluring gore fests in his American debut.With the gritty and detailed hard-edge of early 70s horror films (why,hello there Lucio Fulci!), his flair for CGI augmented visuals and theintense seduction of experimental camera-work in a cinematicenvironment so increasingly sanitised of actual visceral terror,Kitamura refreshes the genre's ability to unsettle and provokeaudiences and jolt jaded horror enthusiasts out of their PG-13 apathy.

    Kitamura works with a modest but shrewd sense of space in the decayingsubway, the claustrophobic train and the creeping gloom of the city.There's a certain simpatico between Barker's distinctive tone andKitamura's balls-to-the-wall film-making that compliments each other tothe benefit of the film's atmospheric resilience. The unvarnishedhorrors cooked down deep in the gallows of the tunnels, plunged intodarkness form the basis of Kaufman's terrible fixation on thedisappearing passengers and that indescribably malicious man who stalksthe shadows. Mahogany is the film's myth, the legend of The Butcher.Prepossessing the exactitude of traits essential to the character,Jones has the nasty glint in the eye, the mysterious swagger ofindestructibility and the imperative of consuming evil, as well ashaving the benefit of looking like the quiet guy in the corner of thebar who could take out an entire gang of hoodlums without spilling hisdrink.

    Kitamura's modulation of the material's emotional stakes and hisslow-burn style of ratcheting up tension gives the story further layersto plunge into, not withstanding Cooper's unlikely presence as thefilm's corruptible protagonist. Jeff Buhler's screenplay from Barker's25-year-old story is uneven at times but keeps an atmospheric dread ofhopelessness. Supporting characters include Kaufman's wife (LeslieBibb), a counterpoint to the man's wavering sanity and a threadbarecharacterisation of his good-humoured pal Jurgis (Roger Bart) whostands to represent Kaufman's humanity. But even if these emotionalcontrasts don't work, the film itself is a tidy and effectivemeta-slasher that resonates beyond corporeal carnage. Kitamura'ssubtextual ingenuity is shown through macabre imagery of animalcarcasses hanging off meat hooks as Mahogany tenderises, disembowelsand stores his victims just like the morsels of flesh they are.

    Clive Barker's fantastical and mad blend of visceral shocks andprofoundly unsettling explorations of worlds coexisting and buried deepwithin the one we think we understand has become an important componentof our contemporary literary and filmic universes. While "The MidnightMeat Train" never hits the spasms of metaphysical despairs in"Hellraiser" or the diabolical mind-warps of "Candyman", this isforthright horror – simple, powerful and unadulterated.

  2. zyxek from Tulsa, OK
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    I saw this movie just now at a local discount theater, and I certainlycan't say that I wanted my dollar back. The worst thing a horror filmcan be is boring, and Midnight Meat Train is never dull. Neither is itquite as exciting or tense as would be ideal, but you take what you canget.

    Based on Clive Barker's classic short story, the film is aboutphotographer Leon (Bradley Cooper), who wants to capture on film the"true" New York City. He has to sell photos of crimes and accidents totabloids for money, though. He is given a meeting with a legendary artdealer (Brooke Shields), and accepts her advice to explore individualplaces more closely, in hopes of finding the image that impresses herand gets him a break in the art world.

    He ends up encountering strange doings during late-night subway rides,and becomes obsessed with a silent, severe butcher (Vinnie Jones) whobludgeons passengers to death on a regular basis.

    The movie works mainly because of its director. Ryuhei Kitamura mightbe the best visual stylist working in the horror genre. The scenes ofsuspense, intrigue, and horror are all inventively shot, while neverdistracting from what's actually going on. His timing of scares,however, could use some work. Jeff Buhler's script has quality dialog,good pacing, and is generally efficient.

    The greatest weakness of the film is its lead actor. Cooper lacks thecharisma and intensity necessary to involve the audience fully inLeon's descent into the underworld.

    But I said before, it is never boring. The time passes easily, bloodflows freely, but only when it needs to, and it is a joy to look out.It deserved a much wider and better promoted release, and is certainlyworth seeking out.

  3. DICK STEEL from Singapore
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    Given that this month's the Lunar Seventh Month where the Chinesebelieve that spirits roam our world as their month long vacation frompurgatory, my friend has so far kept this running joke about myunfortunate bumping into them given I spend my journey home on latenight buses and trains. The Midnight Meat Train, as the title suggests,tells of the last train in the system where passengers inexplicablydisappears, and I thought that Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamuramanaged to put a somewhat refreshing spin to the entire slasher andtorture porn genre.

    Based on a short story by horror Meister Clive Barker, the story inparts looked like horror thrillers with recognizable moments like thosein The Terminator, Shutter, and of course, Jeepers Creepers. If I wereto have to take the last train, I definitely wouldn't want to bump intoVinny's sharp dressed Mahogany, a character who is almost like anyother Vinny Jones character of being the muscle-man. Here, he's abutcher with a penchant of waiting for the last train, and armed withnothing more than knives, meat hooks and his personal favourite, a meattenderizer, he proceeds to chop up unsuspecting victims as the trainseem to speed off into the unknown.

    And there's where the story becomes intriguing, as it poses a lot ofquestions and doesn't provide you with any clear answers, until muchlater. You have to endure a slow buildup of Leon the photographer(Bradley Cooper) who in his quest to take the perfect picture for anexhibition, chances upon Mahogany and follows him for that Kodakmoment. His girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb) and best friend Jurgis (RogerBart) also get into the fray, and soon life for all three will beirrevocably changed. The payload for the movie comes at the back, andmy, it's as satisfying a wrap as it can be, though again for thosealready familiar with some of the mentioned films, you'll more or lessexpect things to be done the way they did.

    As mentioned earlier, what was a refreshing spin, was how direct and tothe point the acts of violence got, without dragging the scenes outwith needless, extended cries of mercy or lingering on gratuitousscenes of gore and blood, which torture porn flicks seem to continuousbog their movies with, that it becomes boring (Yes, I think you cansense that I'm already de-sensitized to such scenes). Rather thantrying to craft creative ways to die in order to go one up againstother movies that came before it, The Midnight Meat Train really wentback to basics and simplicity, where killing blows are deliveredswiftly, before proceeding with dismemberment.

    While it is disturbing in itself, the distributors decided to shieldlocal audiences from such violence and gore, and hence we got acensored M18 rated version, instead of full regalia under the R21rating. The cuts were jarring enough, but in all fairness the qualityof the movie cannot be judged by just how those scenes were removedwith a butcher's knife. Going by detailed descriptions of the level ofgraphic violence contained in the movie, it seemed that we sufferedfrom having a lot cut off.

    The movie also boasted some really effective scenes of tension, and theanticipation of ill will especially with Vinny Jones looming nearby.The last time I remembered watching a major action sequence involvingtrains was in Batman Begins, and given that it has to live up totitular expectations, audiences were treated to some incredible all-outaction scenes set in and around the train, with some really energeticcamera movement and angles to complement the action on screen.

    But technicalities aside, what really worked and will possibly elevatethis film to cult status, will be portrayal and fleshing out thecharacter of Mahogany as the no-nonsense and swift executioner, addingto the list of memorable villains to have graced the screen amongst thelikes of the Freddies, Jasons and the Michael Myers of the cinematicworld.

  4. Anyanwu from Los Angeles, CA
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    That was the funniest line in the movie, and sadly the movie is justOK. I was upset when I heard that Lions Gate was going to dump thisflick on DVD. I even wrote Joe Drake an email pleading that it get aregular release. (he's probably laughing at me right now) I stood inline with a butt load of folks to see the midnight screening last nightat the Nuart in Los Angeles. I stood next to the director. I wasstanding near the writer too (who seemed either drunk or stoned when hefirst walked in, but then, maybe that's just how he is on the regular).I was excited. This was the one time it would play in a theater nearme.

    I saw it.

    A couple of problems for me.

    1. Pacing. There seemed to be scenes that slowed the story down andderailed the momentum. I wanted to feel like the protagonist wasspiraling into a world that he should not have knowledge of, and yet heis drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Perhaps more editing. Especiallythe love scenes.

    2. The Girlfriend. Men, please stop making women in your movies cliché,shrill and annoying. There were forced love scenes and quite frankly,the actress added to the slow pacing. She should've been proactive andsupportive of the leads journey into hell. And do we need to see womenfalling down while running away YET AGAIN?! Conflict is essential in astory, but it should be natural conflict that pushes the story forward,not contrived and coming off as nagging. Every time she came on screenI just waited for her to get off screen to get our guy back into thestory. Side note, I thought Brooke Shields should've been the chick.She was great. Cold. Calculating. The type that would push her manfurther into the pit. That's the woman the lead needed, and he got thestereotypical girly-girl. Boo!!!! 3. The Butcher. He was creepy, but Ifelt that we shouldn't have seen him fully until halfway through themovie. The scary moments in any film is the fear of not knowing. Inthis movie we got glimpses of the Butcher, creating tension and fearfor Kaufman. But soon after we see him fully as a regular human whokills people, it moved from horror into a slasher-suspense movie. Itshould've been more than that. The supernatural element should've beenpushed more with The Butcher. The short story presented something epicand ancient in scope. The Butcher was a necessary job that had to bedone to keep The City running. Once the film became a simpleslasher-gore fest (which is not bad in any movie as long as the storyworks with it and we care about the leads), the Butcher just became arun-of-the-mill serial killer, no different than Jason, Michael Meyersor Freddy Fruger. Those guys did their killings for revenge. TheButcher has to kill to keep order in the human world. Just like ancientGreeks and Romans and other cultures that made human sacrifices toappease the Gods, an offering if you will.

    That was the reveal in the short story. In the movie, he just kills forsome nasty monsters we barely see at the end. Bad! The Butcher hadnoble work to do. Nasty work yes, (like any butcher in real life whokills the meat for society to consume. Most people eat burgers andsteaks without thinking about what has to be done to the animals thatprovide that great meal. Please, go visit a slaughterhouse.)but it mustbe done for the rest of us to survive. This movie missed that point atthe end.

    4. Some of the kill sequences were just there to see how cool the CGIeffects could be done. It stopped being scary to becoming typical EliRoth/Saw 3-5 schlock. How many cool ways can we kill a person? Horror,to me anyway, should be horrific, not funny. Once it becomes funny atthe expense of not really scaring people, then you've lost me. Granted,one of the funniest lines in the movie was when the subway trainconductor tells Kaufman (after the train has ended its run) "Please,step away from the meat." The humor is surreal and it works at thatmoment because of the banality of the line. The conductor could've beensaying, "Please step away from the ramp/shoe/dog etc". The conductorhas a job to do, and so does the Butcher, so please step away from ourwork. Classic.

    All that said, the movie is a mixed bag. I'd be curious to see whatClive Barker had to say. The film looks great, nice atmosphere, setdesign etc. I might've recast the two leads, but I'm glad I got to seeit in a theater. I had the opportunity to get a real movie experiencewith the film.

  5. rabbitmoon from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    Wow, how bad can it get. This was seriously bad. Not in terms of thegore – which was mainly laughable CGI – but in acting, atmosphere anddirection.

    The story was dreadful – the character arc of the main lead was a totaljoke. Within a few nights of stalking Vinnie Jones, he starts to become'haunted' to the point of crying when photographing his girlfriend.Um… are all New York photographers this childish, suggestible andweak? His character development had absolutely no justification orpoint whatsoever – and by the very end you'll be laughing out loud atthe utterly predictable, and totally absurd twist his character takes.

    The gory moments were clearly just a weak, low-self-esteemed effort tojump onto the modern MTV style gore wagon – all cgi, blood yet no realemotion whatsoever. These parts were unintentionally funny – anddistracting by their self-consciousness – wacky camera angles etc.

    Overall this film commits the crime of blowing another potential idea.What could have had atmosphere (until the stupid monsters at the end)is ruined in favour of 'look at me'style self-conscious directing. Thisfilm wasn't made for and audience – it was made for a CV – a deeplyselfish motive.

  6. FilmFatale from Carnival of Souls-ville
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    "Midnight Meat Train" is the story of a photographer who wants tocapture the real heart of New York City. A chance encounter with amodel who's being threatened by some toughs in a subway station leadsto his discovery and eventual obsession with what appears to be aserial killer who finds his victims on the late-night trains.

    I know this one has its fans, and MMT had its moments, with somerefreshing gore. However, it just didn't work for me on any level. Theleads were bland and I never cared about them. The pacing was off andnever gave me any sense of dread – people just stumbled around, got onthe subway, got killed, the photographer started to watch, go crazy,then solve the mystery. And there were too many ridiculous fightscenes.

    At its heart, "Midnight Meat Train" had an interesting story once itgot to the end. But I think it would have worked better as a shortfilm, because I felt it was way too padded to make any sort of impact.

  7. Kostas Chiotleis from Greece
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    I am really surprised that this movie get a ranking like this! Ihaven't seen such a bad movie for years.Omg this was a really badmovie. Splatter, is not enough to describe the unnecessary (nearlyfunny) blood scenes). If you didn't like hostel2 or Wolf Creek orHalloween (2007) ..well this is 10 time worse. The story remind me RLStine goosebumps.!

    I can't tell about the acting since the script was so terrible.Clichéall the time. (why i must write 10lines? i never understood this.)

    ==Here comes spoilers==

    The story is about a butcher killing people all the time in metro. Weare talking about thousands of killings and no one gets notice.Actually those people are just missing. And There is the good guy thattries to solve the mystery (well there is no mystery for us because weknow from the beginning the bad guy) and as usual no one believes him!what a surprise! In the end he puts butcher clothes and fights to deathwith the killer butcher!

  8. addybhai786 from Cool Planet
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    A great movie i must say. Its been a long time there comes a movie thathits you in head. I mean literally. This is perhaps the mostunder-rated horror movies of the 2008. The reason might be the gruesomeviolence and the nature of it. Surely this is not for the faint ofheart. The movie has a great storyline and the more you see you moreyou are involved within and you have to see the ending. I won;t commentmuch on the story. You have to see it to believe it. But i will saythat it is not to be missed. and trust me you will think twicetravelling in subway at midnight after watching this great piece ofhorror genre.

  9. c-c-monaghan
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    This was a terrible film. There was no story line whatsoever. To top itall off, when they couldn't explain the blood and gore (the only goodpart) … they threw in a few aliens! I hate when directors (orwhatever) run out of ideas and then blame the aliens! Watch this filmif you like. But don't say I didn't warn you. Two things: How couldVinny say "welcome" when he didn't have a tongue? Its a pity Mr Jonesdidn't have a bigger role. Second thing that bugged me, why were weshown Vinny Jones' boils and him cutting them off and putting them intoblue liquid, then these have no further role. Why not? I don't like tobe shown something and that has nothing to do with the story linewhatsoever. In short. Bad story. I wouldn't waste my time – wish I'dhave watched Mirrors instead.

  10. winkie_69 from Milwaukee, WI
    30 Mar 2012, 3:33 pm

    Do not bother to waste your money on this movie. Do not even go intoyour car and think that you might see this movie if any others do notappeal to you. If you must see a movie this weekend, go see Batmanagain.

    The script was horrible. Perfectly written from the random horror movieformat. Given: a place in confined spaces, a madman with variousweapons, a curious man who manages to uncover all of the clues thathonest police officers cannot put together, and an innocent and overlycurious, yet beautiful and strong woman with whom many in the audiencewould love to be able to call their girlfriend. Mix together, add muchpoorly executed gore, and what the hell, let's put some freaks in therefor a little "spin" to the plot.

    The acting was horrible, and the characters unbelievable – Borat wasmore believable than this.

    ***Spoiler***and can someone please tell me how a butcher's vest canmake a bullet ricochet from the person after being shot without evenmaking the person who was shot flinch??? I'm in the army. We need thatkind of stuff for ourselves.

    1 out of 10, and I would place it in the decimals of that rounded up togive it the lowest possible score I can.

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