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The Midnight Meat Train

2008 horror film based on Clive Barker's 1984 short story

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  • Apr 29, 2011
*** out of ****

I have a love-hate relationship with films based on the works of Clive Barker, while I also have a just plain "love" relationship with the stories that one such man tells. What can I say: I enjoy a good "scary story" from the man who has been hailed, and has proven himself to be, a landmark contributor to horror-literature. Clive Barker is a man who described himself as "a lucky guy who got to make a film". I assume he was referring to "Hellraiser"; that messy and convoluted, nigh pointless adaptation of one of his own works. I think he learned his lesson from there.

So here we have "The Midnight Meat Train", which is based off of a work of Barker. This is one of the best adaptations a story of Barker has gotten, and lucky for him, it's not directed by Barker. Last time that happened, we almost killed ourselves, depending on what you thought when it came to "Hellraiser".

Leon is an aspiring photographer who gets a gig that could land him a life-time of good money and fame. He likes how such a life-style sounds, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants and where he wants to be. With the support of his girlfriend, Leon hopes to follow his dreams, and when a well-known art-lover asks him to get some good "night shots" detailing what city life is really about, Leon is excited and enthusiastic about taking the job. Eventually, Leon walks the street at night, and comes across a burly man who seldom speaks, and doesn't seem to fancy communication either.

This man is Mahogany; a man who works mostly at a butchery, and has a part-time job as a serial killer on a "midnight meat train". He's a man who, as Leon puts it, "slaughters humans like cattle". Why he does this, I shall not say, for all is revealed in the flawed, predictable, but never boring ending.

I've literally seen "The Midnight Meat Train" more than once, and I've also seen it several times, figuratively. This film isn't terribly unique in how it brings out its inner horrors, and it's not a true horror classic, but I think there are a couple of good reasons to why it's better than (most of) what's out there. For starters, this film is a cocktail party in a slaughterhouse; violent, vomit-worthy, and to many, sickening. It's a film drenched in blood, CG blood to be precise, and never restrains itself from being messy. What I openly admired about the film was that it doesn't turn into "Hostel" or the "Saw" sequels. It is bloody, gory, and nasty throughout; but there's a certain quality to these things that makes this train ride pretty endurable, and thoroughly entertaining.

I liked how this film did not feel disgusting, and neither does the gore. So many horror films are retrained; so many are over-the-top, and "The Midnight Meat Train" understands that refraining from being incredibly disgusting is the right way to go. I enjoyed this movie. It is well-acted, well-filmed, and has some of the most insane, addictive visuals I've seen used in horror cinema for quite some time. It's worth seeing if you are a fan of the genre, and I think that this is a future cult hit. I can say I liked it; the film has its flaws (flawed ending, lack of complex characterizations, some plot holes that need filling), but like I said; this train ride is fun, entertaining, and gloriously violent. My advice is to take the ticket, stay for the ride, and leave with whatever feelings and emotions you choose.

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May 01, 2011
"So many horror films are retrained; so many are over-the-top, and "The Midnight Meat Train" understands that refraining from being incredibly disgusting is the right way to go." You haven't lost your touch in lines even though you have been writing shorter reviews....
More The Midnight Meat Train reviews
review by . October 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE MIDNIGHTMEAT TRAIN      There were two reasons for me to get this movie when it came out, well there were many but the two big ones were that it is a Clive Barker film and Ted Raimi is in it [not for long]. I have always been a fan of Barker's from his writing to his films I enjoy the man's work, same can be said for Mr. Raimi who I think is one of the most underused and underrated actors of all time. Any way the time came for this movie …
Quick Tip by . October 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Fun movie based on Barker's story, full of blood and just an over all good time.
review by . February 19, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dvd Cover
Based on Clive Barker's short story in the "Books of Blood" series in 1984, "MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN" is directed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura in his Hollywood film debut. Those who are familiar with Kitamura's works know that the man is excellent in visuals and editing tricks--the man is renowned for the terrific Jidai Geki hit "Azumi", shot an excellent film in a measly seven days with "Aragami", gave us the genre-bending cult hit "Versus" and thrilled us with the Yakuza occult short film …
review by . May 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I'm writing this review with the biggest sh*t eating grin that I can possibly muster. Thank God for Clive Barker!!      For those of you who love the man & are quite familiar with his work, an introduction would be fruitless so I'll assume most of you know him from either Candyman or Hellraiser. Those of you remotely familiar will also know his work tends to be dark, gruesome, & ultra-violent. Midnight Meat Train really offers the goods here & makes …
review by . November 14, 2008
Imagine if you will, a slasher movie co-starring Brooke Shields (!)     This movie adaptation of Clive Barker's short story is an edge of your seat, suspenseful chiller, but doesn't have many of those "Psycho" pull-back-the -curtain moments, and won't scare you enough to make you lose any sleep.     Never-the-less, this is fine entertainment for fans of the genre, with copious amounts of blood and gore, slashing steel implements and body parts galore.      …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


The Midnight Meat Train is a 2008 horror film based on Clive Barker's 1984 short story of the same name, which can be found in Volume One of Barker's collection Books of Blood. The film follows a photographer who attempts to track down a serial killer dubbed the "Subway Butcher" and discovers more than he bargained for under the city streets.

The film was directed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Vinnie Jones and Brooke Shields. Its script was adapted by Jeff Buhler, the producer was Tom Rosenberg of Lakeshore Entertainment, and it was released on August 1, 2008.

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Genre: Horror
Release Date: Aug 1 2008
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Films

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