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HTF Blu-ray Review: THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN



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#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 16 2009 - 05:48 PM

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The Midnight Meat Train (Blu-ray)


"Please. Step away from the meat."



Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: Unrated (original rating: R)
Film Length: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Codec: VC-1
Audio: English DTS HD-MA 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH; Spanish
MSRP: $39.99
Disc Format: 1 25GB
Package: Keepcase
Theatrical Release Date: Aug. 1, 2008 (but see below)
Blu-ray Release Date: Feb. 17, 2009



Introduction:


So horror legend Clive Barker co-produces a film based on one of his short stories. It has a
decent budget and features real actors with A-list movie credits and buckets of blood. In a market
that can tolerate five Saw films, twelve Friday the Thirteenths, innumerable Halloweens, the
Night/Dawn/Day/Land/Shaun of the Dead oeuvre (and countless lesser knockoffs), Freddie
Krueger, the Scream franchise and far too many torture porn films, you'd think any reasonable
studio would be happy to spring for a few thousand prints and enough advertising to support a
low-key August or September release, right?

Wrong. Lionsgate couldn't bury this one deep enough. They dropped The Midnight Meat Train
into a hundred theaters for a week on August 1, 2008, just enough to fulfill contractual
obligations. And not real theaters, mind you, but bargain theaters, as far as possible from major
metropolitan centers like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago - anyplace where there was a risk
of finding large numbers of Barker fans who might actually show up to see the film. Rarely has a
studio gone so far out of its way to leave money lying on the table.

At the time, Barker agitated both publicly and privately to get Lionsgate to reconsider, but to no
avail. As if to make amends, Lionsgate has now released the film on Blu-ray, and - as far as I can
tell, with nothing to compare it to - the release appears to be first-rate.


The Feature:

Leon (Bradley Cooper of Alias and The Wedding Crashers) is a photographer looking for his true
artistic vision. The subject that fascinates him is "the city". The locale itself is never identified by
name. Various details suggest New York, but nothing in the film looks like New York, especially
the subway system, where so much of the film takes place. This is "the city (The film itself was shot in Los Angeles.)

Leon lives with his girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb of Iron Man), whom he promises to marry as
soon as he's made enough money from his photography. Meanwhile, Maya supports them by
waitressing at a greasy spoon diner where Leon, a vegetarian, has to beg the cook to fry him tofu.

Leon persuades his friend Jurgis (Roger Bart of The Producers and Desperate Housewives) to
introduce him to a high-powered art dealer named Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields). Susan
challenges Leon to go deeper and show her the "real" city.

It is while prowling the streets late at night in an effort to meet Susan's challenge that Leon
encounters the austere, silent, intimidating man we will come to know as Mahogany (Vinnie
Jones, veteran of several Guy Ritchie films as well as X-Men 3 and Gone in 60 Seconds).
Mahogany works in a meat-packing plant above an abandoned subway station, lives in a hotel
room filled with bizarre tools, and there is just something about him . . .

As Leon's interest in Mahogany deepens into obsession, he begins exhibiting odd behavior (like
eating steak!) and experiencing bizarre dreams. While Leon tails Mahogany, Maya begins
following Leon, eventually dragging along Jurgis. This being a story from the mind of Clive
Barker, the results are catastrophic and bloody but not necessarily in a way that you might expect.
Let's just say that, when someone goes looking for "the real", they may be shocked to discover
that the real has been looking for them.

In other hands, the basic story of The Midnight Meat Train might have served as an episode for
Tales from the Crypt. But Barker has always wanted more from horror than just the gross-out
surprise, followed by a high-pitched snarky laugh, that made Tales from the Crypt an entertaining
but ultimately disposable pastime. Barker wants people to feel something (even if the feeling
isn't pleasant), and he's willing to risk having an audience laugh at him in an effort to have his
characters and their emotions taken seriously. (It's a tricky balancing act, as later installments of
the Hellraiser franchise show; Pinhead, probably Barker's most famous monster, can easily
become ridiculous.) In The Midnight Meat Train, Barker and screenwriter Jeff Buhler take the
time to let the actors build a real relationship between Leon and Maya so that the audience can
become invested in what happens to them. Bradley Cooper and Leslie Bibb are appealing leads,
and they make the most of the material.

Mahogany is also more than just an unstoppable killing machine, although his story is only
gradually revealed (and, personally, I found it more stomach-churning than the copious slaughter,
but your mileage may vary). Vinnie Jones is perfect casting, because he has great physical
presence and can convey menace and other, less expected emotions without saying a word.

Director Ryuhei Kitamura maintains a grim, unsettling atmosphere throughout the film, favoring
a desaturated pallette and a heavily filtered look that makes even the daytime scenes seem
shadowy. He has a nice feel for both the mechanics of suspense (as in a chase through hanging
racks of meat) and for the over-the-top violence that fans expect from anything bearing the name
of Clive Barker. The film on this disc is the unrated director's cut; so nothing has been trimmed
for the sake of a rating. (According to the commentary, the version released in theaters had to be
heavily edited for both sex and violence, especially the latter.)


Video:

The film is presented in its 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Although I have no other experience of the film
for comparison, the color values appear to be appropriate for the blue-tinged, desaturated look of
the city at night, which is the primary world of The Midnight Meat Train. There is highly visible
film grain throughout, and this appears to be the product of deliberate "filtering" - which is to
say, boosted contrast ratios, probably in the digital intermediate stage. I did not detect the kind of
edge enhancement that would result from artificial sharpening. Rather, it appears that the
enhanced contrast was intended to accentuate the noirish appearance of the film, and it
contributes a sense of wear-and-tear to the cityscapes that they otherwise might not have. (This
turns out to be important for reasons you'll have to watch the film to understand.) Again, with the
caveat that I have not seen the film projected, this appears to be an excellent transfer.

(NOTE: Anyone comparing the film to the trailer included on the disc will note that the same
scenes in the trailer have more color and less grain. Similar comparisons in the past have
sometimes led people to conclude that the film transfer was botched. It's important to remember
that trailers are prepared before a film is finished, using footage that has not been finalized - or
"color timed", as they'd say in the days before digital intermediates. If the entire film looked like
the footage in the trailer, it would lose much of its mood and atmosphere. Lacking any evidence
to the contrary, I have to believe that the film transfer represents the intended look.)


Audio:

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 track is the only audio option, and it's a treat. The scenes in the subway
and in the slaughterhouse could be demo material, except that the subject matter isn't for most
viewers. Dialogue is clear and natural. As I sit here now, I can barely remember the musical
score, which is usually a sign that it's well-integrated. (Sidney Lumet once remarked that Howard
Shore's score for The Silence of the Lambs was one of the best he knew, because he couldn't
remember any of it apart from the movie.)


Special Features:

The video for all special features is in HD.

Commentary by Clive Barker and Ryuhei Kitamura. Barker and Kitamura engage in a lively
conversation that runs the entire length of the film with barely a pause for breath. Even though
Barker co-produced, he was not present for much of the shooting, and he takes the commentary
as an opportunity to "interview" Kitamura about how he set up and achieved many of his shots.
Barker also gives a candid account, from his perspective, of how Lionsgate was originally
enthusiastic on the film, scheduling it for a wide release in May 2008, but then turned negative
and canceled the release date after the film's champion at the executive level, Peter Block, left
the company. To this day, Barker says, he still doesn't know what corporate scores were being
settled at the film's expense.

Barker and Kitamura also discuss changes from the original story (notably the character of Maya,
who was invented for the film) and numerous films that influenced them in one respect or
another. Some of the influences are fairly obvious (The Fly, The Exorcist, Alien), while others are
unexpected (The Hitcher, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Cruising).

Clive Barker: The Man Behind the Myth featurette (14:54). Probably the highlight of the
special features, this is less about the film than about Barker in the later stages of his prolific
career. The bulk of the featurette is a tour of Barker's art studio. Even though he did not begin
painting until age 45, Barker has produced hundreds, perhaps thousands, of canvases, and he
speaks with infectious enthusiasm about what painting means to him and why he enjoys it. He's
even willing to show the camera canvases that he considers to be failures and plans to paint over.

Mahogany's Tale featurette (5:12). A short introduction to the film's villain. Spoiler alert: Do
not watch this until you have seen the film.

Anatomy of a Murder Scene featurette (9:17). A making-of documentary on the complex
choreography behind one specific scene of mayhem. The scene begins simply enough, with three
people, a couple and a friend, riding the subway late at night. The wife is concerned about
possible danger, but both men assure her they're completely safe. Guess what happens next?
Again, spoiler alert: Do not watch this until you have seen the film.

Trailers. In addition to the film's trailer in HD (available under special features), the film is
preceded by trailers in HD for My Bloody Valentine 3D, The Haunting in Connecticut, Saw V,
Cabin Fever
and The Descent.


Final Thoughts:

Successful makers of horror films have always found a way to tap into something deeper than
just the mechanics of making you jump or turning your stomach. Artists like David Cronenberg,
George Romero, Tobe Hooper or Don Coscarelli (on a good day) may differ in their means, but
they all find ways to get under your skin before they deliver the shocks. Clive Barker, even when
he's just producing and offering inspiration, is another such filmmaker, and on the rare occasion
of his venturing back into the medium, he deserved better treatment than Lionsgate gave The
Midnight Meat Train
. While not a classic on the level of Barker's own Hellraiser or Nightbreed,
the film is easily superior to most of what passes for horror movies today. On Blu-ray its
audience can finally experience it in all its bloody glory.

Finally, if my recommendation isn't enough to tempt you, consider the thumbs-up of someone
with much weightier credentials: director Guillermo del Toro, creator of Pan's Labyrinth and the
Hellboy films. According to Barker, del Toro liked the film so much that he arranged for it to
have a theatrical release in Mexico instead of going direct to DVD. Now that's a horror fan with
clout.


Equipment used for this review:

Panasonic BDP-BD50 Blu-ray player (DTS decoded internally and output as analog)
Samsung HL-T7288W DLP display (connected via HDMI)
Lexicon MC-8 connected via 5.1 passthrough
Sunfire Cinema Grand amplifier
Monitor Audio floor-standing fronts and MA FX-2 rears
Boston Accoustics VR-MC center
Velodyne HGS-10 sub
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#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted February 17 2009 - 03:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Barker also gives a candid account, from his perspective, of how Lionsgate was originally enthusiastic on the film, scheduling it for a wide release in May 2008, but then turned negative and canceled the release date after the film's champion at the executive level, Peter Block, left the company. To this day, Barker says, he still doesn't know what corporate scores were being settled at the film's expense.
That made it into the commentary? Impressive; I'd sort of expect Lionsgate to either edit that out or make sure Barker and Kitamura didn't talk about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Clive Barker, even when he's just producing and offering inspiration, is another such filmmaker, and on the rare occasion of his venturing back into the medium, he deserved better treatment than Lionsgate gave The Midnight Meat Train.
Not at all a criticism, but an observation: It strikes me as kind of odd that so much of the talk about this film has been about Barker. Not because it shouldn't, but because I'm not a particular fan of horror in general and Clive Barker in particular, so I didn't realize that "The Midnight Meat Train" was such a well-loved story. The American debut of Ryuhei Kitamura was very much the draw for me, and when I saw the movie at Montreal's Fantasia festival, that seemed to be where much of the interest of the audience lay (in part because Kitamura was doing a Q&A). As much as Barker got a bum deal, Kitamura is the guy I think of as really getting screwed here: He's a guy that was clearly very excited about coming to Hollywood and getting to work with the resources available here, and watching the film, I got the feeling that he knew that he was probably only getting one shot and he was going to make it count. He passed on other projects and tried his damnedest to make every shot in this movie memorable. And then Lionsgate buries the movie and what should have been Kitamura making a splash is cut off at the knees.

Ticks me off, it does. Kitamura's Japanese work has been uneven, but energetically so, and when he's on, there really aren't many better. Midnight Meat Train is some of his best work, and I was really hoping it would being a steping stone to something even bigger.
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 17 2009 - 04:12 AM

This movie has had rave reviews in the horror underground. It will be interesting to see if it gains a new life on BD/DVD.
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#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 17 2009 - 04:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Seaver
That made it into the commentary? Impressive; I'd sort of expect Lionsgate to either edit that out or make sure Barker and Kitamura didn't talk about it.
Yeah, I was pretty surprised at the extent of the discussion, even though it didn't go quite as far as Barker's complaints to the press at the time about Lionsgate president Joe Drake (which frankly didn't make much sense).

Pure speculation on my part, but Lakeshore Entertainment was the other major production company, and they too must have lost money. Maybe they gave Barker some cover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Seaver
It strikes me as kind of odd that so much of the talk about this film has been about Barker. Not because it shouldn't, but because I'm not a particular fan of horror in general and Clive Barker in particular, so I didn't realize that "The Midnight Meat Train" was such a well-loved story. The American debut of Ryuhei Kitamura was very much the draw for me, and when I saw the movie at Montreal's Fantasia festival, that seemed to be where much of the interest of the audience lay (in part because Kitamura was doing a Q&A). As much as Barker got a bum deal, Kitamura is the guy I think of as really getting screwed here: He's a guy that was clearly very excited about coming to Hollywood and getting to work with the resources available here, and watching the film, I got the feeling that he knew that he was probably only getting one shot and he was going to make it count. He passed on other projects and tried his damnedest to make every shot in this movie memorable. And then Lionsgate buries the movie and what should have been Kitamura making a splash is cut off at the knees.
It's a fair point, and I agree that Kitamura's work here as director is well worth people's attention. (Barker thinks so too.) I suspect the focus on Barker is attributable simply to the fact that Barker is the one with the established fan base in America, which put him in a position to raise hell (if you'll pardon the expression) when Lionsgate dumped the film. If you're trying to generate a public outcry quickly, you have to work with whatever fan base you've got.

At least we now have Kitamura's preferred cut of the film in a format that does it justice. And who knows? Cult classic status on video sometimes jump-starts a career. Barker says in the commentary that he's outlined enough material for two sequels.
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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted February 17 2009 - 05:01 AM

It's not so much the "Barker/Kitamura got screwed over" bit as my own tunnel vision: My perspective on this film when it was coming out was "Ryuhei Kitamura's first American film", and my image of Barker was that he used to be interesting in that his horror stories were more sexually charged than the norm but that he was sort of a brand name of late, with more "Clive Barker Presents" than "By Clive Barker" going on, if you know what I mean. Just strikes me as funny, since I'd come at it from the opposite direction, and my review was all about Kitamura while seemingly everyone else's was about Barker.

(Well, okay, I did find the line in the review about Barker as a filmmaker being kind of odd, as it seems to suggest he was more hands-on than perhaps he was)
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#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 17 2009 - 05:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Seaver
(Well, okay, I did find the line in the review about Barker as a filmmaker being kind of odd, as it seems to suggest he was more hands-on than perhaps he was)
I was referring to Barker's career in general, and he has certainly been a filmmaker, as well as an author and painter. While I wouldn't claim that he was the principal filmmaker of MMT, his fingerprints are all over it -- which is not surprising when you consider that it's Barker's story, that Barker was involved with the film project long before Kitamura, and that Barker remained hands-on with the script even during filming, because the third act was being rewritten until the very end. (All this is covered in the commentary.)
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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   ChadMcCallum

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Posted February 25 2009 - 05:33 AM

I watched this last night and I loved it! Easily one of the best horror movies I've seen in a long time. Nice, creative deaths (best Ted Raimi death ever!) and the amount of blood on screen is impressive. It looks like they ran out of either time or money on a few of the CGI effects, but it was really only a couple of shots that didn't look great. I read the short story years ago but I didn't remember it. I bought the complete Books of Blood a while back and haven't gotten around to reading them yet but after seeing this they've been bumped up in in my reading queue.

I watched the Clive Barker featurette too and I had no idea he had painted so much. The man must spend all his time painting. I was taken aback by his voice though. He sounds like a 90 year old with throat cancer. I had no idea he had health problems. Its sad since he has such immense talent.

This is sure to be a cult classic and its too bad it didn't get the theatrical release it deserves but I'm glad the blu-ray got the treatment it deserves.

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 25 2009 - 06:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadMcCallum
I was taken aback by his voice though. He sounds like a 90 year old with throat cancer. I had no idea he had health problems.
He sounds much better on the commentary. That may just have been a bad day. Too many cigars, maybe?
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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Martin Henry

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Posted February 25 2009 - 12:11 PM

The Forrest Gump gag was the only thing I liked about the movie. That and Vinnie Jones. I know he takes some flack, but he's put a smile on my face with some of his 'performances'. He'd make a great Terminator...
"Sarah Connor? I'm The Terminator, bitch!"

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 25 2009 - 12:21 PM

I viewed this earlier in the year when it was playing on Fearnet. Not only did LionsGate drop the theatrical release but they also showed it for free on TV and the internet before a DVD release.

With that said, I think LionsGate made the right move because I found the movie to be very, very bad. I thought the acting was horrid and wasn't too thrilled with the gore, which seemed to be added in to make the SAW crowd come to the movie. I doubt they would have, which is why I think LionsGate made the right call by not pumping this into 3000 theaters.

This is coming from someone who doesn't care too much about Barker. Hated NIGHTBREED and I'm not overly fond of the HELLRAISER films, although the first one was okay.

#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Chris Joyner

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Posted February 25 2009 - 03:31 PM

I watched this movie a couple of nights ago and I was suprised by how much I enjoyed it. I found it to be refreshing, it is so much different than all of the recent horror movies. I'm mad it wasn't released in more theaters, I think it would've done well at the box office. I thought the Blu-ray looked great.

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 26 2009 - 03:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
wasn't too thrilled with the gore
Because it was too much or too little? (The version shown on Fearnet had much less than what's on this BD.)

Quote:
seemed to be added in to make the SAW crowd come to the movie. I doubt they would have
I agree this film isn't for the Saw crowd. I've only made it through the first of those films, and I find them off-putting but not frightening. This film is for Barker fans, and while you may not be one of them, they are numerous.

Quote:
I think LionsGate made the right call by not pumping this into 3000 theaters.
I never said anything about 3000 theaters. My intro suggested 1000. Even the original 100 would have been OK, if they'd picked theaters in major cities, like most limited releases. There's a difference between cutting your losses and deliberately burying a film.

But I should thank you for giving us such a classic example of one way in which studio executives make bad decisions -- i.e., by confusing personal taste with a dispassionate appraisal of the market.
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#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 26 2009 - 07:01 AM

You could be right about Fearnet but I'm not 100% certain. They usually show "R-rated, open matte" versions of films but this one here was advertised as being uncut and they did show it widescreen. The amount of gore wasn't really a problem with me since I'm a veteran of various Italian films that show real stuff. The problem I had with the gore here was the CGI, which I thought was pretty bad and cheap.

Another thing to remember though is that the guy who buried this film was also a producer on THE STRANGERS, which came out the same day as this. One could argue that he didn't want that film to lose money so he threw this one away. THE STRANGERS became a hit as it was the type that could bring in big crowds. This just didn't seem like that type of film to me and that's why I said I think LionsGate made the right call. I know many said LionsGate was trying to "clean" themselves up and get away from this type of film but that's been proven false since we got MY BLOODY VALENTINE, another SAW and more horror stuff from them. They've also dove back into the direct to DVD market.

To me is has to be something with this movie or those making it. Heck, even the press release for the film doesn't pump it up too much. Looking over what they sent it seems like they don't even want stores to stock it. Not to mention showing it for free before even trying to get rentals out of it.

#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 26 2009 - 08:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
THE STRANGERS, which came out the same day as this
Let me introduce you to the concept of fact-checking:

THE STRANGERS: released 5/30/08
MMT: released 8/1/08 (as noted at the top of my review); originally scheduled for release on 5/16/08 (as per Barker's commentary)

So the conflict with The Strangers, while given much currency on the internet, doesn't hold up to scrutiny. That's why you won't find it mentioned in my review (because I check my facts) or in Barker's lengthy account in the commentary.

Quote:
To me is has to be something with this movie or those making it.
Movie history is full of examples of films in which a studio had no faith that went on to become classics (Brazil is an obvious example) or cult classics (Hellboy or Donnie Darko come to mind). The comments in this thread alone indicate that your assessment is by no means the final word.
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#15 of 24 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted February 26 2009 - 11:23 AM

I had to add this to my NetFlix Q. Saw a preview on another movie, and i thought it looked pretty good!
I forgot the name of it, until i asked in another thread.
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#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 26 2009 - 12:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Let me introduce you to the concept of fact-checking:.

My bad. Makes you wonder why Barker is pointing the finger at THE STRANGERS in countless interviews since it was being released two weeks later and this film would have been out of theaters by that point.

Clive Barker was angry with the Lionsgate's treatment, believing that Lionsgate president Joe Drake is essentially shortchanging other people’s films in order to focus more attention on movies like “The Strangers,” where he received a producing credit: "[T]he politics that are being visited upon it have nothing to do with the movie at all. This is all about ego, and though I mourn the fact that ‘Midnight Meat Train’ was never given its chance in theaters, it’s a beautifully stylish, scary movie, and it isn’t going anywhere. People will find it, and whether they find it in midnight shows or they find it on DVD, they’ll find it, and in the end the Joe Drakes of the world will disappear."

Quote:
The comments in this thread alone indicate that your assessment is by no means the final word.

No doubt as it has already became a cult item with all the news around it.
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#17 of 24 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 26 2009 - 02:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
(The version shown on Fearnet had much less than what's on this BD.)
I can't imagine how much more violent the unrated cut is then. I saw it on FearNet and I thought that when the movie was violent, it was really violent. And to clarify, I'm a long time horror fan and probably 99% desensitized to onscreen violence.

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 26 2009 - 03:34 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
I can't imagine how much more violent the unrated cut is then. I saw it on FearNet and I thought that when the movie was violent, it was really violent. And to clarify, I'm a long time horror fan and probably 99% desensitized to onscreen violence.
Subjecting myself to my own standards of factual rigor, I should note that I didn't see the FearNet broadcast and was unable to get definitive information on what they showed. If someone who saw the FearNet broadcast can confirm that the BD has the same cut, I'm happy to be corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
Makes you wonder why Barker is pointing the finger at THE STRANGERS in countless interviews since it was being released two weeks later and this film would have been out of theaters by that point.
As I already said, that is not the explanation that Barker provides in his much longer account on the commentary. You are quoting old (and brief) accounts from the time when the film was first pulled from the release schedule. At that time, Drake was refusing even to take Barker's calls, and Barker was left to speculate on possible reasons. Also, it made a good sound bite. However, with the passage of time, it became obvious that using The Strangers as an explanation doesn't make sense. Hence, as noted in my review:

Quote:
To this day, Barker says, he still doesn't know what corporate scores were being
settled at the film's expense.
Seriously: Do you really think I didn't dig into every story I could find about this film before writing the review? I know the internet is full of people who sound off at will when they don't know what they're talking about, but by now I thought I'd manage to establish a reputation for not being one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
No doubt as it has already became a cult item with all the news around it.
The endorsement of someone of Guillermo del Toro's stature probably didn't hurt either.
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#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 26 2009 - 05:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
Subjecting myself to my own standards of factual rigor, I should note that I didn't see the FearNet broadcast and was unable to get definitive information on what they showed. If someone who saw the FearNet broadcast can confirm that the BD has the same cut, I'm happy to be corrected.

That would be pretty hard to tell because another thing Fearnet does is have a brief "intermission" to show a trailer in the middle of the movie. Perhaps Travis can correct me but I believe they also showed it with a Barker introduction at the start. I know they showed it for a month, pulled it for about three days and then put it back in their On Demand lineup. I also think it played online during Halloween. The Fearnet guide said it was uncut but again, they're not too trust worthy as they often show R-rated cuts (SAW movies, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD). Sometimes they spead up the end credits so again, it would be pretty hard to get an exact running time of what they showed.

Quote:
You are quoting old (and brief) accounts from the time when the film was first pulled from the release schedule. At that time, Drake was refusing even to take Barker's calls, and Barker was left to speculate on possible reasons. Also, it made a good sound bite. However, with the passage of time, it became obvious that using The Strangers as an explanation doesn't make sense.

You are correct here. Barker got me curious about the film but after viewing it I dropped the matter and really didn't read too much else into it. I had read three or four interviews with Barker pointing his finger but to me it was just him playing his "bitch game" again. Perhaps I'm off base here but I just never bought his original story and that pretty much effects my opinion with any newer story. You're correct that it's hard to seperate fact from internet rumor but a lot of people seemed to jump on the LionsGate/THE STRANGERS story and to me it just didn't make sense.

Quote:
Seriously: Do you really think I didn't dig into every story I could find about this film before writing the review? I know the internet is full of people who sound off at will when they don't know what they're talking about, but by now I thought I'd manage to establish a reputation for not being one of them.

I trust your opinion a lot more than I do Barker's. I certainly wasn't trying to say you were wrong and I'm pretty sure your reputation is very strong and I've told you countless times how much I respect your opinion even when we don't agree. I don't think anyone will ever know the truth so we have to take whichever story we want to believe and run with it. My low opinion on Barker and some of his comments make me believe he's a drama queen and a liar.

Quote:
The endorsement of someone of Guillermo del Toro's stature probably didn't hurt either.

It's funny but I thought the entire thing was a publicity move by the studio. Having been a horror fan all my life and reading countless magazines for 20+ years, the best thing to do is get horror fans into a "f*ck the studio" mind set. Why? Because horror fans always feel picked on by the major guys and they will go on the attack to support a film. I honestly thought that's what LionsGate was doing to build up interest in the film. The story spread like a wildfire and I'd bet more people heard about the film then than when the trailers were playing. Of course, this opinion changed after the studio posted the movie for free, which of course brought out all the bootleggers. The real head scratcher is how well is this going to rent and sell considering it's been shown on TV for free, online for free and various sites have the movie available to watch for free. Whatever the reason is for LionsGate it's certainly a strange one.

I believe I have a screener of this waiting for me back at my house and if so this little discussion has spiked my interest in listening to the commentary at least. I'm in the minority on the movie but it's doubtful I'll ever pay it another visit.
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#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 26 2009 - 06:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
I trust your opinion a lot more than I do Barker's.
As I've said several times now, my account is based on Barker's. What part of that isn't getting through?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Elliott
My low opinion on Barker and some of his comments make me believe he's a drama queen and a liar.
Barker has a temper and readily admits it. (He's in good company.) But a liar? No idea where that's coming from.

Anyone want to talk about the movie? Posted Image
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