The Midnight Meat Train [Blu-Ray] Ryuhei Kitamura

The Midnight Meat Train [Blu-Ray] Ryuhei Kitamura
Denied a theatrical release of note — because, well, how many people would really go to the theatre to see something this nasty, obscure and hardcore vicious? — this most recent adaptation of a Clive Barker story is based on a short from his career-making Books Of Blood. And for the first time in a long time it doesn't totally suck. That's not to say that The Midnight Meat Train is a good film, or even a good horror film, but what it isn't is bland. Director Ryuhei Kitamura brings a highly stylized visual sensibility to the table that allows for a maximum of gory carnage without playing it so straight that the brutality becomes purely stomach turning or worse yet, fully desensitizes the audience. Make no mistake: Vinnie Jones beats the holy hell out of unsuspecting subway passengers with a meat hammer, which can be a little hard to watch at times, and that's just where the horror begins. The visual gags are pretty wild and inventive but some of the lighting choices bring out a distracting level of graininess, and the reverse is true of the darkly lit scenes where it's hard to make out much detail. That lack of detail also applies to the work of Bradley Cooper as the lead, Leon. It's a common problem with horror films: everyone not wielding a murderous device is sinfully boring. Who cares about this obsessive dumb ass taking a deeper look into darkness? Maybe an actor with a hint of personality could have made the scenes devoid of trains or blood work. Being a Barker tale, there's a great twist that takes the story way beyond your average slasher flick, but it's under-sold in favour of the easier to handle subway-bludgeoning concept. Highlights among the quality special features include an extensive interview with Barker about the movie and a tour of his extensive art gallery of a house, where he works on innumerable paintings, along with a very in-depth look at the process of creating and filming the spectacular death scenes called "Anatomy of a Murder Scene." There's also a feature on Vinnie Jones's character Mahogany and a fascinating audio commentary that plays out more like an interview between Clive Barker and Kitamura, which is full of gristly details for the hardcore faithful. (Maple)