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Film / The Midnight Meat Train

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The Film of the short story by Clive Barker made in 2008 by Ryuhei Kitamura. In it, Leon Kauffman, a photographer, is attempting to find the "real" New York City. He begins to delve into the city's inner "darkness", and while there, discovers a monstrous serial killer roaming the subways — and then he meets his boss.


The Midnight Meat Train provides examples of

  • Adaptation Expansion: The short story takes place over a very short period of time: Leon complains about the city in narration, has his coffee spilled in a diner, reads about the "Subway Slasher", and the next day is trapped in a subway car with him — cue climax. The movie pads out the story to build suspense and give Leon more character development.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: In order to keep the creatures secret everyone who knows of them plays their part.
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  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Leon becomes the new Butcher at the end.
  • Artistic License: The New York City subway is depicted as naming its routes by color (i.e. "The Green Line"). In reality, that is not the case; instead, while NYC subway lines are divided by colors, they are further divided into either letters or numbers, which is what they're generally referred to by.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The conspiracy behind Mahogany and his butchering of subway passengers is to ensure that the evil entities living underneath the city are given regular human sacrifices and keeping the rest of the population safe from their hunger.
  • Big Applesauce: Ancient conspiracy feeding inhuman monsters is located in New York City.
  • Big "NO!": Two right after each other, one where Leon sees Maya on the train, and one where she sees the train car full of corpses.
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  • Blood from the Mouth: Mahogany bleeds this way during the fight.
  • Body Horror: Mahogany. He cuts weird, fleshy nodules that look like barnacles off of himself and keeps them in jars filled with some kind of fluid. It's implied that this is some kind of deterioration from being The Butcher. From the number of jars and the almost routine way he does it without feeling any pain, he's been doing it for a while.
  • Brick Joke: The pre-credits scene in the film shows a subway murder by a man in a suit that we assume is Mahogany. After what happens to Leon, just before the end of the movie, we see it again, and realize that it is, of course, Leon, not Mahogany.
  • The Butcher: Mahogany. This is even his title.
  • The Cameo: The Japanese supermodel who Leon rescues from some thugs and Mahogany kills is named NorA, and was in Kitamura's previous (and final one made in Japan, as of this writing) movie, LoveDeath.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The film begins as a Slasher-esque story about a musclebound maniac who murders people on a midnight subway train. The protagonist eventually defeats him, only to discover that the killer was part of a city-wide conspiracy to deliver human sacrifices to the indescribable terrors that live underground. He's forced to become the new Butcher and continue the cycle.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Maya at the end, the train conductor cutting her heart out of her chest while she is still wide awake. The heart is still beating afterwards too.
  • Death by Racism: Rare nonwhite-on-white example. A Black Panther harasses Mahogany for his resemblance to Forrest Gump, and is killed shortly afterwards.
  • Death Glare: Leon at the art gallery staring at the picture of Mahogany in the meat-packing plant, and then the two of them at each other just before the final fight scene.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The conductor is revealed to be in on the whole plot.
  • Downer Ending: The Butcher is defeated! Oh, but, Maya's dead, Leon is the new butcher, and this is all much bigger and much scarier than you can ever understand. You work for us now.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Elders.
  • Eye Scream: We get to see eyes leaving the socket as it gets hit with a hammer.
  • Gorn: Oh hell yes. The murders, naturally, but also a long and detailed scene showing Mahogany stripping the corpses. That is, cutting off their hair, removing their teeth, eyes, and nails, and hanging them on hooks. Remember that this is also, essentially, what actual butchers do to actual dead animals.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Mahogany's motivation for not killing Leon right away, it would seem.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Almost every wound inflicted in this film results in showers of blood.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Anyone who works for the Elders, apparently. They are doing it for the better good of all.
  • Implacable Man: Mahogany. Having been The Butcher for so long has inflicted gruesome Body Horror upon him, but left him with the ability to shrug off all but the most life-threatening injuries and superhuman strength.
  • Legacy Character: The Butcher is a role that will be passed on.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Butcher tends not to leave his victims in one piece.
  • Made of Plasticine: The killer's meat tenderizer can do pretty much anything, up to and including decapitation while leaving the head intact.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: The Butcher dresses impeccably when going about his work.
  • Mind Screw: Not really, but given the vast amount of backstory that must exist but is left unexplained, it can be fairly confusing.
  • Mr. Exposition: The conductor, if only because he's the only one who explains anything.
  • Necessarily Evil: Mahogany and the conspiracy isn't butchering people on the subway for the fun of it. They're necessary human sacrifices to protect the rest of the city from the evil gods that dwell below.
  • Police are Useless: ...because they're in on it!
  • P.O.V. Cam: Several times, from the victim's point of view. Including post-decapitation once.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: The line of choice being "I've got a train to catch."
  • Pretty in Mink: A model wears a fur coat. She's one of the first on-screen victims, but she's portrayed as unlucky, not bad.
  • Rain of Blood: Usually whenever the Butcher kills someone.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Once Leon becomes obsessed with "the Butcher", his wife walks in to discover what looks like a stalker shrine of pictures.
  • Sinister Subway: Well, duh, people are getting killed in it. During Mahogany's second kill scene, the husband is busy reassuring his wife that the subway is perfectly safe, and that those stories are all outdated.
  • Spoiler Title: The last track on the soundtrack CD is called "Leon The Butcher".
  • Technically a Smile: The wicked little grin Mahogany gives Leon on the train.
  • Tongue Trauma: Leon has his tongue torn out and eaten.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: New York City is a part of a huge conspiracy of monsters!

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