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Literature / The Midnight Meat Train

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A horror short story by Clive Barker, later adapted into a Slasher Movie by Ryuhei Kitamura. It was a part of the first volume of the Books of Blood.

In the story Leon Kaufman makes a mistake when he falls asleep on a train and wakes up to find himself caught up in something he had no clue existed. All beneath the streets of New York City.


The Midnight Meat Train provides examples of

  • An Odd Place to Sleep: While maybe a train isn't odd to some, Leon could have avoided the plot wholesale by simply waiting to go home to fall asleep.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Secret Fathers of New York have kept their existence a secret in this way. Not to mention their deal kind of is one too.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: After killing Mahogany, Leo is bound to serve as the new Butcher.
  • Big Applesauce: The evil conspiracy to keep a city prospering by feeding flesh to elders who serve something worse, of course it's in New York City.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending can be interpreted as having one by a sufficiently twisted reader. Sure, the protagonist has gone insane, had his tongue torn out, and is forced to kill people for the immortals who secretly rule New York... but he finally loves the city.
  • Body Horror: How else would you describe a story about a butcher that kills people on a subway and carves them up like meat to serve humanoid abominations?
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: When we see the "thing" the Elders serve.
  • Deal with the Devil: The ancients' immortality is ensured by the human flesh (they are themselves degenerate humans), and said immortality is needed for them to continually serve the Eldritch Abomination they made a deal with so New York would prosper.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The "thing" which the Elders appease.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Elders. And the thing the Elders appease when not eating people fillets.
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  • Gorn: Oh hell yes. Barker gives us the bloody descriptions.
  • Human Resources: Well, the Elders have to eat something!
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Elders.
  • Legacy Character: The Butcher is a mantle that will be passed on.
  • Mind Screw: Not really too much directly.
  • Mr. Exposition: One of the Elders helps communicate the story to Leon.
  • Sinister Subway: Well, duh.
  • The Speechless: Leon becomes this after the Elder rips out his tongue.
  • Spoiler Title: While not specific, you should know going in there is going to be meat on this very train.
  • Subways Suck: When you can get killed or butchered on it, yes it is.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The true fathers of New York City need to be fed to make sure NYC still prospers.

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