The Midnight Meat Train

Subscribe to Bradley Cooper alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 7th August 2008

Box Office USA: $34.4k

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production compaines: GreeneStreet Films, Lakeshore Entertainment, Lions Gate Films, Midnight Picture Show

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew


Producer: , Joseph Daley,

Starring: Bradley Cooper as Leon Kaufman, Vinnie Jones as Mahogany, Brooke Shields as Susan Hoff, Leslie Bibb as Maya, Roger Bart as Jurgis, Ted Raimi as Randle Cooper, Peter Jacobson as Otto, Barbara Eve Harris as Detective Lynn Hadley, Stephanie Mace as Leigh Cooper, Tony Curran as Driver, Quinton Jackson as Guardian Angel

The Midnight Meat Train Movie Review

Although the title sounds like the punch line to a crude joke ("...and they called it the midnight meat train!"), The Midnight Meat Train is in fact based on an early Clive Barker short story. The film is perhaps best known (at least in Barker fan circles) as a sterling example of what happens when studio politics gets in the way of filmmaking. While The Midnight Meat Train had a sizable budget and an edgy, young director (Japanese impresario Ryuhei Kitamura of Versus (a hyperactive zombie flick) fame), the movie was unceremoniously dumped into a hundred-odd budget theatres (quelle horror!) where maybe a hundred-odd people saw it. Maybe. The reasons this sad fate befell The Midnight Meat Train are legion, but most Barker fans (as well as Barker himself) seem to agree it had everything to do with infighting at Lionsgate. Whether the film was dumped due to internal politics or whether it was because Lionsgate no longer had faith in the picture, The Midnight Meat Train, despite its ridiculous title, is a decent horror flick. Slick and well-shot, it easily could have played first run theaters and may even have turned a profit.

Closely following Barker's original story (found in volume one of his Books of Blood collection), The Midnight Meat Train concerns a spate of subway disappearances. It seems a serial killer ("The Butcher" aka Mahogany) is offing commuters unlucky enough to be riding the late night trains he lurks on. Told he needs to kick his photos up a notch if he wants to be respected, photographer Leon (played by Bradley Cooper), heads into the bowels of the city looking for kicks. He finds them but he also stumbles upon The Butcher and begins a one-man quest to capture the killer.

As is typical with this sort of fare, logic seems to take a backseat when the story begins in earnest. After Leon witnesses Mahogany slaughter several passengers on a train (and hang them up to bleed like so many sides of beef), his disbelieving girlfriend changes her mind and decides (with a friend in tow) to break into the seemingly superhuman killer's apartment. What quick thinking! Sure enough, it ends in gore. But what had most audiences howling was the movie's outrageous ending (consistent with the original short story) that throws a Lovecraft-ian spin on the proceedings. It seems that Mahogany is supplying meat to... well, you'll have to find out yourself, but know that it involves prosthetics and weird contact lenses.

The Midnight Meat Train's cast is on par with the source material. Bradley Cooper is suitably distressed and obsessed, though his character is awfully thin. Leslie Bibb, playing his girlfriend Maya, is similarly simplistic. The serial killer, Mahogany, is played wordlessly by Vinnie Jones and it's one of his finest performances. He appears not only very threatening but perfectly monstrous. The images of him wielding his giant butcher hammer in the train's flickering lights are the film's best. Helmer Kitamura does a nice job creating an eerie atmosphere (this is not only a very clean "bad" city but a nearly unpopulated one) and the gore (most likely the draw for horror flicks fans) is CGI but well finished. It's just a shame that the final revelatory monster mash is so flawed on a technical level.

The Midnight Meat Train is an effortless but perfectly acceptable little horror film. It's glossier and more nuanced than Lionsgate's Saw franchise and while skimpy on characterization and plot, it should please gorehounds and Barker fans alike. Certainly nothing to abandon in those dreaded dollar theatres.

Also on the train: Cheesecake.


Subscribe to Bradley Cooper alerts


The Midnight Meat Train Rating

" Weak "


More Bradley Cooper

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...

Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...


HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...

Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...