Damaging Tim's blog cred with each new post.

It's frustrating being a horror movie geek in the saccharine world of 21st century America. I've loved horror movies since I was a kid and I'll probably always love them...but I have to admit the genre isn't what it used to be. Most horror films that have come out this decade have been either tepid remakes of good films or safe PG-13 garbage. There are various reasons for the down turn in "quality" horror films but I place the blame primarily on the storm troopers of political correctness - those among us who are intent on crushing the fun out of anything they deem "offensive" or "dirty".

All name calling and finger pointing aside, just know that I think the horror genre is currently in a sad state. Because of this I get extra excited when I hear about a an upcoming genre film that actually sounds good. Such was the case with Midnight Meat Train. Granted, the title sounds like a gay porno but the film comes with a strong pedigree (at least in my mind). It's based on a Clive Barker short story and the author himself approved the final draft. It was also directed by Ruyhei Kitamura, a really amazing Japanese director. To top it off it got a hard R rating which guarantees it will at least have loads of blood and gore.

I first heard about Midnight Meat Train last fall and was instantly excited. It was originally set for release this past May but, as the release date approached, publicity for the film slowed down quite a bit and eventually stopped altogether. Being that I have the attention span of a desk chair I quickly forgot about the film. Then, this past Wednesday, I was checking the show times at my local dollar theater and noticed Midnight Meat Train was playing there this week. That struck me as odd since I didn't remember ever hearing about it being shown in normal theaters. Out of sheer curiosity I looked it up on IMDB and discovered something interesting about the film.

Apparently it's production company (Lionsgate) never actually released it in first run theaters - it went straight to dollar theaters on August 1st. To top it off they only released it in 100 theaters total. At first I assumed this meant it was terrible and Lionsgate didn't want people to see it; much like when movie studios decide to release a film straight to video. However, I checked around on different web sites and found the audience response to be fairly positive; it also received decent reviews from some critics. It even managed to gross $32,000 which seems like chump change until you consider it had no publicity at all (Lionsgate literally stopped ALL publicity at the beginning of 2008), it only opened in 100 theaters nationwide, the theaters it WAS playing in were charging one or two dollars for admission and it had only been out a week. All things considered that's a pretty decent performance.

Out of sheer curiosity I continued to search the internet for stories explaining why Lionsgate would seemingly shoot themselves in the foot like that. It turns out that the studio had a change in management at the beginning of the year and the new studio head decided he wanted to take the company in a more "mainstream" direction. From what I can tell, his idea of going mainstream is throwing all the movies produced before he came on board under a bus and green lighting garbage like Shitty Generic Action Movie starring Nicolas Cage.

Lionsgate was originally founded by Robert Altman (Yes, THE friggin' Robert Altman) and was known for releasing independent and fringe films major studios wouldn't touch such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Dogma, Cabin Fever and the Oscar winning liberal circle-jerk Crash. The Lionsgate film roster has always been a mixed bag but they were responsible for releasing some of the best contemporary horror movies of the past decade. It's sad that that era appears to be ending because some douche wants to make a ton of money.

At heart I'm a horror movie fan boy, I'll admit it. I'm sure that when I'm 74 I'll still be getting a nerd-rection over the latest Alexandre Aja film. It just sucks that more and more studios, even the independents, are shying away from sex and nihilistic violence because it's "not profitable" and "immoral". That stuff's my bread and butter.


P.S. I forgot to mention that I went to see Midnight Meat Train on Thursday. Was there ever any doubt that I wouldn't? It's pretty good, not great. It stays faithful to the source material and it's drenched in blood from the get go. If you're in the mood to see people get their heads smashed in with a meat tenderizer and then vivisected you should see it while it's out or rent it in October.


Tim Mathis said…
Blog cred is for the pathetically pathetic.

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