The Midnight Meat Trainis a 2008 horror film based on Clive Barker 's 1984 short story of the same name , which can be found in Volume One of Barker's collectionBooks of Blood. The film follows a photographer who attempts to track down a serial killer dubbed the "Subway Butcher" and discovers more than he bargained for under the city streets.
The film was directed by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Bradley Cooper , Leslie Bibb , Vinnie Jones , and Brooke Shields . Its script was adapted by Jeff Buhler, the producer was Tom Rosenberg of Lakeshore Entertainment , and it was released on August 1, 2008.
Producer Joe Daley , a long time friend of Buhler's, brought the two writers together and helped develop the script, along with producers Anthony Diblasi and Jorge Saralegui, for their newly minted horror factory The Midnight Picture Company. As of this entry, The Midnight Picture Company was busy shootingBook of Blood, the next film adaptation from the anthology of short stories that spawnedMidnight Meat Train.
The film opens as a well dressed, barrel chested man stalks the late-night passengers of a subway train. He kills several people with a meat hammer and a meat hook . He dispatches his prey with unnatural strength. He wears a ring on his finger, adorned with an eight-pointed star. The film then introduces Leon ( Bradley Cooper ), a photographer who heads into the city's subway system at night to take photographs , and saves a woman from a group of men harassing her. The next day, he discovers the girl has gone missing. Leon is intrigued and begins to investigate newsreels about similar disappearances. His investigation leads him to a butcher named Mahogany ( Vinnie Jones ), whom he suspects has been killing subway passengers for over a hundred years.
Leon attempts to turn some of the photos he has taken of Mahogany in to the police, but they become suspicious of Leon's motives. Leon decides to take matters into his own hands and goes to the subway at midnight, where he witnesses the butcher killing several passengers and hanging them on meat hooks. Leon passes out on the subway floor after being attacked by the butcher who then strings him up like the other dead bodies. He passes out again when "something" begins to attack him and awakens the next morning in an abandoned subway platform with strange markings carved into his chest. Maya ( Leslie Bibb ), Leon's girlfriend, and her friend Jurgis ( Roger Bart ) examine the photos Leon has been taking of Mahogany, leading them to the killer's apartment. After breaking into the butcher's home, Jurgis is kidnapped. Maya goes to the police, but they will not listen to her. A police official, who seems to be involved with the unfolding conspiracy , directs the misguided Maya to a trip on the midnight train. Leon, unaware of Maya's involvement, decides to put an end to the butcher's crimes and heads to the meat packing plant Mahogany works in. Leon arms himself with a butcher's apron and several slaughterhouse knives.
Leon enters the train as Mahogany corners Maya. Leon attacks Mahogany and finally throws him out of the train. Eventually, they enter an underground cavern filled with bones and decomposing bodies. The train engineer enters the car and advises Leon and Maya to "Please, step away from the meat." The true purpose of the underground station is revealed as reptile-people enter the car and consume the bodies of the butcher's victims. As they exit the train, Leon and Maya discover they are in a station underneath city hall which is littered with the bones of hundreds of victims. Mahogany returns in a battered and bleeding state and charges at him, and Maya is tossed aside. Leon engages him a final time ending with Leon driving a sharpened bone through Mahogany's throat. Mahogany whispers with his dying breath, "Welcome," at which point Leon impales Mahogany's skull with a butcher knife . The train engineer explains to Leon that the reptile-people have always existed and the butcher's job is to feed them every night, in order to keep "the worlds separate". The engineer rips out Leon's tongue with the same superhuman strength as the butcher and eats it; then he forces Leon to watch as he kills Maya on an altar of corpses with one of the butcher's knives and rips out her still-beating heart. When the engineer is done, he tells Leon that he will become the new meat train butcher, replacing Mahogany.
In the final scene, the police official who was involved hands the train schedule to the new butcher, who wears a ring with the same eight-pointed star. The killer walks onto the midnight train and turns to reveal that he is a now mute Leon.