Monday, December 15, 2008

Movies and such - the Midnight Meat Train

When I was young, I was tested and scored pretty high on the vocabulary comprehension test they gave at my school (and all of the English tests, but that's a story for a another time). Thus, I was fairly bored by the books we were allowed to check out of the public library. Kids books were very simple - See X verb Y. See X verb. X is adjective. And so on.
So my mom talked to the librarian, and we found out that I could have an adult library card if my parents signed a form, and there was a restriction on how many books I could take out of the library. I suppose they were wary of some kid losing or damaging a bunch of what were probably at the time $15-20 hardcover books.

I found that I had quite a voracious appetite for books. I could read a few hundred pages a day without thinking about it.
My progression of knowledge was slow - I started with some of the books I saw around the house, mostly Steven King. This progressed to more King books - Night Shift will always give me terrors. I would love to get the rights to I am the Doorway. There is one hell of a movie in there.
IT was a shattering experience - we are talking a general sense of being unsettled after reading that book. I had to stop reading it at points - it was just too intense.
Time progressed. The librarian recommended a number of books...I fell in love with Asimov's Foundation series - another book that forever changed my ideas on some things. Harlot's Ghost was another mind-f. Some real concepts in there that just...wow. It was a historical fiction book, quite long.
Eventually, I was in my teens and would have discussions with adults about books. A friend of the family told me about a "new author", Clive Barker. I was already familiar with Clive from the film Hellraiser, and was aware of his books from Fangoria Magazine.
I thought I was pretty insulated to horror - after all, what could be worse than IT? I could not have been more wrong.
On a trip to New York, on the way to a horror convention, going by train, I read the story the Midnight Meat Train. I was legitimately freaked out. When it was time to get back on the train and go home after the show, I did not want to get back on the train. Barker had a way with words, touching on emotions in a masterful way that crawled inside your body and mind and twisted it all up.

Over the years, I heard rumblings of a film adaption, dreading the day it would be released. At times, it was not as scary - I saw visions of a 1990s Fox-TV film quality adaption, starring Wayne Knight as the main character. A comic book adaption of the tale reminded and cemented the horror of the tale in my mind.

Cut to this decade. The rights get coughed up again, again we hear Clive talking about the movie - and then a trailer in the theater. This was going to be a movie to see! I felt the original dread again, just watching the images of the trailer and knowing what was in store (assuming they didn't screw up the whole thing).
So the trailer pops up with no release date. And we're waiting...and waiting...and waiting for this movie. Then word on the net - dumped film! Only released to a dozen or so theaters in the Midwest. Then we hear that it is going to be exclusively released on the local cable system's horror channel! After the research I have been doing about getting distribution for the horror film I am working on, I can feel the despair of the filmmakers at being dealt this hand. It's shitty - but it is a business. Anyone who wants to work on movies has to remember that. Sometimes you can make art - but a lot of time you have to deal with the realities of life when trying to get your vision out there.

I nearly missed the window on this damn thing. I have the correct cable system to see the film. But as I have aged, I have found that there is a certain...immediacy that needs to be followed when there is a new media event. If I don't see a movie opening weekend, chances are I will not see it in a theater. If I buy a DVD and don't watch it the first night I have it, it might be months before I am in the mood to see it again. I would love to know why this is the case, but I have not yet found the answer. My hypothesis at this time is that I have learned to let things go. In the past, I used to feel a lot of stress about getting things done at certain times. If a movie was out on a Friday, we had to see it that Friday. I can't tell you how many horror movies we begged my dad to take us to on opening night, for an 8 o' clock show, which, if you can imagine, has one of the liveliest crowds you will ever see a film with. My preference now is to wait six weeks and see the movie in the last possible showings, when there is only one other person (or couple) in the theater who really wants to see the film too...and on cue, here comes the people who really wanted to go out and eat, but instead have done to the movie theater to talk to each other during a loud-as-shit horror film.
ANNNYYYWAY, tangents aside, I looked at the On Demand menu and saw there were three days left for the film to play. I grabbed the wife, as she had also read and been terrified by the book, and sat down to watch it.

The movie was pretty f'n good.
The acting was really good. Bradley Cooper, who was previously on Alias and is fairly memorable as the asshole fiancee of the girl Owen Wilson wound up with in Wedding Crashers, played the main role.
I don't really want to discuss the plot of the film or anything. It is a film that, if you are not aware of anything about it, I would prefer you experience for yourself.
I will say that there were some elements different from the original story.
One plot point was not that clear to me in the film but was much more clear in the book, but it should not hurt the viewer who has not read the book.
VERY highly recommended.

No comments: