This past week B-D reporter Jeff Otto got on the phone with horror legend Clive Barker to talk about the DVD/Blu-ray release of The Midnight Meat Train, which is now available at retailers everywhere. During the chat Barker revealed to B-D that he’d like to turn Meat Train into a trilogy – and if all fails tell more of the story in book form. You can read all of his ideas by reading on. What did you guys think of Meat Train, write your own reviews here and tell all of B-D what you thought.
Despite strong praise from the horror community at large, MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN stumbled into theaters last fall with an inexplicable release strategy from Lionsgate that saw the release light up about 100 dollar (these days they might be two dollar) theaters across the nation.
A few months removed from the fiasco, MEAT TRAIN is finally got a proper release last month in the form of an unrated special edition DVD and Blu-ray. Now fans who don’t live near a bargain house finally have the chance to check it out in the proper gory version intended by Clive Barker and director Ryuhei Kitamura.
Although Barker quite vocally spoke out against the way Lionsgate handled the release of MEAT TRAIN last year, he seems willing to let bygones be bygones at this point. During this last part of our exclusive interview with Barker, we spoke about the MEAT TRAIN release, the DVD and his plans for continuing the story.
“The DVD seems to be finding its way out into the world, so fingers crossed,” Barker tells Bloody-Disgusting. “I think it’s a movie that would have played very well on the big screen. It’s frustrating as hell that we see less wonderful movies with 4,000 screen releases and we got 100 screens, most of them in those one dollar theaters.”
“The upside is that the DVD will be the defining version and its the version with all the blood [back] in. Ted Raimi loses both his eyes, not just one. All of that was MPAA cuts of course. Apparently it was fine for America to see Ted Raimi lose one eye, but not two.”
Barker has spoken in the past of the possibility of a MEAT TRAIN trilogy. The lack of a proper theatrical release probably makes it a long shot at this point, but the writer says he still has interest in returning to that world. “In terms of the trilogy idea, that’s always been in the back of my head,” Barker tells BD. “Even back when I wrote the original story, [I thought] there is a bigger mythology here. We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. At one point I even contemplated the idea of doing an entire novel which [would] talk about the underworld, the underbelly of America. So there’s always been that [feeling] that maybe this is one I could go back to. Most of the stories in the Books of Blood are self-contained.”
“[It is] one with left a lot of mythological questions unanswered. Who were these creatures? What real part did they have in the building of New York or New Amsterdam? There were so many interesting questions which I thought could be prequel and sequel questions. That had always been in my head, even when I first wrote the original story.”
If nothing else, Barker may return to MEAT TRAIN in book form, but for now the third book of ABARAT is consuming his writing time. “I certainly feel as though there is enough in my head to want to revisit it,” says Barker. “But I don’t want to do that until I’ve got more ABARAT done. I’m about five or six weeks from delivering ABARAT Three. This has been a motherfucker book, just because it’s the middle part of five and its the place where all the roads cross.”
Currently Barker is focusing on the ABARAT book, painting and guiding young filmmakers on adaptations of his work through his Seraphim Films production company. Barker says he does plan to direct again in the future, but he hasn’t yet decided what that project will be. One possibility is TORTURED SOULS, based on the author’s novelette and figure series. “I very much hope we can make that work somewhere down the line,” says Barker.
SOULS will be a much more costly project than Seraphim’s smaller BOOK OF BLOOD adaptations like MEAT TRAIN or DREAD. For now, it remains in the contemplative stages. “I think [TORTURED SOULS] is a ways off,” says Barker. “Where we’re having luck right now is with these cheaper movies. Nothing over $10 million.”
Barker is also working on some TV projects, but he is currently sworn to secrecy as to the details. “They are things we hope will go in the television arena,” says Barker. “Pretty much for cable, very intense horror stuff.”
To finish off our lengthy chat, I asked Barker about his introduction to the 1998 edition of BOOKS OF BLOOD when he said he said “[I] don’t think the man who wrote them is alive in me any more.” With MEAT TRAIN drawing praise as possibly the best Barker movie since HELLRAISER and countless BOOKS OF BLOOD in various stages of production at SERAPHIM, I asked him if he still felt that quote was true.
Barker offered clarification: “The Clive Barker who was innocent enough to get on the train and end up in Far Rockaway (the incident from which he drew the basis of MEAT TRAIN), that Clive is long since gone. But the Clive Barker that likes to scare the fuck out of people, that Clive Barker is WAY alive.”