One director that I hold a special place in my heart for is Ryuhei Kitamura, who’s VERSUS is one film that really got me into Japanese horror before it became “cool”. When I found out he was coming to America to helm an adaptation to Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train I freaked out. This past weekend was another great moment in my life as I had the distinct pleasure of talking one-on-one with the director about the film, which Lionsgate will release in 2008. Read on for the story.
After blasting Japan with handful of fantastic films (Versus, Alive, Godzilla 2000) Kitamura talks a bit about why he chose to come make an American film now. “ I was looking for the right project for the past couple years,” he continues, “I read 50-60 scripts and I knew I’d have to be very picky about it, something I could put my stamp on it and make it my movie. I was looking but couldn’t find it and was actually desperate last year.” Kitamura tells us that the reason he picked this project is because he picked up the original Japanese book back in 1987 and has been a fan for over 20 years. “I read it and was surprised, it was good,” he tells us.
With Hideo Nakata (The Ring Two) and Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge, The Grudge 2) making slow, atmospheric films, we wanted to know what make Kitamura want to do a gore film, “What’s the point in doing something similar to someone else? I am not interested in that idea.”
Another thing Kitamura talked a bit about was planning for the future and more sequels, especially since they have an iconic new horror character, “[The] first conversation I had with Clive [Barker] was about this… [we had to] keep in mind this endless world of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Ash, Leatherface – that’s it,” he continues, “after them I don’t need any new super cool horror icons, Jeepers Creepers a little, but I don’t keep on buying.” So what he’s trying to say is that there aren’t many horror icons and they needed to find something special for him, which is creating a special look and weapon, “For 20 years we don’t have this new horror icon. We talk a lot about what costume hell be wearing, what weapon he (Mahogany) has. Clive and I designed a custom hammer for him.”
When creating a new horror icon, you have to be thinking sequel, “if it came up (a sequel) and was good,” he tells B-D, “but I don’t like doing the same thing again and again. If I do a sequel I’d need something new to the storyline.”
Watch for MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN in 2008.