Clive Barker's legions of horror fans have gotten their barbed-wire panties in a bunch. At issue is Lionsgate's release plans for their adaptation of Barker's short story, The Midnight Meat Train. Despite the story being a fan favorite, and a satisfying trailer (mmm...yuppie chops!) featuring the U.S. directing debut of Japanese horror maven Ryuhei Kitamura, new studio president Joe Drake bumped the movie from its May 15th date—which allowed The Strangers to clean up as the only R-rated horror option of the weekend. It was a curious strategy shift, to say the least, and not the least bit helped by a significant conflict of interest. Or as Deadline Hollywood Daily puts it, "Guess who was exec producer of The Strangers? Joe Drake." Fansite shocktillyoudrop.com, meanwhile, has since discovered the grim truth of what's become of Meat Train's remains:
Lionsgate is planning a limited 100 theater run of the Clive Barker adaptation on August 1st.
This move fulfills Lionsgate's contractual obligation with production entity Lakeshore to give it some sort of theatrical run. The plan is to subsequently release Meat Train quickly down the line (October?) for a DVD release.
Barker himself has released a statement encouraging his army of Barkerites—an easily excitable bunch instantly recognizable by the variety of sharp metal objects jutting out of their heads and their tendency to shout, "Blooood...yess....bloooood," wherever possible—to rise up: "This is exciting! I really think, this late in the day, that grassroots support for our movie could significantly improve our chances of reaching a much bigger audience theatrically. The picture is worth the effort, I believe." We'd caution that while the Lionsgate board is no stranger to intimidation—there was that infamous Rize strategy meeting in which David LaChapelle's clown-faced, krunking henchmen held the marketing department hostage until they promised to incorporate glitter-lettering on the posters—that sometimes, killing them with kindness is the best route in these matters. Taking a page from the TV playbook, perhaps sending in boxes and boxes of a significance-laden-item—say, in this case, cuts of meat (animal—not human!!)—might quickly make the studio reconsider, particularly after they run out of fridge room and the office starts smelling like week-old death. Just a thought.
- Barker Endorses Meat Train Fan Campaign [shocktillyoudrop.com]