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Unrated Director's Cut



War and Peace

Stand by Me

Midnight Meat Train, The


  • HK Version (based on R-Rated)
  • Unrated Director's Cut
Release: Aug 12, 2010 - Author: Jason - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB
The movie's history of censorship and release policies is at least equally interesting as "The Midnight Meat Train"'s (an adaption of a short story written by Clive Barker) plot.
America's rating agency Motion Picture Assosiation of America ("MPAA"), HAD to hate director Ryûhei Kitamura's first cut (his first US-movie by the way). The accomplished director (known for movies like "Azumi" or "Versus") [who is rather a specialist for lenghty scenes with steady shots without any cuts than for frantic scene-cuts] matched Barker's (a regular guest and consultant on the set) ideas for a movie adaptaion, especially concerning the used amount of blood - 2 facts that didn't work out too well for the ratings. The movie had to be submitted 7 (!!) times to the MPAA (always re-edited) to get the R-Rating (absolutely necessary to make the movie's financial success possible).
Unfortunately, the movie bombed at the box office but this was not due to a lack of interest but the result of the movie's lack of promotion. After a change of leadership at Lions Gate (who are responsible for "The Midnight Meat Train"'s release) when former president Peter Block was replaced by Joe Drake, latter didn't want to support movies from the horror genre anymore - the movie therefore received almost no promotion and was released in only 100 "Dollar-Theatres" (cinemas where watching a movie only costs 1 dollar); the movie "The Horsemen" with Dennis Quaid suffered from a similar problem. Therefore it was impossible for "The Midnight Meat Train" to gross enough money to break even with the production costs of about 15. million dollars, let alone make some profit. Primarily the producers must have focused on any evaluation at all - no matter how bad it in fact was - to be able to use these statistics for selling the license to foreign countries for a high price.
Ironically Drake's attitude towards horror movies changed pretty fast and it showed that Lions Gate were able to achieve financial success with horror movies like "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" or "The Haunting in Connecticut". Unfortunately this was no help at all for "The Midnight Meat train".

As is usual for Lions Gate, the movie was released on DVD in it's original (about 3 minutes longer) version as "Unrated Director's Cut". This version was - as far as we know - released worldwide and - as far as we know - without any additional censorship. Except for...

....Germany, where the movie hasn't even been released.

....Asia, finally leading to our report.
As we already mentioned, the Thai DVD which is based on the Unrated version contains about 2 minutes of censored scenes - which is not too uncommon for Thailand, movies are often shortened (especially when they contain too explicit sex or gore scenes). The Hong Kong version, however, is a big surpirze: not only is it based on the (already shortened) R-Rated Theatrical version - it was additionally shortened (about 3 1/2 minutes) and therefore received a pretty gentle CAT II-Rating!
This version is especially interesting because you can (despite the additional censorship) obviously recognize many of the R-Rating alterations (such as digital retouching of blood, alternative material or framecuts). Above all things the ending took a punishment. The cuts made by the Chinese renting agency are easy to point out, since they were made in a very "filthy" way (the cuts mostly start in the middle of the action, then the scene continues, again in the middle of the action; you can also HEAR the cuts). In spite of it all the movie remains a very bloody one in all of its different versions - you can never talk about a "children's version" that would be appropriate for the morning programme - but the movie's actual hardship can only be experienced in the Unrated Director's Cut.

The time designations refer to the Hong Kong Version.
Any additional differences in time result from rounding up or down to half or full seconds as well as minor shortened or extended scenes where the difference in time does not result from censorship (e.g. errors in the master-tape), lasting less than a second. These scenes will not be mentioned in this report, since they are irrelevant for our matters.

This is a comparison between the Chinesische Hong Kong version (Category II) released by Edko Films and the US Unrated Director's Cut released by Lionsgate.

Running time of the HK version:1:36:22 (1:89:03 without credits)
Running time of the Director's Cut:1:42:51 (1:35:33 without credits)

45 cut scenes including violence = 5 min. 10 sec.
8 alternative depictions of violence
1 cut sex scene = 11,5 sec.
9 cut plot-scenes = 1 min. 3,5 sec.
3 alternative plot-scenes
Alternative depiction of violence
The first censorship already takes place in the pre-title-sequence (it is probably attributable to the R-Rated version): When Leon beats his victim (lying off camera) with a hammer, in the Director's Cut version a lot of blood splashes all over the place (which is not even too good to see because of the darkness); in the HK-version there is no blood.
Also, he hits the victim once more in the DC - a lot of blood splashes in the camera.
1 sec.

Randle's back of the head bursts open because of the hammer blows, his eyes come out of their sockets, his head is slung to the side. Leigh and his companion are dashed with blood, Leigh screams out. One of Randle's eyes flies to the camera and rebounds from it; in another shot (still including a huge amount of blood) he slowly slumps to the ground while Mahogany suddenly appears behind him, emotionless. A lot of blood and pieces of human meat stick on his hammer (all these scenes are shot in slow motion).
20,5 sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
Mahogany stabs the companions crotch with a meat hook. In the Director's Cut, blood splashes from the wound. In the HK-version there's no blood.
No difference in time!

HK-version:Director's Cut:

The companion crawls across the floor, following Mahogany. He grabs hold of his leg and pulls himself up. Mahogany turns around and hits the companion's face with his hammer, resulting in a bloody wound.
Due to reasons of continuity, the beginning of the next sequence (Mahogany looking down to the man for a short time, then turning back to Leigh) was cut out as well.
4,5 sec.

Leigh crawls away from Mahogany a little longer.
3 Sec.

Leigh is pulled back by Mahogany (shown in a POV shot) while desperately trying to get hold of something on the blood-smeared floor.
7,5 sec.

The following cut was done very well: Leigh's head does not (as in the HK-version) directly roll over the floor but at first twists around for a while; according to the scene the images are more and more blurred, some blood drips into Leigh's eyes. Then Mahogany lunges out to hit her again - she tries to secure herself with her hands.
4,5 sec.

The camera zooms out and you get to see that the events were only a reflection in one of Leigh's eyes. Her head lies in a huge puddle of blood, a few metres away from her body. She still gasps a little and even her arms move now and then. Mahogany appears, calmly passes the corpse, and puts his hammer on side.
18,5 sec.

Alternative plot-scene
In the Director's Cut, the movie cuts to Leon (seen from the side) way earlier; the HK-version equates the time - Leon can be seen a little longer from the front.
No difference in time!

HK-version:Director's Cut:

Cut plot-scene
Leon follows Mahogany a little longer and takes some pictures of him.
10,5 sec.

The black guy pulls back his hand after Mahogany smashed it with the hammer; there's some blood on the seat.
A few frames

The black guy wrestles with Mahogany and says that he would shove Mahogany's hammer up his ass. The engineer then shoots through his head in slow motion; the bullete comes out near his eye (resulting in a bloody wound) while the camera follows the bullet's way back through the head. The black guy first falls to his knees, then to the ground.
12,5 sec.

Cut sex-scene
Leon kisses Mayas butt, then they start to have sex (doggystyle) a little earlier.
11,5 sec.

Cut plot-scene
Maya peers at the photos a little longer and then says that she wouldn't have a problem with him eating meat, since she also eats meat all the time.
8 sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
Mahogany hits the two passengers with his hammer off camera. In the Director's Cut, every hit results in a little fountain of blood - contrary to the HK-version. Also, there's more blood sticking on the hammer.
Furthermore, Mahagony (in the Director's Cut) hits them three times.
0,5 sec.

HK-version:Director's Cut:

The whole scene of Mahogany manufacturing the corpses into "well-hung and consumable" meat: Teeth are drawn with meticulous precision, nails and hair are cut off. In the end, he stabs a meathook through the foot, ties the feet, and hangs the corpses up in the subway.
Then there's a cut to Leon who takes some pictures of these events.
88,5 sec.

Cut plot-scene
Something enters the compartment in the background. Leon hangs headlong from the pole while the creature approaches him (POV-shot).
10 sec.

The creature pulls his claws over Leon's naked body in an additional sequence. Leon screams with fear.
0,5 sec.

Again an additional sequence of the monster's claws being pulled over Leon's body.
0,5 sec.

Maya walks longer through the compartment with the hanged bodies. Jurgis (who is not dead yet) notices her and talks to her shakily; Maya startles and screams out.
21,5 sec.

Alternative plot-scene
When Maya kneels down to Jurgis, it is shown a little different in the Director's Cut (since the following scene differs from the R-Rated version).
The HK-version's scene is slightly longer.
1 sec.

HK-version:Director's Cut:

In the Director's Cut now follows the scene where Leon tries to get into the train. This scene is shown later in the HK-version.
The shot of Maya and Jurgis begins a little earlier; Maya gets up and tries to get Jurgis off the meathook.
5 sec.

A shot of Jurgis' feet while Maya still tries to get him down; she fails, resulting in him falling back down - blood splashes all over the place. The following sequence of Jurgi screaming in pain begins slightly earlier.
2,5 sec.

Cut plot-scene
Jurgis looks towards the passagedoor through which Mahogany approaches him (off camera).
3 sec.

Alternative plot-scene
The sequence of Maya levelling the weapon at Mahogany before firing the first shot is shown a little different in both versions. The sequence is a little longer in the HK-version.
0,5 sec.

Cut plot-scene
Maya again shoots at Mahogany - again she misses.
2 sec.

Maya runs away from mahogany and passes the hanged corpses in an additional scedne. Jurgis can be seen in the foreground, obviously startled.
1 sec.

When Maya tumbles, she pushes a corpse. In the next sequence, the corpse swings back towards the camera while Maya twists and turns on the ground.
2 sec.

Mahogany passes Jurgis who helplessly gazes after him.
2 sec.

A long shot of the compartment with the hanged bodies on the poles, Mahogany is standing at the opposite end.
The following tracking shots around Leon's/Mahogany's back are included in the reverse order (compared to the HK-version).
2 sec.

A short distance shot of Leon and Mahogany fighting.
0,5 sec.

Again a distance shot, Mahogany starts to toss Leon.
1 sec.

Leon and Mahogany play a little game of "Hide & Seek" with a corpse in between them.
3 sec.

Mahogany's hammer blow hits one of the corpses right in the crotch, blood splashes.
A few frames

Alternative depiction of violence
Leon tries to stab Mahogany, but instead hits one of the corpses. In the Director's Cut, blood splashes. In the HK-version, there's no blood.
No difference in time

HK-version:Director's Cut:

Mahogany hits a corpse with his hammer, the hands (former bound together) break loose and fall down.
1 sec.

Maya levels her gun at Mahogany who clears away a corpse with his hammer.
2 sec.

Mahogany picks his hammer back up. For this he has to pass 2 corpses. Leon slowly comes round.
3,5 sec.

After Leon hit Mahogany with a disembodied arm, the latter spits a lot of blood out in slow motion.
0,5 sec.

Leon hängt schon etwas früher entsprechend noch einen Moment länger auf Mahoganys Rücken, bevor der ihn zu Boden wirft.
2 Sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
Leon desperately tries to push the knife sticking in his arm away which Mahogany tries to push into his face. The DC offers a slightly different cut of the scene; also, blood is dripping in his face (which is not the case in the HK version.
No difference in time!

HK version:Director's Cut:

After Mahogany accidentally stabs a knife into Jurgis' arm, you can see Jurgis a little longer while a little more blood drips down.
A few frames

Mahogany pulls the knife back out of Jurgis' body (in a close up shot); gallons of blood spill out of the wound onto the floor.
5,5 Sec.

Shot of dead Jurgis' face, in the background you can see Maya who is obviously stunned.
1,5 Sec.

A total shot of the wagon. Leon tries to get back up while Maya crawls in his direction a little earlier.
7 Sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
Both versions offer a different shot of Jurgis. In the DC you see his blood-besmeared face from the side, while in the HK version it is shown from a different angle and without blood.
The DC's Shot is slightly longer.
1,5 Sec.

HK version:Director's Cut:

Shot of the wagon with Jurgis corpse.
5 Sec.

The total shot of the wagon begins a little earlier; on the opposite end, a light is turned off.
1,5 Sec.

Cut plot-scene
At this point, the DC shows a monster which does not appear in the HK version. Instead, you see a sequence in which one of the creatures pulls a corpse from the hook - but this scene was also cut (see below).
1,5 Sec.

The creature drags one of the corpses until it's foot is ripped off. Outside of the wagon you see a lot of blood splashing on the pane behind the corpse.
3,5 Sec.

Geschnittene Handlungsszene
According to the plot, another sequence of Maya and Leon looking in the direction of the wagon is missing here.
2,5 Sec.

Cut plot-scene
Maya and Leon explore the huge abandoned Subway-station; in the background you can hear the monsters screaming.
24 Sec.

The bone is sticking a little longer in Mahogany's back, some more blood gushes out of the wound.
A few frames

Leon hits Mahogany (lying on the floor) way more often respectively longer with the other half of the bone.
7 Sec.

The camera slowly pans back from the damaged Mahogany, struggling for breath and spitting blood; Leon begins obviously earlier to jiggle the blade sticking in his leg.
20 Sec.

The shot of Mahogany begins earlier; he gasps out "Take this...".
You can recognize the editing of the HK version through the music that starts way earlier.
13 Sec.

The last frew frames of Mahogany (seen from bottom up) were cut out, as well as the complete side view after Leon rammed the blade in his head.
4 Sec.

Cut plot-scene
Leon first turns to Mahogany.
2 Sec.

The chief guard pulls Leon's tongue a little earlier in this sequence.
1 Sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
The chief guard again pulls Leons tongue a little longer (seen from the front); Leon's head is tossed from side to side. The DC then shows the scene, where Leon's tongue is ripped out of his mouth (side view) way earlier. In the HK version, this is shown from the front; the blood has been blurred to make it less visible.
1,5 Sec.

HK version:Director's Cut:

The chief guard holds the tongue in his hand a little longer; the following shot of Leon begins earlier.
2,5 Sec.

The chief guard chews Leon's tongue a little longer.
3 Sec.

Alternative depiction of violence
In the Director's Cut, some blood splashes out of Maya's chest when she gets stabbed; not so in the HK version (due to the wide-angle shot and the minor difference of the 2 versions in this scene it is hard to see the distinctions on the screenshots).
No difference in t ime!

HK version:Director's Cut:

Shot of Leon, stunned; the chief guard puts his hand into Mayas wound in a close up shot.
4,5 Sec.

The chief guard holds the beating heart in his hand, licks his lips in anticipation and then turns to Leon who still looks very stunned.
10,5 Sec.

The chief guard during the rest of the dialogue holds the heart in his hand a little longer. Then follows a cut to Leon after he is done speaking. Additionally, the following shot of Leon is shown earlier so that you can see the heart in frame.
The HK version cuts to Leon after the first few words of the chief guard ("Now serve!") (a moment, when the heart is not even shown that often anymore). This shot of Leon also provides the rest of the dialogue (another moment when you can clearly see the editing).
5 Sec.