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The Burning

National Lampoon's Vacation

John Wick: Chapter 4

To Live and Die in L.A

Midnight Meat Train


  • Theatrical Version
  • Unrated Director's Cut
Release: Jan 01, 2013 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB
The Japanese director Ryûhei Kitamura (Versus, Azumi) chose the Clive Barker adaptation The Midnight Meat Train as his US debut and manufactured a quite impressive one with this. The necessary budget was there obviously since the film has a gripping atmosphere due to its cinematography. The cast delivers a good performance while Bradley Cooper before his Hangover fame and Vinnie Jones as killer who has to rely completely on his mimic, stick out of the rest. Furthermore, the relentless brutality of the film surprises with its many handmade effects and some less impressive CGI orgies. Gorehounds will definitely be satisfied with the result, which also focuses on telling a suspenseful story and is therefore a true recommendation.

Unfortunately and despite all this praise, the film was almost shamefacedly released in 2008 as if they wanted to get rid of it as quiet as possible. The CEO of the producing studio New Line changed and wanted to introduce a new policy that refrained from hard horror material. This led to the film being released in only 102 "Dollar cinemas". But of course, this also required an MPAA rating which was achieved after submitting the film in 7 differently censored versions in order to get the "R" rating. Fortunately, the uncut version of the film found its way on DVD and Blu-ray and was labeled Unrated Director's Cut. Since then, film fans can give the film the attion it definitely deserves.

It was quite an effort to search for the "R" rated version of the film since it was barely released anywhere except for the US rental stores. The DC remains the dominant version worldwide. Fortunately for us, the Austrian mediabook by NSM also contains the theatrical version as a bonus and we were able to make the comparison after all. The censorship that cinemagoers had to endure is impressive. More than 80 changes were made in order to take the refreshingly raw uncompromisingness off. The violent scenes lose a considerable part of their impact here.

Comparison between the Theatrical Version (R-Rated) and the Unrated Director's Cut.

87 differences, consisting of
60 cuts
16 scenes with alternate material
3 extended scenes
3 additional scenes
2 extended scenes with alternate material
1 extended scene in the theatrical version
1 additional scene in the theatrical version
1 scene with color censorship

The Unrated Director's Cut runs 378.48 sec. or approx. 6 minutes 19 seconds longer than the theatrical version.

UR = Unrated, TC = Theatrical Cut
Extended scene with alternate material
0:02:34: The tracking shot from the bloody window to the murdering butcher begins a little earlier in the TC but only the UR shows blood when the hammer smashes into his victims. Furthermore, it includes a third punch that causes blood spilling onto the camera lense.
The UR runs 2.32 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

0:21:04: A few more frames when Randles eyes leave their natural place.
0.56 sec.

0:21:05: Blood splashes into Troy’s eyes and then another slow-mo shot of Randle. His eyes collide with the camera.
5.32 sec.

0:21:11: A little earlier as Randle sinks to the ground. The blood seems a little more red in the UR, too.
2.16 sec.

Alternate material
0:21:30: When the hook is smashed into Troy’s crown jewels, we see a little CGI blood. At least in the UR.
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

0:21:54: The blood is redder and the UR has exactly 1 more frame of Troy’s heavily damaged face after the hammer hit him.
0.04 sec.

0:21:57: Mahogany looks grim and walks towards the whimpering Leigh, who tries to crouch away on the bloody floor.
5.92 sec.

0:22:06: The UR has a much longer shot of Leigh’s hands that symbolize how she is pulled across the floor.
9.16 sec.

0:22:24: Actually, Mahogany needs a second hammer blow to decapitate Leigh but the TC only shows one. Furthermore, the bumpy tracking shot from the head’s POV is marginally different in comparison to the UR but that’s not real censorship.
6.4 sec.

0:22:39: The dolly shot from Leigh’s head is much faster in the TC. The UR also includes a clearly audible rattle which is omitted in the TC.
8.32 sec.

Alternate material
0:27:48: The shot of Leon sneaking through the street is not interrupted in the TC. The UR changes to a closer shot in between.
The UR runs 2.64 sec. longer

Additional scene
0:28:00: Leon follows Mahogany in another scene. This is UR-exclusive.
13.2 sec.

0:32:45: A few frames longer as Guardian Angel removes his hand from the knife after it was hit by Mahogany’s hammer.
0.32 sec.

Color censorship
0:32:54: Nothing cut during the headshot but the red color of the blood has been visibly reduced in the TC
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

0:35:20: Too hot for the MPAA. Loveplay, Unrated Director’s Cut-style.
13.76 sec.

Extended scene
0:45:10: Maya adds that she doesn’t mind that Leon eats meat. She does it all the time.
8.56 sec.

Alternate material
0:53:24: Mahogany hits the passengers once more in the UR. Much more obvious is that the TC has no blood whatsoever while the UR includes fountains of blood.
The UR runs 1.4 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

0:54:25: Mahogany takes much more time while pulling the teeth. He removes 3 teeth and not just one like in the TC.
20.88 sec.

0:54:47: There’s also more removal of fingernails and eyes. Some viewers could think that this censorship isn’t even that bad considering how gross it all looks.
24.84 sec.

0:55:08: The removal of the second eye is also longer in the UR. This is followed by an exclusive shot of Mahogany adding the eye to the pulled teeth.
12.2 sec.

0:55:29: A little longer as the hair is cut. The bloody eye sockets of the body can be seen.
3 sec.

0:55:34: Half a second longer as the foot of the dead body comes into the picture.
0.56 sec.

Alternate material
0:55:35: Both versions have different takes of how the hook is stabbed through the foot and of course the UR is more explicit and longer since Mahogany does the same to the other foot (not as explicit, though).
The UR runs 5.2 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

Extended scene
0:56:57: Leon struggles longer while he hangs upside down.
12.4 sec.

0:57:18: The monster grabs Leon a little earlier.
0.88 sec.

0:57:20: And again.
0.88 sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
1:18:46: Only the UR shows the long shot of the dead bodies that hang upside down. Maya is disgusted and shocked while making her way through them. As Jurgis makes a noise, the jumps and screams while she just kneels down in the TC.
The UR runs 24.84 sec. longer

Extended scene
1:19:44: Maya tries longer to free Jurgis from the hook. (Also, we see Leon trying to get into the train earlier. This scene comes a little later in the TC.)
5.32 sec.

Alternate material
1:20:00: When Jurgis sags back down, blood spurts from his foot wound. At least in the UR.
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:20:08: Jurgis can be seen hanging there once more.
3.16 sec.

Alternate material
1:20:23: Both versions have a different shot of Maya shooting at Mahogany.
The TC runs 0.44 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:20:25: Maya shoots and misses Mahogany in the UR.
2.56 sec.

Alternate material
1:20:30: While the shots of the fleeing Maya and Mahogany throwing the hammer are a little longer in the TC, the UR shows the helpless Jurgis watching it all.
The UR runs 1.04 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:20:33: After she was hit by the hammer, Maya falls a few frames longer in the UR.
0.44 sec.

1:20:35: More pain for Maya.
1.92 sec.

1:20:38: The TC tries to avoid showing the hanging Jurgis as much as possible. Here, he is omitted again.
2 sec.

1:21:17: During the mexican standoff, the part is missing where we see the hanging bodies in the waggon. The order of the shots of Mahogany and Leon was reversed, too.
2.6 sec.

1:21:38: More fighting between the bodies.
0.84 sec.

Alternate material
1:21:42: The TC shows Mahogany and Leon push against each other a bit longer while the UR depicts them standing between the bodies.
The UR runs 1.04 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

Alternate material
1:21:45: Leon hides behind a naked body. The TC is a little more harmless.
The UR runs 3.28 sec. longer

1:21:49: Mahogany hits the body between the legs and a lot of blood spurts. The last frames were darkened and are then followed by a cut in the TC.
0.92 sec.

Alternate material
1:21:51: Leon stabs the leg of the body. The UR has blood, the TC doesn’t.
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:21:53: Maya discovers the gun and grabs it. The UR shows this earlier since there’s also a dead body in the picture.
1 sec.

1:21:58: Mahogany hits a dead body with his hammer and causes the bound arms to be released.
1.12 sec.

1:22:01: Maya shoots and hits Mahogany’s west. He hits a body with his hammer instead of Leon.
2.4 sec.

1:22:06: A few frames longer as the severed arm flies off.
0.28 sec.

1:22:14: Leon holds his hand a little longer and we get to see dead bodies for a few more frames, as well.
0.48 sec.

1:22:18:Leon dodges a bit longer.
0.2 sec.

1:22:31: Mahogany gets his hammer.
4.08 sec.

1:22:42: Mahogany spits blood.
0.72 sec.

1:22:54: A little more fighting between the two.
0.84 sec.

1:23:19: And a little more piggyback.
2.08 sec.

Alternate material
1:23:28: When the knife is close to Leon’s head, the UR shows blood dripping on his face. TC is cleaner and uses a different take where Leon struggles.
The UR runs 0.56 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

Alternate material
1:23:43: The TC works with dimming once more when the knife cuts into Jurgis‘ stomach.
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:23:44: A few more frames of Jurgis‘ face.
0.24 sec.

1:23:44: Some more blood runs down his face.
0.44 sec.

1:23:46: Of course, the ultra violent scene in which Mahogany slices Jurgis‘ stomach open is missing. A lot of blood splashes on the floor and also pours onto his chest and face.
6.16 sec.

1:23:53: Another shot of the dead Jurgis with his bloodied face.
2.4 sec.

1:24:38: Leon gets up slowly and we see dead bodies behind him.
7.52 sec.

Alternate material
1:25:01: Jurgis is dead in both versions but the shot of him couldn’t vary more.
The UR runs 1.28 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:25:17: The interior shot of the train with the body is missing.
6.16 sec.

1:25:28: A longer shot of the inside of the waggon.
1.6 sec.

1:27:02: One of the forefathers is happy about the prepared meal. The TC is a little early when showing the scene in which the dead body is ripped off the hook (this follows a little later in the UR).
2.08 sec.

1:27:07: The meal continues and Maya pulls Leon away.
6 sec.

Alternate material
1:27:13:The forefather has more work to do when he wants to pull off the foot from the hook. He needs some strength but finally the foot breaks loose. Blood splashes against the window. The TC has a little blood, too, but it’s not so played out here.
The UR runs 4.32 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

Additional scene in the TC
KF: 1:24:07:. A different and shorter shot of the forefathers eating in the waggon.
+ 0.92 sec.

Additional scene
1:27:21: Longer sequence as Leon and Maya go through the railroad station.
27.16 sec.

1:29:06: The knife sticks a little longer in Mahogany’s side and more blood is shown.
0.4 sec.

1:29:09: Leon hits Mahogany two more times.
2.32 sec.

1:29:12: And more punches.
2.52 sec.

1:29:14: They could have cut that entirely since the TC omits a number of punches once more.
4.6 sec.

1:29:30: The UR shows the camera departing very slowly from the gasping Mahogany.
23.04 sec.

1:30:11: And Mahogany rattles some more.
17 sec.

1:30:43: Longer shot of the dead Mahogany with the knife in his mouth. This is followed by a new shot from the side.
4.52 sec.

1:31:07: Longer shot of the dead Mahogany.
1.8 sec.

1:31:28: The train operator pulls Leon’s tongue longer.
1.72 sec.

1:31:33: And once more.
1.92 sec.

Alternate material
1:31:34: After he pulled Leon’s tongue out, the UR has a shot behind Leon while the TC remains in the frontal shot.
The UR runs 0.24 sec. longer

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:31:37: Leon gurgles in pain. This is of course longer in the UR.
2.6 sec.

1:31:40: More spitting of blood.
1.52 sec.

1:31:52: The train conductor chews longer.
3 sec.

Alternate material
1:32:42: When the train conductor stabs Maya in the chest, the UR features blood that spurts out of the wound. The TC doesn’t.
No time difference

TCUnrated Director's Cut

1:32:46: That’s odd. The TC is longer when the knife sticks in Maya’s chest but in the end, the UR is longer. They both don’t really vary in terms of violence here.
The TC runs 0.08 sec. longer

1:32:48: Leon watches in shock and only the UR shows how the train conductor grabs into Maya’s body.
5.68 sec.

Extended scene in the TC
KF: 1:28:21: Again, Leon is seen longer as he watches in shock what the train conductor does to his girlfriend.
+ 1.56 sec.

Additional scene
1:33:08: The train conductor beholds the torn out heart with pleasure while we see Leon watching once more.
13 sec.

Extended scene
1:33:26: When the train conductor orders Leon to obey without question, we see him saying these words in the UR while the TC has already changed to the slow tracking shot onto the paralyzed Leon. In this version, we hear the final words of the train conductor offscreen.
5.6 sec.