When was the last time you saw a first-run movie on opening night and paid just $1.75? Hardcore horror flick The Midnight Meat Train has been relegated to second-run theaters in its limited, 100-screen release this weekend, as William Goss nicely detailed for us. (Thanks to commenter Christopher for pointing out that Dread Central compiled a very handy list of theaters.) Let me testify: watching the movie at a theater with cheap seats did not enhance the experience.
Here's why: The Midnight Meat Train is a very good flick -- I agree completely with our own horror hound Scott Weinberg that "it's one of the most effective horror films of the year" -- and horror fans who sought it out deserved to see it in the best possible environment. I was fortunate in that one of the six theaters playing it in the Dallas / Ft. Worth Metroplex is only about 10 miles away, though I had a devil of a time finding it. Unfortunately, the theater has seen better days, the seating layout is not optimal, and the audio equipment is lacking.
It felt surreal to watch the far inferior The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor at a Cinemark complex with great sound and a huge screen and then travel 10 miles to see The Midnight Meat Train at another Cinemark complex with sound that lacked any oomph and a much smaller screen. Nonetheless, the 9:25 p.m. show drew a mixed crowd of 60-70 people, despite zero advertising in the local newspapers, and folks seemed satisfied with what they saw.
As I walked to the parking lot, I overheard one group talking about it; one of the guys said, "My leg kept on shaking from nerves!" and one of the girls said, "I really liked the dark red color of the blood -- it wasn't that fire engine red crap." Imagine how many people would have happy memories tonight if Lionsgate actually made it convenient to see the stinking movie!
( Editor's Note: For more on this sad state of affairs, check out the surprisingly different viewpoints from Shock, Bloody-Disgusting, and one of our readers' own blogs: Horror's Not Dead. And thanks for the shout-out, Pete! Glad you liked the movie! -SW )