Not too long ago, myself and two other stooges were sitting in stooge #1's apartment, enjoying a few cans of the offo's finest and going about our usual ritual of a horror movie trichotomy (I've been dying to use that word for the longest time). I can't remember which film we started on or which we ended with on that particular night, but slap bang in the middle, we found ourselves feeling adventurous and decided to give Ryuhei Kitamura's Midnight Meat Train (2008) a shot.
Big. Fucking. Mistake.
Throughout the film, I could see a calm vigilance in the eyes of Stooge #1 and Stooge #2. They, like myself, were awaiting the big pay-off that this movie had been promising since the opening. We'd endured the skull and bones of an hour of psychological drama and there didn't seem to be any kind of money shot in sight. See, Jacob's Ladder, not entirely unlike this one, made you claustrophobic and paranoid, that's a true classic of psychological horror, but there was a pay-off. You sat through all this teasing and hinting, but when the ending came, you were content in the story that preceded it. Great film. There is no such justification in Midnight Meat Train.
I'm not saying it's a terrible movie, there are much worse out there, but before those ending credits began to roll, the three of us were already debating on what film to watch next. I'm not going to ruin the ending for anyone who may decide to watch it, but I'll say that it's like going to McDonalds for the latest in burger technology...and receiving a withered, anemic slice of death covered in tomato sauce.
So, instead of pretending to be some kind of qualified movie buff and offering up a scholarly thesis on the things I didn't like about the movie, as if you actually cared, here's ten things you can do instead of watching the movie:
1. Find out how long you can hold your breath for.
This may prove to be a vital practice if you fear that you one day may be submerged in flood waters. In Ireland, we are woefully unprepared for freak weather instances, so it's not completely unreasonable to prepare for a scenario where your kitchen is about to become your watery grave. Inhale heavily until you can feel a pressure in your chest, that's your oxygen reserve for now. Now hold that oxygen in for as long as you possibly can, lay down on a flat surface and practice paddling your arms and legs as if you were trying to swim to safety. Repeat this exercise until you feel confident in your survival chances. You may look silly while doing it, but you'll thank me when the great flood comes.
2. Take up Origami.
Nothing says "I'm an accomplished human being" like making a bird out of a piece of paper. I'm not entirely clear on the mechanics of origami, but thanks to television, I know that it has something to do with taking a scissors to a piece of paper, folding it around a lot and making something beautiful and ultimately useless out of it. What's your favourite animal? I like cats. So if I were to take up origami, I'd make a cat because that seems to be the only logical destination for this entire practice to lead to. Why would I spend a long time making a swan or an airplane? I'm going to sit here at my desk and make a fucking cat because I like cats and you can't judge me because this is a legitimate art form. This is the art form I have chosen to express myself, my angst and my feelings of alienation. Look at my cat. It's frowning.
3. Drink some black absinthe.
Just do. You'll find out. You will.
4. Study astral projection.
Ever wondered what it would be like to have an out of body experience using meditation and probably a whole militia of powerful drugs? This might be the one for you. It's not like teleportation, so you can't will your astral body into the girls dormitory for a sneaky one, but I assume you can see some other really cool shit that exists outside this plane of existence. I don't know if the astral plane has a stable internet connection though, so if you're looking to order some Justeat, you may want to consider picking up the phone instead and awkwardly stammering your order to someone who will probably give you a can of Fanta instead of your requested Coke anyway. Whatever you do find on your psychedelic journey, please leave it where you found it, no one wants to listen to your middle class, beatnik snobbery.
5. Learn how to run good.
We don't spend enough time on physical activity these days. I'm guilty of that for sure. Maybe you're trying to lose a few pounds or maybe you're just scrambling around for things to fill that gaping void inside, either way, running is a great way to repair both body and soul and should be practiced at least three times a week. Do you think Usain Bolt fears rejection? No, because he's absolutely fucking rotten with money. He has running to thank for that.
6. Listen to the dance floor remix of "Out Of Touch" until the pain goes away.
Daryl Hall and John Oates invented heartbreak. You remember her, don't you? The one that got away? The one you're still utterly head-over-heels for? Stop being such a hard ass, no one is asking you to be strong, man. You used to be really fun, remember how we would laugh? You need to find yourself, you need to let people back in. The only way to repair your wounded heart is to listen to "Out Of Touch" at least fifteen times consecutively, alone. At some point, you'll find that your agony has taken the form of an improvisational dance in your bedroom, when this has begun, so has the healing. You're out of touch, I'm out of time, but I'm out of my head when you're not around...
|Let the sweet tendrils of John Oates' moustache soothe you.|
7. Accept Satan as your master.
Chances are you already have, without even knowing it, you filthy imbecile. Where do you think booze comes from? Who REALLY recorded Led Zeppelin 2? Why are you so attracted to your urologist? Don't be naive, child. Satan has been there for you since day one and yet you've bought into the idea that he's only for rich white folk and the people who run herbal health shops. You should immediately go to your local forest, slay some tiny, defenseless creature and offer it up to your horned master because let me tell you, sister, he's not best pleased with your behaviour as of late.
8. Fill up your hairdresser's loyalty card.
Damn it, you don't have the time to endure those five hairdresser visits to claim that one free hair cut. You need it all and you need it now because you don't plan on living for much longer. I urge you to go to your local snippers immediately and get a haircut. Repeat this five times in the same day (perhaps by disguising yourself with different jumpers) until you are finally in the position to claim that free cut. Now, you may no longer have any hair on your head to be dressed, but that's okay, you're not just living life in the fast-lane, you're adept at biding your time when you need to. One day, when your luscious locks have regrown, you can slap your hairdresser with your loyalty card and finally look like that celebrity you blindly adore.
9. Watch Vinnie Jones in any other movie than Midnight Meat Train.
You have to love Vinnie Jones. It's like some bold, adventurous tycoon took a shine to a cannibalistic tribesman on his journey and decided to make him a movie star. They brought Vinnie Jones back to the "civilized" world in a bamboo cage and sent him to acting classes. When you see him do something, you just have to clap your hands, giggle wildly and shout "Look mummy, look what Vinnie Jones can do!". Honestly, though, he's brilliant. He's just terrifying.
10. Loiter somewhere.
Everybody loves a bad ass. It's just a fact of life. Why do you think Darth Vader is the most popular character in Star Wars? Why is Daryl the most popular from The Walking Dead? Why is Judas Iscariot such a sex idol? Because they were pricks. Nothing says "I'm dangerous and mysterious" like loitering somewhere. You can do it anywhere, that's the beauty of it. I think I'll lean against this wall for a little while, maybe that wall afterwards. Hey, sweetheart, I know you want to talk to me but I'm busy right now disrespecting my surroundings. It's okay though, we can talk later, I just have a point I want to prove to McDonalds on Grafton Street right now. Do you have a cigarette? Can you roll one for me?
That concludes our list of 10 things to do instead of watching Midnight Meat Train. Be safe.