Directed by Gary Sherman
Written by Gary Sherman and Ceri Jones
Starring : Donald Pleasence, Norman Rossington and David Ladd
There's something pretty grisly going on under London in the Tube tunnels between Holborn and Russell Square. When a top civil servant becomes the latest to disappear down there Scotland Yard start to take the matter seriously. Helping them are a young couple who get nearer to the horrors underground than they would wish.
Review :Once in a while you find a real, unclassified gem. This is one of those low-budget cult movies that you occassionally see on late night TV and then spend years raving about to puzzled friends, who can't find it anywhere. Death Line aka Raw Meat is a truely unsettling experience that use its own limitations to create some really gritty effects. The aura of filth and decay in this movie is totally unnerving, and while the story of cannibals in the subway seems unbelieveable the story manages to stay on the side of possible but improbable.
Two performances are noteworthy, firstly Donald Pleasence who turns in the wierdest performance of his career as the inspector and Hugh Armstrong who plays the cannibal. His performance is perhaps even more noteworthy considering how sympathetically the film treats him. His health is terrible, his woman has died and he is forced to eat people to survive. He is both sympathetic and menacing. Aside from Pleasence and Armstrong there is also a cameo from Christopher Lee, which could never be a bad thing. However leads David Ladd and Sharon Gurney are a dreary pair and their performances are overshadowed by Pleasence.
There are some inconsitencies in the plot, most notably that these trapped cannibals can get to train stations to snatch their victims, but they don't detract from the film. The special effects are nothing short of repulsive, and the soundtrack is particularily good. The film revels in gore and depravity with plenty of decaying corpses and a near rape scene, but does not devolve into exploitative. The use of ghost stations makes for some interesting cinematography and the subterranian scenes in the Tube tunnels are great and includes a marvelous tracking shot.
In Short : One of the most affecting films I have ever seen. Intelligent and bold, everything a horror film should be.