A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men Nor Women… They Are the Raw Meat Of The Human Race!
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.
Mind the doors!
A pretty standard horror film that doesn't meet it's potential of The Hills Have Eyes in the London Tubes, but it's almost elevated by Donald Pleasence having way more fun then he should be as a London Inspector highlighted by an unfriendly, yet gentlemanly exchange with Christopher Lee.
Death Line (aka Raw Meat) is a grim 1970's horror film set in the London underground. It has a couple of stand-out elements to it, first and chiefly, Donald Pleasence's performance. Pleasence is amazing as the working class detective investigating disappearance at Russell Square tube station; he is wry, annoyed and intelligent. The best scene in the film is Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee going toe-to-toe, Lee is the pompous MI5 man and Pleasence the lower class detective, it is a great scene (and a shame that Lee does not feature more in the film). The second great positive for Death Line is the creepy as hell "monster" at the heart of the story, he, more or less, freaked me…
Here's a review I wrote back in 2004 on Netflix when they credited the reviews to users and had a pretty cool community going: RIP
Gary Sherman's flamboyant direction (some of his extremely long takes will either leave you in awe or in boredom)and a fine comic perfomance by Donald Pleasances (Halloween fans who only know him as the dead serious Dr. Loomis will want to check this out) will almost distact you from the fact that the film is basically the old hoary monster in the basment story. This is where a family or old lady hides a crazed son or relative from the world, until mayhem ensues. In this case, the basement is the London subway, and London has spawned the monster. Chris Lee also has a very funny cameo making this must for Lee fans even with its brevity. The gore is brief but pretty gruesome.
Holy shit, this was good. Pleasence fucking LOVES tea
I actually did a double feature at the Denver Drafthouse - have to make the best of my trip. The film was presented in its original uncut form titled Death Line. It was a special event with director Gary Sherman present for a Q&A afterward. Though the real special treat was that the film was shown using Sherman's personal 35mm print of the film, the answer print to be exact.
The film concerns disappearances in a specific section of the London tube system and the civilian couple caught up in the mystery and the police inspector investigating. The plot itself is really nothing special but how Sherman uses the different aspects of the film for specific effect was quite unique…
A little gem: Donald Pleasence is brilliant as a grumpy copper, London looks realistically grungy and best of all, a subhuman tube-dwelling cannibal rampages with the battle cry 'Mind the doors!' It doesn't always work, especially the long sequences of 'at home with the cannibals', but a witty script (and a nice Christopher Lee cameo) more than make up for it. Very funny last line too. (Possibly not meant to be).
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Cannibal guy lives in an abandoned subway station in London, and ventures out killing people. Some American dick and his adorable English girlfriend get sucked in when they are the last to see one of his victims. Donald Pleasance is an idiot police officer that heads the investigation, but mostly just wastes everyone's time.
The killer is interesting here, as he looks somewhat like one of the guys from the later Hills Have Eyes, but he's portrayed quite sympathetically here despite all the murders. He's first shown caring for his dying female companion, and when she dies, he really loses it. It spends a lot of time on his anguish, ensuring that audience sympathies lie at least somewhat with the…
Given the praise that DEATH LINE/RAW MEAT has received from the likes of Edgar Wright, Guillermo del Toro, and John Landis (who even borrowed the title "Inspector Villiers" for his own AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON), I expected more.
Shooting on location, the (first-time) director, Gary Sherman, does capture the picturesque bleakness of London very well. But once he's established his ideas, he doesn't know where to go - or who to focus on.
Too often, we're stuck watching a bland college student couple break up, make up, and go to bookstores and cafes - when Sherman has Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee (the latter sporting a bowler hat and a supercilious mustache in a partly biographical role as an…
Superior, smart British take on the underground cannibal film - far ahead of the sort of thing Hammer and Amicus were doing at the time. What really makes a difference is the performances; Hugh Armstrong and June Turner add a lot of pathos with non-verbal parts as the cannibals dwelling at an unfinished London Underground station while Donald Pleasance is given the lead add excels as the pithy, intelligent Inspector Calhoun. It has a seriousness rare for British horror of the period and the chops to bring it off. Good cameo from Christopher Lee as an MI5 agent and the bloke who Basil thinks is a hotel inspector but actually sells outboard motors is the first victim.
"mind the doors"
Very British and very slow in pace (lots of long takes), a large portion of the film features Donald Pleasance either drinking tea or asking for tea, but these aren't negatives. Oh no old boy, these things are indeed essential to the movie's overall atheistic, which also includes grim sadness and bits of droll humor, with a splash of violence, which is limited but effective.
The "monster" of the film, a cannibal living in old subway tunnels, spends most of the movie crying and/or making weepy noises. He also mutters "mind the doors," upping the creepy factor, but ultimately he draws a lot of sympathy and can lay claim as the saddest of all monsters in horror history.
Christopher Lee pops up for a cameo as a MI5 agent and he has a great scene with Pleasance, which I believe is the only time these two worked together, if I'm not mistaken. Worth checking out for that alone.
Death Line tells the story of a latter day neanderthal, the last of his kind, living in the vaults of an abandoned tube station and feeding on unsuspecting commuters. Sounds like standard horror fare, but the film surprisingly balances pathos and brutality in equal measure, as we discover the tragic circumstances behind the horrors at play. Donald Pleasance usually gets the props for his comic turn as the somewhat belligerent police inspector, but it's Hugh Armstrong's haunting performance as 'the man' that is most effective, his chilling repetition of "Mind the Doors" (the only words in his vocabulary) standing out as particularly unsettling. Although the film suffers from slightly uneven pacing, the moments of extreme violence and visceral terror make…
Las vias de metro pueden habitar seres subhumanos.
Highlight: The spooky atmosphere of the London Underground, the mysterious cannibal who you can't help but feel sorry for and of course the wonderful Donald Pleasence.
Lowest point: Christopher Lee not having enough screen time.
A deffo must watch!
(aka "Raw Meat")
In this '70s Brit horror flick, a police detective investigating a missing person case in the London Underground eventually discovers a family of cannibals that have been living in a long-abandoned subway tunnel for generations, snacking on unlucky passengers. Not nearly as much fun as its premise makes it sound, Donald Pleasance is funny as hell as the tightly wound cop and there are some good gore bits here 'n' there but otherwise it was fairly pedestrian stuff.