Death Line (aka Raw Meat) – Review (Blue Underground Blu-ray)
The Mind of Tatlock is back again with yet another obscure (to me that is) horror flick from 1972. This time around we can thank Blue Underground for digging up the British horror flick Death Line (aka Raw Meat in the US) and providing a rather nicely done Blu-ray package. As for the film in question, Death Line presents an interesting premise, along with the very talented Donald Pleasence, yet falls short in a few areas.
Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men nor Women… They are the Raw Meat of the Human Race! When a prominent politician and a beautiful young woman vanish inside a London subway station, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence of HALLOWEEN) investigates and makes a horrifying discovery. Not only did a group of 19th century tunnel workers survive a cave-in, but they lived for years in a secret underground enclave by consuming the flesh of their own dead. Now the lone descendant of this grisly tribe has surfaced, prowling the streets for fresh victims… and a new mate.
Norman Rossington (A HARD DAY’S NIGHT), David Ladd (THE WILD GEESE), Sharon Gurney (CRUCIBLE OF HORROR), and the legendary Christopher Lee (HORROR OF DRACULA) also star in this heart-stopping horror classic co-written and directed by Gary Sherman (DEAD & BURIED). Originally recut and released as RAW MEAT in the United States, now DEATH LINE has been freshly transferred and fully restored in 2K from the original uncensored camera negative and comes fully loaded with exclusive new Extras produced for this release!
After being buried in a mining accident, a group of miners copulate and make do under the London Subway system. Feasting on rats to stay alive, the last generation survivor loses a loved one and creeps out of the ruins and starts picking off helpless, yet rather tasty victims. One of the victims is widely known, so the kidnapping grabs the attention of Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence, Halloween). Calhoun investigates the disappearance with the help of two students, who mainly exist to provide a plot device to move things along later on. Oh, and Christopher Lee shows up for one minute, only to be told off rather hilariously by Donald Pleasence.
Death Line’s premise makes for an interesting watch, and the use of quirky comedy from Donald Pleasence is always enjoyable, even if some of the dialogue is hard to understand thanks to heavy British accents. As for the actual “horror” behind the story, it never goes all out. We get to sympathise a little bit with the underground dweller, but the resolution falls rather flat with a standard chase scene and a lacklustre ending. Pleasence’s character is pushed to the background for a good portion to focus on the two students, who honestly, are rather dull characters. Give me Pleasence instead. The bit of information we get about the underground society is limited and pretty far fetched when you start to think about it.
Nevertheless, even with the film’s shortcomings, Death Line is enjoyable enough thanks to always fantastic Donald Pleasence.
Blue Underground cleans up Death Line rather nicely, presenting us with a 2K transfer. The audio is rather low at times, which makes the heavily accented dialogue even harder to understand. You’ll be playing volume up/volume down with this one. The special features include an audio commentary with the director, producer and assistant director. We also are provided with interviews with the director, Gary Sherman, actor David Ladd and finally, the tunnel-dwelling man himself Hugh Armstrong. Rounding it all out are trailers, TV spots, radio spots, poster/still gallery and an excellent collectable booklet. An all-around solid Blu-ray release.
Death Line provides a bit of horror, and oddly enough, plenty of laughs. The movie tries to have you sympathise with the “killer” but falters a bit with the resolution, but Donald Pleasence is reason enough to watch this forgotten horror flick. Blue Underground’s Blu-ray release is pick up worthy.
Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman, Producer Paul Maslansky, and Assistant Director Lewis More O’Ferrall
Tales From The Tube – Interview with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman and Executive Producers Jay Kanter & Alan Ladd Jr.
From The Depths – Interview with Star David Ladd and Producer Paul Maslansky
Mind The Doors – Interview with Star Hugh Armstrong
DEATH LINE Trailer
RAW MEAT Trailer
RAW MEAT TV Spots
RAW MEAT Radio Spots
Poster & Still Gallery
BONUS Collectable Booklet featuring new writing by authors Michael Gingold and Christopher Gullo