For generations, they ve lingered beneath the streets of London. But now their last survivor has emerged, driven by a desperate hunger for human flesh! Donald Pleasence stars in this daring (TheVillage Voice) horror clas... more »sic that dishes out heart-stopping jolts and hair-raising thrills! When a prominent politician and a beautiful young woman vanish inside a London subway station, Scotland Yard's Inspector Calhoun (Pleasence) investigates and makes a horrifying discovery. Not only dida 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 of London for fresh victims and a new mate.« less
Donald "Halloween" Pleasence stars in this cool, funky early '70s horror flick as a London police detective investigating a series of disappearances around the Underground subway tunnels. Turns out that the last survivors of a long-ago mining accident have been living in the deepest, darkest corners of the tunnel system for years and are now snacking on unfortunate commuters in order to survive. Yikes! Pleasance is at his hammy best and there are several cool "shock" scenes set in the killers' underground lair. Worth a look if vintage horror is your thang.
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Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 5/18/2011...
This is a low key classic. If you're a fan of horror films you'll want to check this film out.
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"Mind the Doors!" A forgetten classic finally released.
Kevin B. Price | Versailles, CT United States | 08/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a lost classic I never thought would see the light of day on DVD. Trapped underground in 1892 by a cave in, 8 men and 4 women survived by eating their dead. Their last decendent, a sore covered, plague infested cannibal and his pregnant dying mate have survived by picking off modern day London subway commuters. That's the premise of Raw Meat, Gary Sherman's directorial debut, which he also wrote. Sherman also went on to direct the Norman Rockwellian zombie film Dead and Buried which has greater reknown than Raw Meat. Although I never warmed up to the American lead actor, the cannibal, played by Hugh Armstrong, gives a performance regarded as both fearsome and tragic, Donald Pleasance as a police inspector is always fun and the make up effects are superb. The larder, stocked with rotting, half consumed corpses and the burial chamber where the cave in survivors have laid their dead to rest are especially impressive. I've had a terrible bootleg copy of this film for many years and it's nice to see it finally get the treatment it deserves."
Visit underground London for the scenery, stay for the food
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/30/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ever entertain thoughts of throwing off the shackles of your work a day, hum drum life and pursuing an existence as a cannibalistic, subhuman mole man? Who hasn't? Well, according to this movie, it's possible.
Raw Meat...the title pretty much says it all. Not very subtle, but it does give you an idea of what you're in for, watching this movie. Released in 1972, it predates C.H.U.D. by 12 years (and it's lesser known and more dubious sequel C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud by 17 years).
The movie starts out in a fairly trippy manner, with groovy music and annoying psychedelic visuals, and we see a fairly well to do foppish Englishman in a three piece trolling a very seedy street of London. Eventually he strolls into a mostly deserted underground subway station (the tubes, as referred to by the British), and he makes an indecent proposal to a fairly nasty looking streetwalker. Unable to reach an equitable pricing structure, she knees him in a sensitive area and leaves. As he's recovering, some unknown menace attacks him. This attack is interrupted by the arrival of a train, and some people exit the train, including Alex and Patricia, who we find out later are a young couple living together who attend the same college. They see this man lying prone on the stairs and Alex, clearly your typical, jaded American, assumes he's drunk. Patricia, English by her accent, is concerned that he may be hurt, so in an effort to shut her up, Alex agrees that they should seek help. Coming back with a police officer (a bobby), the man is gone. Where did he go?
Turns out this man is some high ranking government type, so pressure is put on the police to find him. Enter Inspector Calhoun, played by Donald Pleasance. Quite easily the best performance in the movie, he plays his role exactly the way you would think it should be played, a curmudgeonly type, who is surprised by very little, but underneath a diligent officer who takes in all the facts and sorts them out appropriately. The investigation, appearing haphazard at first, reveals itself to be much more in depth, focusing on pertinent details, creating an appearance of intelligence and professionalism within the police force, which counters the inept, doofus stereotype we are accustom to in movies of this genre.
We learn that at the turn of the century, a small group of miners (men and women, men doing the digging, while the women removed the dirt to the surface) got trapped due to collapse of the mine. The mining company, going bankrupt, never made an attempt to recover the supposedly deceased, and the people were forgotten. Turns out they survived, living off the flesh of their own as they passed away (yuck), and are now down to the last two surviving descendants, a male and a female. Food being scarce, the male, or Uggo, as I affectionately called him, has started venturing into the subway tunnels, looking for fresh meat. The make up on these two is very realistic, in that they appear as how you'd expect underground dwellers to look, all scabby, covered in lesions, boils, open sores, unkempt, wild hair, and just generally disgusting. Uggo had one feature that really gave me the creeps in that he always seemed to have a foot long length of spittle dangling from his scraggly beard. Every time I saw that, I unconsciously wiped my own chin in hopes that he would get the message.
Anyway, through happenstance, Uggo accosts Patricia, and this sets up for a confrontation between Alex and Uggo, and, eventually, the police. The realism of the scenery, specifically the underground locations were extremely impressive. The dirt, grime, rats, garbage, dankness, mold, the intermittent yet appropriate lighting...it all came through and set the mood proper.
My only qualms with the movie are sometimes the pacing was such that the movie plodded along. Some scenes, especially the one near the beginning showing the underground human larder, were drawn out unnecessarily. I think this was more for setting up the mood, but it felt like padding to me. There are some very visceral scenes within this movie, so if you're easily queasable, you should probably avoid this one. The dating of the movie is evident in the outfits worn by Alex and Patricia. I thought maybe they were escapees from the circus, but then I remembered that's how people dressed in the 70's.
Extras are pretty barebones, but I was truly thankful for English subtitles as the cockney accents by some of the actors made some of the dialogue difficult to discern. By the way, a number of reviewers reference the line `Mind the doors!' which is what Uggo yells at Patricia when he's trying to communicate with her. He learned this from the conductors, as that's what they tell passengers as they enter and exit the trains. Actually, when he yelled it, it came out more as `Muuuhind tha dooooooors!'"
"Mind the doors"
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 06/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I stumbled over "Raw Meat," a.k.a "Death Line," quite by accident during a recent excursion aimed at discovering new to me horror movies. I amazingly had never heard of it before, surprising considering the film contains one of Donald Pleasence's hammier performances. I am a big fan of Pleasence in everything from his recurring role as Sam Loomis in the "Halloween" installments to hackneyed Italian cheapies like "Warrior of the Lost World." The Donald aside, none other than Gary Sherman of "Dead and Buried" fame directed this eerie little gem. While this picture is not nearly as good as "Dead and Buried," it is still worth a watch for horror fans who like something a bit different in their diet. Heck, Christopher Lee even turns up in a completely useless cameo part. How can you go wrong? You cannot, so get out there and pick this one up before it goes out of print. After you do that, go get "Dead and Buried." If you have a few misgivings about the movie because of the title-I know I did-do not worry. As far as I can tell, the moniker comes from a voiceover line in the cheesy trailer. Of course, "Death Line" as an attention grabber is not much better.After a lengthy, psychedelically tinged opening sequence showing a properly dressed British bloke wandering in and out of nightclubs, we see this guy head down into the subway. It turns out he is quite the important fellow who works for MI5. A few minutes after a young lady robs him in the subway, American economics student Alex Campbell (David Ladd) and his British girlfriend Patricia Wilson (Sharon Gurney) stumble over the recumbent form of Manfred on the stairs leading out of the subway. Alex does not want to help the guy, claiming he is probably a drunken miscreant. Patricia, a kindhearted sort, insists on stopping. After reading his name off an identification card in his wallet, and discerning that he is probably not drunk, Patricia forces her boyfriend to tell a bobby about the body. When they go back to check, the body is not there. The cop shrugs the whole thing off and turns in what should be a mundane incident report. Once Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence) and his put upon assistant hear about what happened, they launch an investigation. Too, Manfred is an important person fully deserving of an inquiry. Besides, Calhoun despises MI5 and hopes to raise that organization's ire by poking about in the case.As he methodically investigates the case, Calhoun uncovers a weird story about the subway. Apparently, the authorities never properly investigated a cave-in back in the 1890s that killed a bunch of construction workers. Several laborers were missing after the disaster, but the company funding the venture went bankrupt and thus never answered disturbing questions about survivors possibly living in the tunnels. Oh dear. From this time on you just know what happened to Manfred. Just in case you are a bit thick in the brain department, Sherman shows us what happened to the secret service bureaucrat along with a few other unfortunate souls unlucky enough to wander off into dark subway tunnels. Miners did survive that accident and have lived in a sealed off section of the subway for nearly 100 years. The mortality rate under these conditions is high, thus meaning only two descendants of the workers now live underground. One is an ill woman carrying a child. Her husband (played by Hugh Armstrong) does not look that great either. He grunts a lot and looks like a cross between Gary Sinise's character in "Forrest Gump" and a member of Jethro Tull. In an effort to heal his sick lady, this guy goes out into the subway and preys on people. He not only dispatched Manfred in due haste, he also captures three construction workers after a gory fight. The conclusion is about what you would expect from a movie of this caliber."Raw Meat" is Donald Pleasence's film. All of the best scenes involve Inspector Calhoun bullying his underlings and Alex, raging, insulting people, and generally making a nuisance. You have to listen carefully to his character-a problem considering the rate of his speech, his accent, and the dodgy audio quality of the disc-to hear the gems he throws out on a regular basis. His confrontation with MI5 Agent Stratton-Villiers (Christopher Lee) is amusing, as are his exchanges with the mouthy Alex. I do not watch too many foreign films, but "Raw Meat" is the only film where I actually heard a British character ask for a "cuppa." If you tire of Pleasence's ham handed performance (and if you do, why are you watching this?), you can always laugh at Patricia's resemblence to Jane Fonda's character in "Klute," admire the gruesome gore effects, enjoy the atmospheric intensity of the abandoned tunnels, or try to figure out what "mind the doors" means. Yes sir, "Raw Meat" is an experience not to be missed by anyone who likes offbeat movies.The only extra on the DVD is a trailer for the film. The picture quality looked sharp considering its age, with only a few speckles and a bit of grain interfering with the proceedings. The audio, as I already mentioned, is not the best for hearing the dialogue. You can't expect MGM to ramp this up from two channels to 5.1, but such things have happened to lesser movies in the rush to transfer everything ever filmed by man to DVD. I do not think "Raw Meat" qualifies as a cult classic even though it probably should. Donald Pleasence completists probably possess the greatest impetus to buy the disc, but admirers of the man should check it out as well."
Unique premise, ghoulish details
Libretio | 02/28/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
RAW MEAT [Death Line]
(UK - 1972)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Mono
Trapped by falling masonry during construction of the London Underground, a group of Victorian workers have survived in the bowels of the earth for more than a century, breeding amongst themselves and cannibalizing the dead. A hundred years after their ordeal began, the last remaining descendant (Hugh Armstrong) finds his way back to the surface and begins to abduct people from station platforms in a desperate bid for food and companionship...
With its unique premise and uncompromising attention to grisly detail, Gary Sherman's directorial feature debut has gained something of a cult reputation over the years, and not without good reason. Dominated by Donald Pleasence's central performance as a cynical copper who treats everyone - innocent and guilty alike - with equal contempt, the film strikes a precarious balance between eccentricity and horror, reaching its emotional highpoint during scenes depicting Armstrong's ghoulish underground 'home', strewn with rotting corpses. Art direction (by Denis Gordon-Orr) and cinematography (by veteran Alex Thomson) are uniformly excellent, generating a vivid illusion of ancient decay, and the production benefits from atmospheric location work in abandoned train stations dating back to the Victorian era.
Juvenile leads David Ladd and Sharon Gurney are a dreary pair, and they're completely overshadowed by Pleasence's crowd-pleasing theatrics, but the film survives by virtue of its distinctive plotline and extraordinary setting, and there's at least ONE good scare that will lift viewers right out of their seats! Casual observers may find the opening scenes a little heavy-going, but Ceri Jones' admirable screenplay describes a fascinating narrative arc, and horror fans will be gripped throughout. Christopher Lee exchanges fruity insults with Pleasence during a brief cameo appearance, shot in a couple of hours and intended solely for marquee value.
Sadly, the DVD has been issued under its American release title, rather than the original DEATH LINE, which is slightly annoying.
A Horror Fan Must !
creatureart | Massachusetts | 02/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""RAW MEAT" is a slow paced but good little creepfest with chunks of unintentional silly humor scattered throughout wich mostly comes from it's outdated content,offbeat acting at times & clunky delivery of the score. With that said it does have plenty of that thick creepy 70's horror film atmosphere along with a couple of jumpy scares and some great "gross out" visuals. The execise of making the viewer grapple between fearing the mutant man or feeling bad for him was accomplished brilliantly in my eyes. I'm willing to bet that before shooting "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Tobe Hooper definitely took some visual tips from the morbid tunnel dwelling of our sad villian from this film. I do consider this to be a little known lost gem and I'm very happy to add it to my collection. This disturbing little midnight frightfest definitely deserves a special little place in the demented heart of every true horror fan."