Raw Meat / Deathline (1973)

Raw Meat / Deathline (1973)

“In 1892… a rival subway company was tunneling, and its tunnel caved in. Then the company went bankrupt [and] no effort was made to rescue the trapped workers.”

A police inspector (Donald Pleasence) learns about a colony of cannibals — descendents of 19th century laborers — who are living in the London underground. When the lone survivor (Hugh Armstrong) emerges to kidnap a new wife (Sharon Gurney), Pleasence and Gurney’s boyfriend (David Ladd) are quickly on his trail.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Cannibalism
  • Christopher Lee Films
  • Detectives
  • Donald Pleasence Films
  • Horror
  • Kidnapping

Response to Peary’s Review:
Despite its provocative premise, this cult horror film — which Peary concedes is “not as good as its reputation” — is surprisingly boring. There are far too many narrative loopholes — wouldn’t the fifth generation of underground laborers have tried to escape long before now? — and the fake movie gore quickly becomes tedious. Fortunately, the film is partially redeemed by its sympathetic “villain” (Armstrong) — the “brutish lone survivor” of a corrupt government cover-up who’s simply trying to continue his bleak existence; it’s easy to empathize with his plight.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Donald Pleasence as Inspector Calhoun
  • A clever, politically scandalous premise

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look simply for its status as a beloved cult film.


2 thoughts on “Raw Meat / Deathline (1973)

  1. First viewing. Haphazardly constructed, written and executed, this is a dull, somewhat pretentious ‘horror’ film of no importance.

  2. This really is the sort of film they ought to be remaking rather than films that are already unbeatable. A good idea that has real potential let down by some botched execution.

    As a long time resident of London, I can say that the Underground can be a creepy place – and the film deserves credit for realising that (one reason why I love Von Triers’ ‘The Kingdom’ – while loathing many of his films – is that it realises what creepy places hospitals are).

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