DEATH LINE (1972)
DEATH LINE poster artwork under the US title RAW MEAT
DONALD PLEASENCE.....Inspector Calhoun
NORMAN ROSSINGTON.....Detective Sergeant Rogers
DAVID LADD.....Alex Campbell
SHARON GURNEY.....Patricia Wilson
HUGH ARMSTRONG.....The "Man"
JANE TURNER.....The "Woman"
CLIVE SWIFT.....Inspector Richardson
CHRISTOPHER LEE.....Stratton-Villers M.I. 5
Directed by GARY SHERMAN
Written by CERI JONES
Produced by PAUL MASLANSKY
REVIEW BY GENE SISKEL
It was a typical day. In the morning I had seen a rebellious teen-age girl bury a hatchet in
her aunt's back. But at lunch director Gary Sherman said, "Wait 'till you see my
picture---it'll really make you sick. The violence alone got it an X-certificate in London."
Sherman's movie, Raw Meat, is now playing at the Michael Todd Theater, and though
it looks as if it's been edited slightly, enough sickening sights remain to turn one's
stomach and head.
The contemporary horror film is set mainly in the London subway system. And you
thought the CTA was tough?
The monster of the piece lives amid the ruins of an abandoned subway tunnel. Eighty years
ago his ancestors were working on the tunnel when there was a cave-in. The workers
were presumed dead.
But in fact, there were survivors, all entombed by the rubble. They subsisted on a meager
diet. No doubt the vending machines did not work, so they were forced to turn to each
other. That's right, each other. [Listen, don't knock it. If Phase Four doesn't work....]
Now none of this would make any difference to the city of London except that a member
of the British gentry has disappeared in the Russell Square subway station. And his
disappearance marks the third such occurrence in the last year. Somebody, or something,
is letting his appetite run away with him.
In the best of horror-film traditions, a teen-age couple stumble onto the secret of the
subway, and it almost kills them. They are blocked, then aided, in their pursuit of the truth
by a cantankerous police detective played by the very fine character actor Donald
Pleasence. His comic internecine battles with other law-enforcement officials hold our
interest above ground while the kids battle the ghoul downstairs.
The monster, whose face resembles a pepperoni pizza, is performed with great energy by
Hugh Armstrong, who can drool with the best of 'em.
But besides occasional lapses of taste, director Sherman [a local lad made good at age 28]
has given us a couple of genuine thrills as well as cause to check our subway trainmen
more carefully. Me, I took a cab home from the theater.
Review © 1973 THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE. All Rights Reserved.
Poster artwork © 1973 AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES. All Rights Reserved.
Title and logo designed by Karen Rappaport
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