Friday, August 1, 2014

Raw Meat (1972)

Raw Meat
aka Death Line (1972)
Directed by Gary Sherman
Starring Donald Pleasance
Review by "Machine Gun" Kristin

Looks like some sorta sexy cannibal orgy! That's definitely not the movie you're going to get! 

"Raw Meat" is also known as "Death Line", even though, neither name really capture this film. I suppose "Death Line" (UK title) is referring to London "Tube" subway line that is the center of this film. "Raw Meat" (it's US title), well, I'm not so sure about that. I guess it's more mental atmosphere brought upon by hearing those words. I think of squishy redness, bloody objects glistening on a wooden slab. As with most films though, what's in a name anyway? Alternate titles can either be the kiss of death of a film, making it's identity hard to pinpoint, or valuable in creating a reputation as to which version is definitive. Which I personally think can be confusing as hell. No matter what you call it though, this film is very much on the bleak side, without much of a storyline, and with much grisly imagery sprinkled throughout. It was written and directed by American Gary Sherman and it is his first full length feature. He's also directed the cursed production of the 3rd and last "Poltergeist" movie. He had to reshoot the ending due to the mysterious death (misdiagnosed intestinal stenosis) of little Heather O'Rourke. He also directed the "video nasty", "Dead And Buried" (written by Dan O'Bannon, who supposedly disowns the film). I haven't seen it yet, but I believe is still available on Netflix instant.

....Oooh Baby I love Raw Meat....

look at her kool outfit! 

looks like he got hit with a nuclear strawberry pie

   Here in "Raw Meat", we follow young couple Alex (David Ladd), who's American, and his cute British girlfriend Patricia (Sharon Gurney), who sports a goofy Jane Fonda "Klute" era haircut. Upon taking the London Underground public transportation tube one night, they find a man sprawled along the stairs. Alex dismisses the man as another drunk that's usually passed by back home on New York City's streets. His girlfriend snaps back, "This is not New York!". I guess us American's are pretty cruel to our fellow man, huh? They grab the nearest cop after boarding an elevator (or "lift") and have him help investigate the down-for-the-count man. After returning to the scene on the stairwell, the man is suddenly missing. Where did he go? This sets off a series of strange disappearances and murders. It's set to some fantastic Moog driven electronic music by Wil Malone and Jeremy Rose. Malone also did some of the music for the gawd awful "punk" film, "Jubilee", I hated that movie! Well, hate's a strong word. I've only watched it once and barely remember it. 

if there was any doubt about Alex being an America, you can be reminded through the decor in his apartment

where's my Celestial Seasonings?! 

   From various sources, I've read that "Meat" is about a race of cannibals. I totally missed that part. Maybe I zoned out for a minute? I kinda wonder sometimes on movie reviews if writers just copy off one another, or they actually watch the film beginning to end. Sometimes movies can be hard to read, plot points happen quickly, or are not thoroughly or easily explained. From what I gathered, we have a "man" hunting helpless people on the "tube" and dragging them down to his lair. His dead pregnant wife lies on a bed and they're surrounded by rotting corpses in his dimly lit space. They're supposed to be long gone tunnel workers who were trapped underground from a cave-in (from what I read online). I didn't actually witness "the man" eat anyone so I'm not sure about the cannibalistic aspect of it. (OK, there's clearly rotting hands and meat by their beds that they've been feasting on... I'm thinking you fell asleep during the review. Crank the editor)!
   Donald Pleasence plays the detective hired to solve this oddball case. He's shown many times, drinking and complaining about teas like a giant scary baby. It's hard to tell if he's even any good at his job because it doesn't seem like he does much to figure out what the hell's going on. I like the scene where he get drunk ( or "pissed", we are in London) while his buddy plays a flat topped pinball machine littered with empty beer glasses.

I'm pissed off my rocker

I can't help but picture the director looking like Gary Shandling 

   This is probably one of those films that reveals more with repeated viewings. Most of it has weak lighting, and it's hard to tell what's going on exactly sometimes, especially since it mostly takes place at night or underground. Oddly enough, Christopher Lee has top billing cast-wise in many of the incarnations of this film's posters, but if you blink for a split second, you miss his appearance. I hate it when famous actors are placed front and center as a shoddy attempt to sell more tickets or video copies. A good example is horror film, "Alice Sweet Alice" which a lot of times has Brooke Shields name up top, but she's hardly in it. The same goes for the super fun, "Trick Or Treat" which changed their DVD covers to display large photos of Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons, even though they both make hilarious 2 second cameos and neither's music is featured.

from the super psychedelic opening credit sequence

Brooke Sheilds? Pffft! A slap in the face to the real star, Paula Sheppard, who convincingly played a 12 year old while in her 20s! Recommended!

haha, terrrrrible

one of the many awesome posters for "Trick Or Treat". It stars Skippy from "Family Ties" and Tony Fields (who was a Solid Gold dancer!) is the evil Sammi Curr. Highly recommended! 

I give "Raw Meat" 3 stars, or whatever funny rating system we're going for here. Unfortunately, the Netflix instant boat for this has sailed away, so you'll probably have to order it online if you'd like to take a gander at all the British slang and bloody bodies in a dark tunnel. If you have a DVD account with them, by all means rent it to see it for yourself. I haven't checked Amazon Prime or Hulu. There's way too many places to watch movies. haha

Original poster design for "Death Line"/"Raw Meat". Open in a new page to read the description towards the top. 

Watch HERE
Read Roger Ebert's hilarious review HERE


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