Sunday, 31 July 2011

Less Than Animals

In 1892, a dozen construction workers digging out the London Underground were cut off from the surface by an accident. Lacking the funds or the inclination to rescue them, the powers that be simply left them to their fate, little realising that they would survive and, due to a propitious ratio of female workers, thrive, running to several generations. Inbreeding took its toll, of course, as did the need to cannibalise each other for food. By 1972, there were only two savage, degraded creatures left and then, when his mate died, a sole male remained, a hairy, dirty, sore ridden monster who treated the outside world and the people in it as a Takeaway and could only gasp three human words: 'Mind The Doors'.

Based on a true story (no, not really), 'Death Line' (re-titled as 'Raw Meat' in the US) is actually very good. It suffers from an uneven tone, and several underground scenes where its too dark to see what's happening, but it has plenty to recommend it: a hilariously sarcastic turn from Donald Pleasance, some gory killings, bags of pathos, James Cossins as an OBE who frequents strip clubs, location shooting at Holborn and Aldwych stations, an extremely original premise and great, strange music from Wil Malone. 

Little seen at the time of release due to a poor distribution deal, this little gem very occasionally shows up on late night telly but, happily, was finally released on UK DVD in 2006. My thanks to The Happiness Patrol for the gen.

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