‘Mind the doors!!!’
Death Line is a 1972 British horror film directed by the American filmmaker Gary Sherman (Dead & Buried, Poltergeist III) from his own storyline. It was scripted by Ceri Jones and distributed as Raw Meat in the United States by American International Pictures (AIP).
The main cast is Norman Rossington (House of the Long Shadows), David Ladd, Sharon Gurney, Hugh Armstrong and James Cossins (Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb). Horror film icon Christopher Lee has a brief cameo role as a pompous member of MI5.
On August 27, 2018, Network is releasing Death Line remastered on Blu-ray.
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk
On June 27, 2017, Blue Underground issued the film on Blu-ray freshly transferred and fully restored in 2K from the original uncensored camera negative. Special features announced so far:
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman, Producer Paul Maslansky, and Assistant Director Lewis More O’Ferrall
- Tales From The Tube – Interview with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman and Executive Producers Jay Kanter & Alan Ladd Jr.
- From The Depths – Interview with Star David Ladd and Producer Paul Maslansky
- Mind The Doors – Interview with star Hugh Armstrong
- Death Line trailer
- Raw Meat trailer
- Raw Meat TV Spots
- Raw Meat Radio Spots
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Bonus Collectible Booklet featuring new writing by authors Michael Gingold and Christopher Gullo
A family of cannibals descended from Victorian railway workers continue to dwell in the disused lines of the London Underground tube network. The last member of the family frequently visits the neighbouring Russell Square and Holborn stations to pick off passengers for food, then takes them back to the gruesome ‘pantry’ at an incomplete station.
When the cannibal kidnaps and kills an important politician, he is hunted by a detective as well as an American college student and his English girlfriend who were the last to see the victim in the tube station…
” … we spend an inordinate time in the madman’s dark, dank and bloody lair – peering through the murk at the most revolting sights imaginable and wondering how such a sick and sick-making film ever came to be made.” The Daily Mail, 1972
” …it’s one of the few UK horrors of the period focusing squarely on the national heritage and identity, and its sophisticated, political themes – the (literal) collapse of Empire, class segregation and exploitation, and high-level corruption – were particularly relevant in the early 1970s, an era mired in financial and vice-based scandals.” Film4
“Death Line could be described as slight and underdeveloped, clocking in at a mere 84 minutes, but as an exercise in brutal and unusual horror it can’t easily be dismissed. An essential film for any horror fan looking for something extraordinary – and verging on arthouse – beyond the canonical classics. It’s certainly enough to make you look twice next time you’re on the Piccadilly line!” Glyn Jones, Fantastic Voyages
“One of the great British horror films, Death Line is a classic example of what Hellraiser director Clive Barker calls ’embracing the monstrous’ […] The film’s great achievement is in eliciting sympathy for a creature whose residual capacity for human feeling amidst such terrible degradation is ultimately more moving than horrifying.” Nigel Floyd, Time Out Film Guide
“It would not be inaccurate to describe Death Line as the British version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. They both feature inbred cannibals cut off from human society who are oddly sympathetic, and both are fairly gory movies that modern audiences might find tame in the context of their splatter-promising titles.” John Shelton, Bloody Good Horror
“an unusually bleak and harrowing horror film…very little in the film offers the audience any relief from the plight of the Man…The violence would be intolerable if it were not for the tragic dimensions of the film, but Hugh Armstrong’s performance is one of the greatest and most moving in horror films.” Ramsay Campbell, The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural
Main cast and characters:
- Donald Pleasence as Inspector Calhoun
- Norman Rossington as Detective Sergeant Rogers
- David Ladd as Alex Campbell
- Sharon Gurney as Patricia Wilson
- Hugh Armstrong as The Man
- June Turner as The Woman
- Clive Swift as Inspector Richardson
- James Cossins as James Manfred, OBE
- Heather Stoney as W.P.C. Alice Marshall
- Hugh Dickson as Doctor Bacon
- Jack Woolgar as Platform Inspector
- Ron Pember as Lift Operator
- Colin McCormack as Police Constable
- James Culliford as Publican
- Christopher Lee as Stratton-Villiers, MI5
Buy Network DVD from Amazon.co.uk
‘A Descent into the Underworld: Death Line’ article by Marcelle Perks, British Horror Cinema (Routledge, 2002)
The disused British Museum tube station is mentioned in the film, but it is not the station portrayed as being the cannibal’s home. The station in question is named “Museum” and is stated as being between Holborn and British Museum in a conversation between Inspectors Calhoun and Richardson. Signs in the abandoned station also state “Museum” as the name. Location filming took place at both Holborn and the now disused Aldwych station.