Wednesday, October 16, 2019

sores on the doors.

Off to 'The London' this weekend for a whistle-stop tour so spent the last few days trying to figure out how to actually get around the place seeing as the entire transport system seems to have been designed by a madman.

I've got to get the underground a fair bit so been researching routes etc so decided that it'd be a good idea to rewatch a few films that feature it.

Good move.

Death Line (AKA Raw Meat 1972).
Dir: Gary Sherman.
Starring: Donald Pleasence, David Ladd, Christopher Lee, James Cossins, Sharon Gurney, Hugh Armstrong and Clive Swift.

Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men Nor Women...They Are the Raw Meat Of The Human Race...or UKiP as we now know them.

Dirty old Tory politician - is there any other kind? -  James Manfred (professional TeeVee posh bloke Cossins) is cruising London's seedy Soho in the hope of scoring some sordid sexiness with a 'lady' after a hard day cutting disability benefit and taxing the dead.

Alas even the scummiest prostitutes have told him to fuck off.

My heart bleeds.

Realizing he's onto plums (his own) Manfred sulks off to Russell Square underground to await a train home only to decide to throw caution to the wind and try to use his charms one final time on a young woman standing on the platform.

Unluckily - for him - a reply consisting of a swift knee to the nuts puts paid to that idea and leaves him stumbling about like a drunk, chinless penguin as, to add insult to injury the woman proceeds to steals his wallet.

I love her already, pity she wont be back really.

You know how they say trouble always comes in threes? - as opposed to in your mooth obviously - well in this case it's true as now sooner is Manfred back on his feet whilst gently cupping his tiny cock and balls when he's violently attacked by a stinky tramp with a fishy beard.

A bad night all round then, except for the young woman of course she's quids in.

"Hello French Polishers? Yes this is the same caption as yesterday why do you ask?"

It's about now that we get to meet the folk who will be our heroes for the duration of the film in the form of the groovy young couple, Alex (Ladd - annoyingly big haired and American) and Trish (Gurney - annoyingly cute brunette and English) who find the Manfred man face down on the stairs covered in blood, egg and semen.

Alex, thinking the guy is pissed ignores him tho' caring Trish insists on telling the station manager but, on returning with a policeman, Manfred has gone.

Being a prominent MP, a missing persons case is opened led by the very grumpy, tea obsessed Inspector Calhoun (Pleasence) who, being one of those typical 70s horror movie cops in the mold of the booze soaked bigot Inspector Barry B'stard in The Living Dead at The Manchester Morgue decides to blame the whole thing on Alex due to him having long hair.

Undeterred Alex and Trish now obsessed with the disappearance - well there's fuck all else for them to do - decide to start some investigating of their own, soon discovering that in 1892 the roof of a newly constructed underground tunnel collapsed trapping the (mixed sex) workers underground.

The local council, being tight bureaucratic types and in order to save cash left them all there to rot.

Where's Dominic Littlewood when you need him?

Inside Boris Johnson's mind.

In a scary twist of fate tho', a few survived and have been living in the tunnels ever since, feeding on the flesh of unfortunate travelers inbetween rutting away like pigs in the dark.

Exactly like that family that used to live at the bottom of your street when you were younger.

Unfortunately (tho' I bet the make-up team breathed a sigh of relief) years of inbreeding and a diet of pikeys means that there are now only two left,  the aforementioned stinky bearded tramp man and his even stinkier (and also possibly bearded) pregnant missis.

Alas things aren't really going well for this 70's version of Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling as mishap after disaster seems to befall them at every turn culminating in the poor lady-tramp dying during childbirth.

It's a wee bit like Brexit but slightly eggier.

Distraught yet still feeling - and smelling - fruity our shambly shmuck decides it's time to search for another woman to share his underground love nest.

Can you guess who he's set his sights on?

Clue: it's not Donald Pleasence.

She may look happy now but just wait till the tramp buggery starts.

A veritable classic of the cannibal genre, Gary Sherman's stunning debut feature is an undisputed influence on such movies as An American Werewolf in London, (the virtual remake) Creep and quite possibly every other underground-based bloodbath since.

From the (genuinely) spooky premise to the perfect moments of comedy (mostly from Donald Pleasence) this skewed American take on London life never hits a wrong note, it's at once wonderfully weird yet comfortably traditional with pitch perfect performances topped off with a proto-Soft Cell sleazy synth score from Wil Malone* that was just made for groping your gran to.

Trust me I know.

Put it in me!

And the sparkling diamond in this rough n' ready yet strangely magical mix?

That'll be Hugh Armstrong as the 'cannibal man', he takes what could be a one dimensional bogeyman and turns him into a believable and tragic victim of circumstance - his cry of "Mind the doors!" is his only way to communicate, whether it be at the tear jerking death of his mate or his fumbling attempts at seduction with Trish, the moaning broken voice is both tragic and terrifying.

And maybe, just maybe a wee bit sexy if you're in the right frame of mind.

Rats in mah mooth!

Sherman's direction is second to none - lingering and atmospheric he's not afraid to slowly build tension and confident enough to litter the movie with some fantastically macabre comic touches that he builds on in his later movies like the darkly disturbing Dead And Buried.

One of the greatest (yet most overlooked) gems of British horror.


*Not Gareth unfortunately.

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