deathline1

London Underground: Death Line

Date/Time
Date(s) - Thu. Apr. 9, 2015
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Location
The Horse Hospital

Instructor
Kim Newman

Admission
£10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs

TICKETS: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/312733 

Kim Newman will screen and talk about Gary Sherman’s 1972 British horror film, Death Line (aka Raw Meat), one of the first British horror films to compete with the wave of stronger, more politicised American splatter movies that came in the wake of Night of the Living Dead.

A series of disappearances on the London Underground Railway are traced back to the inbred, cannibal descendants of navvies trapped by a cave-in during the building of the tunnels. A human monster (Hugh Armstrong) who looks like a scabrous tramp haunts the Piccadilly Line, picking off and eating the odd commuter, trying to keep alive his diseased wife. Tea‑drinking copper Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence) is called into the case with his sidekick sergeant (Norman Rossington) when the latest victim (James Cossins) turns out to be a high-ranking civil servant fresh from a neon-lit sleaze spree in Soho, and has to cut through bureaucratic red tape (represented by Christopher Lee in a bowler hat). Meanwhile, down in the tunnels, the last of the monsters lives out his pathetic, horrid leftover life, expressing himself through the only words he knows, ‘mind the doors’. It includes a wonderful, apparently improvised drunk scene from Pleasence and a breathtaking 360º pan around the cannibals’ dripping, dank, corpse-strewn underground lair.

Less makeshift than a lot of its rivals from the 1970s, it has solid, witty dialogue, a memorably funky music score and the sort of urban legend premise that people will swear is based on truth rather than new-minted for the movie. American writer-director Gary Sherman also made the cloying New Seekers ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ ads, and used his share of the fee from that to finance this gutsy, gritty debut. The discussion will highlight the film’s political subtext, transgressive use of cannibalism as metaphor and for shock value, black humour, performance styles, relationship with American and other British films on similar subjects (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Frightmare) and exploration of London lore and locations. The Horse Hospital is just round the corner from Great Russell Street Station, so attendees who come by tube will pass through the film’s main setting before and after the class.

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