BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Death Line (1973) - Bu-ray Review

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Death Line - Blu-ray Review

5 beers“Mind the doors!” 

One of the most absolutely terrifying scenes in underground horror occurs about 30 minutes into Death Line (aka Raw Meat).  In a dingy, unused space of the London Underground network, we hear a bizarre moaning sound.  Maybe it’s sobbing.  The camera slowly – and I mean at a snail’s pace – shows us dismembered body parts scattered here and there across this killing floor.  Corpses are everywhere.  A loose finger.  An arm.  The moaning gets more and more audible as the freaky, chewed on body parts become clearer. 

At one point in the same location, a throat is slashed and blood, seeping from the wound, is fed to a dying woman.  Death Line is one fucked up movie without any ounce of pity taken upon its victims.  It also STILL works its macabre with the skill of a mad magician, as evidenced by this FANTASTIC blu-ray release from Blue Underground.  In fact, I’m not sure any amount of praise I can heap upon this cult classic will ever do it justice. 

Written and directed by American filmmaker Gary Sherman (Dead & Buried), Death Line goes for broke with its handling of gore and decay as the answer to where some missing passengers from Russell Square and Holborn stations are going is finally answered.  Starring Donald Pleasence as Inspector Calhoun and Norman Rossington as Detective Sergeant Rogers, the Scotland Yard detectives assigned to investigate a politician and beautiful woman’s disappearance down on the Underground’s platform never suspected the answer to their questions would spring forth from a bygone era.

We get hints and clues in the discussion as the mystery involving the politician’s fate is expanded upon by the hilarity and arrogance of Calhoun, but nothing could prepare audiences for the realization that what lives below the street is the result of a freak accident occurring many years ago.  It’s a disturbing sequence of events with an even more disturbing freak at its center. 

Along the way to getting the truth, the detectives sort of “partner up” with those from previous encounters with those missing souls.  An American college student, David Ladd as Alex Campbell, and his girlfriend, Sharon Gurney as Patricia Wilson, wind up getting involved when they discover a body on the platform.  They go from suspects to slasher bait in a relatively quick amount of time.

Expertly realized on film thanks to the piercing eye of cinematographer Alex Thomson (Excalibur, Legend) the demented scenes of cannibalism – aided by a neo jazz score by Wil Malone – almost come across as mythical in scope and impact.  There’s terror at almost every turn when in the company of the cannibal who is simply known as The Man (Hugh Armstrong) at the center of this demented tale.  And that tense score – full of electronic squawks and thundering bass lines – does not make anyone think clearer.

But what is TRULY happening is beyond imaginable as the present day (circa 1973 London) comes face to face with the railway’s immediate history involving a whole line of Victorian railroad workers who somehow survived a tragedy.  Time may have forgotten them, but they’ve not forgotten ANYTHING.  And The Man’s view of the world is as bleak as the lantern light that guides him down in the depths of unused railway lines.  His is a sad existence; a hopeless and horrible tale of shadows and blood that, once seen, few people EVER forget. 

Blue Underground tackles the release of this cult classic with an understanding of just how raw and twisted this horror film is.  The film has been transferred in 2K and restored from the original camera negative.  It is a gritty film and is especially explicit on this release, which is also loaded with NEW supplemental materials produced especially for Blue Underground’s release..

Death Line, featuring a cameo from Christopher Lee, is now available to own on a blu-ray + DVD combo pack.  You might want to exit the Tube when you see all the death and destruction featured in the movie, but all Donald Pleasence wants is a cup of warm, bagless tea.  Help him acquire that, won’t you?

Make Death Line your final stop…just mind the doors!

Death Line - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
97 mins
Director
: Gary Sherman
Writer:
Ceri Jones
Cast:
Donald Pleasence, Norman Rossington, David Ladd
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men Nor Women...They Are the Raw Meat Of The Human Race!
Memorable Movie Quote: "A grocer from Kilburn is automatically a missing person..."
Theatrical Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September, 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 27, 2017
Synopsis: When a prominent politician and a beautiful young woman vanish inside a London subway station, Scotland Yard's Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence of HALLOWEEN) investigates and makes a horrifying discovery. Not only did a group of 19th century tunnel workers survive a cave-in, but they lived for years in a secret underground enclave by consuming the flesh of their own dead. Now the lone descendant of this grisly tribe has surfaced, prowling the streets for fresh victims... and a new mate.

Death Line - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Blue Underground
Available on Blu-ray
- June 27, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Blue Underground presents this haunting tale of cannibalism and putrid decay on blu-ray with fabulous results.  As most of the film is shot in dark and twisted tunnels, it is important to note just how vibrant the black levels are throughout.  Edges are clear and varied.  Colors are strong.  And the 2K restoration is a bravo move.  The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and preserves the cinematic look of the film with a new crispness that used to be lost to time.  Well, no more!  The film looks bloody brilliant.  The DTS-HD Mono / Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is engaging and robust.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  There’s a riveting commentary provided by Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman, Producer Paul Maslansky, and Assistant Director Lewis More O'Ferrall which – as it has all of the main ingredients in how it was brought to the screen – ought to whet your appetite for information about this cult classic. 

Special Features:

Blue Underground continues their stellar handling of cult classics and b-movies with this release.  Full of NEW supplemental materials, this release proves to be both important and interesting.  As a bonus, there is a collectable booklet featuring new writing by Michael Gingold and Christopher Gullo.

  • 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
  • Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Poster & Still Gallery

Death Line - Blu-ray Review

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