US release poster under US title
|Directed by||Gary Sherman|
|Produced by||Paul Maslansky|
|Written by||Gary Sherman|
|Running time||87 min|
Death Line is a 1972 British horror film, distributed as Raw Meat in the United States. The film stars Donald Pleasence as Inspector Calhoun, and was directed by the American filmmaker Gary Sherman.
A family of cannibals descended from Victorian railway workers, who were buried alive during construction, 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. Donald Pleasence and Norman Rossington star as the investigating police officers. At the climax, when finally cornered and with his wife and the last of his family members dead from disease, the cannibal screams a corrupted form of "Mind the doors!", having picked it up parrot-fashion from the guards on the Underground trains.
Christopher Lee appears as a shady MI5 agent whom the detectives meet during their investigation.
- 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 Dr. 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
The disused British Museum tube station was 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 Pleasence's character and a colleague. Signs in the abandoned station also state "Museum" as the name. Location filming took place at both Holborn and the now disused Aldwych station.
Ramsey Campbell, in a review cut from The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, but reprinted later, calls Death Line "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".