Tuesday, February 07, 2012

RAW MEAT more fun than a barrel of corpses!

"Man the doors" is what is mumbled by the cannibal known as "The Man" played wonderfully by Hugh Armstrong who terrorizes a London subway stop in what looks like a Hammer Films hold-over which of course it isn't.

I had only briefly heard about this movie eons ago. It wasn't until I discovered it on Netflix and read up on it, that it peeked my interest further. I think DEATH LINE was a better title rather than the American title RAW MEAT which comes across more like a torture porn film than a cult classic like it is.

I didn't know what to expect, cannibals running amok in a London underground with Pleasence and Lee as the leads, sign me up! Diving into this I was not only surprised about how fun it was, but the production value was incredible.

Donald Pleasence plays Inspector Calhoun who is a snarky fun character that is needed among the raw and disturbing setting that is the other half of this story. I found myself laughing quite a number of times with his comments to Norman Rossington who plays his side kick Det. Sergeant Rogers. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost must have seen this film growing up, watching Pleasance and Rogers' back and forth has eerie similarities to Pegg's and Frost's on-screen relationships in their films.

Christopher Lee shows up for about a nano second as a MI5 spook who tries to throw Pleasence off the case of a missing "OBE" played the great James Cossins, though he's in the film for less time than Lee is. Regardless, Lee's and Pleasence back and forth barbs are fun with Pleasence delivering the last line "Fuck off" to Lee under his breath.

We then jump to what is a decent into hell. Cinematographer Alex Thomson (EXCALIBUR, LEGEND ) takes us to the lair of the cannibals. We follow a long silent arduous journey through the labyrinth of tunnels and rotting corpses to find The Man weeping over his dying wife. The set pieces and atmosphere are incredible. Thomson's lighting only kisses the art direction, giving them enough textual and visceral life in creating a perfect unsettling experience for the viewer.

The other side to this story has our heroes played by David Ladd and Sharon Gurney who are the catalyst of this story. They are perfectly fine playing the "straight  man" roles and are needed of course to bring the story to fruition. But my money was on Pleasence, Rossington and Hugh Armstrong who knock this flick out of the park.

If you're looking for a classic Hammer style film or even just good fun, RAW MEAT delivers!