Raw Meat (1972)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres: Cannibal Film, Horror
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Gary Sherman Gary Sherman
Donald Pleasence Donald Pleasence
Norman Rossington Norman Rossington
David Ladd David Ladd
Sharon Gurney Sharon Gurney
Hugh Armstrong Hugh Armstrong

6.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 11, 2007
Talk about disappointment. I was doing some random horror movie shopping when I came across this little beauty from 1972, "Raw Meat". The cover is probably one of the most awesome DVD covers I can remember seeing before and it looked even more intriguing because it starred Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee. So, I dropped the $6.99 on the film and decided to give it a shot, a classic from the MGM vaults.

The film is about a group of diggers, at the turn of the century, getting caved in and being forced to resort to forms of cannibalism for survival. They have lived beneath the railway in London for years now. When the last of the eatable survivors dies off, the leader of the last family must surface for food -- by now, they have all been turned into nasty, blood thirsty, ravenous creatures, and all they want is human flesh. Donald Pleasence and Norman Rossington play the two detectives trying to get to the bottom of the matter. Hugh Armstrong plays the cannibal man who lives beneath the rails and goes around mumbling 'Mind the doors'.

The film looks extremely low budget. From what I've read, director Gary Sherman couldn't get funding for the film in his hometown of Chicago, so he took the film to London, where he knew the British were always up for laying down money on a horror film. However, it doesn't look like they gave him much. With an idea this original and a team of actors this impressive, you'd think something more solid would have come of this. Instead, we get some rather lame dialogue, some pretty predictable set-ups and villains who are not really villains, and are nowhere near as creepy as the cover of the DVD suggests. That was my biggest disappointment.

The film bares some remarkable resemblances to Neil Marshal's "The Descent", but only in very subtle ways. I am betting Marshal was somewhat influenced by this film, but he formulated a new story and completely ran with it and made his film a hell of a lot better than the original. They should have played more on the cannibal creatures and the way they lived and definitely played more on the rails, because they look absolutely creepy. "Raw Meat" is one of those 'forgotten' classics that is probably forgotten for a reason. However, I can't totally hate it because Donald Pleasence really does deliver a fine performance, as always. I recommend checking this film out just to give you a taste of horror cinema back in 1972 in London. This film kind of sums it up. 5/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added 08/11/2007, 01:01 AM
I've never heard of this one, but your review got me interested. One thing I saw while doing a little research on it was that it was heavily edited for its US theatrical run and that the UK release was significantly different (and better). Would you happen to know which version is on the MGM DVD release? If it's the US version, is the UK version available on DVD?
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 08/11/2007, 01:04 AM
I downloaded the only version I could find on the net for reviewing purposes, and when I set out to watch it, it didn't have any audio. Bogus. I was really looking forward to it too. And even though Billy Ray didn't give it a ringing endorsement, I'm still anxious to see it, as our opinions differ in a lot of ways.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 08/11/2007, 01:49 PM
The version I saw was the UK version. I would be interested to see the difference between it and the U.S. version. Another bit of news is that there is supposedly a remake of this film in the works. Once again, it was an interesting premise, just not as well executed as I would have liked.
Chad #4: Chad - added 05/01/2011, 04:55 PM
Four years later, I actually watched it, and I liked it. It wasn't a perfect film, but there was a lot to love here, especially the cannibal's little "home" by the rails. Definitely some creepy stuff there, and yes, Pleasence was great. 7/10.
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