Raw Meat (1973)

This actually isn’t the first time I’ve written up Raw Meat, the film we chose for the 15th day of 31 Days of Horror. When I started this blog ages ago, my intent was to only write up schlocky shit shows. In my experience, muddling through a bunch of crappy horror films is kind of a tough job; I’ve definitely watched more worthless pieces of crap than hidden gems in my day. But, the hidden gems are so great that I thought it would be worthwhile to act as a resource for dorks like myself to find out whether or not a b-movie was good enough to gamble on. Then I watched Raw Meat, wrote up what I thought was a stupid post, deleted it and didn’t write again for three years or so. That’s a long way to get the point across that I wish I hadn’t deleted that post, because writing a post a day for October is getting tough! But I’m gonna power through guys, I’m gonna do my best!

Patricia returns to her cold-hearted American boy after a lover's quarrel.

Patricia returns to her cold-hearted American boy after a lover’s quarrel.

Alex and Patricia are a young couple in love hitching a ride home on the London Underground. Alex is an American asshole who doesn’t want to help a possibly dying man passed out on the stairs; just a drunk, he says. Patricia is a kindlier Brit, who insists they inform security of the sick man. After rushing back, security in tow, the mysterious man is gone. They checked his wallet to make sure he wasn’t a diabetic (“they have cards, you know”) so at least they know the guy’s name; and this guy wasn’t just your Average Joe. What would an OBE be doing passed out on the steps of a subway station, or taking the subway at all? At least that’s the first question Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence) asks the troubled couple.

Donald Pleasance enjoys a cuppa.

Donald Pleasence enjoys a cuppa.

But Calhoun knows the couple haven’t done anything wrong. No, something much darker and more disturbing is going on in London’s subway system. Calhoun has a hunch it may have something to do with an abandoned construction project from years ago; the private company funding the operation went bankrupt right at the moment when an avalanche trapped its workers, both men and women, underground. They couldn’t afford to save the workers, and the station, in the end, was never built. Instead, what became the Underground known today was built atop it. There couldn’t still be survivors, could there? That would be impossible, right?

She couldn't be happy underground.

She couldn’t be happy underground.

Wrong, of course: turns out the forgotten workers had turned into plagued Morlocks. The last of their clan just lost the soon-to-be mother of his child, and he’s hungry for blood – and for a new mate! If only Alex hadn’t left Patricia alone in that tube station…

Raw Meat is a surprisingly good little horror flick, though I must say it was not as good the second time around. I think that’s all because my expectations were so damn low the first time I saw it that I was totally surprised it was a competently made movie. The next time around I was showing it to Q, and usually when I’m showing a movie to someone I get super-critical about it: ‘does this person like this movie?,’ ‘Gosh, that scene was too long!’ or ‘god damn this movie is trying really hard to make Donald Pleasence look like a quirky cop!’

Did I forget to mention Christopher Lee's cameo? I guess that's 'cause it's literally like two-minutes long.

Did I forget to mention Christopher Lee’s cameo? I guess that’s ’cause it’s literally like two-minutes long.

In the end, Raw Meat is definitely worthwhile, but of course I’d say that; it’s a film about a bunch of forgotten workers who died doing their job, all at the hands of the greedy corporation that put them there in the first place. Those that didn’t die survived to become the terror of the urbanites riding the very system built over their living graves! A pretty great idea for a horror film, but the execution is a bit lacking. The story is slow in parts, particularly the scenes underground. It’s clear that the filmmakers are very proud of their make-up and special effects departments, but the scenes are so dark, sometimes it’s hard to make it out. Perhaps the blu-ray looks a bit better than the DVD version I’ve got. Either way, it’s definitely a perfect candidate for any Halloween party!


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