ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Death Line - Blu-ray review
By James Whittington, Sunday 23rd September 2018

Death Line blu-ray cover

Death Line

Network

Certificate 18

The 1970s, a time of wood-chip wallpaper, the faded dreams of flower power and industrial change. Britain was experiencing three-day weeks, power shortages and general misery. Cinema reflected this depressing time and none more so than Death Line. This gritty, grimy, gory piece is rightly regarded as a classic and Network have given it a transfer that gives it a new lease of life.

When a philandering politician goes missing on the London Underground, the subsequent police investigation uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden since the 1800s. Who - or what - is turning the Underground tunnels into a Death Line..? Released as Raw Meat in America, Death Line is the sort of movie Hammer should have tried making as its film business production ground to a halt. Its atmospheric, has an idiosyncratic tone throughout and delivers on the violence. The movie captures the seedy side of London at the start of the 70s, the way it lacked definition resembling a cheap, dilapidated version of New York in desperate need of a revamp. Its all neon with peeling paint and bland colour schemes, a place where bowler hatted gentlemen get their questionable kicks and those above the law only need an OBE after their name.

First time director Gary Sherman shows great confidence, slowly building up the tension with long tracking shots and solid character development. He also handles acting legends Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee perfectly, allowing their two-dimensional characters to fully develop. Adding to this one of the sleaziest scores ever to accompany a horror movie and you've got an almost perfect mix.

The supporting cast are a tad flat and some of the dialogue is a bit dated, but the film is saved by a tight running time and some cracking set-pieces which, for their time were considered very strong. The sequences in the underground tunnels are huge fun, look out the infamous "spade in the head" shot! By the way, the film retains its "Certificate X" card from the BBFC at the start which for some reason sent a bit of retro chill down my spine.

The transfer is superb, for a film shot in 1972. Taken from original film elements it looks as if it could have been made yesterday. It has a deep range of shades that retain plenty of detail in the many darker sequences. The soundtrack is fine though some of the dialogue is a bit shrill, but I think this is due to how it was recorded rather than anything else.

Extras include Mind the Doors!: an interview with Hugh Armstrong, limited edition collectible booklet written by Laura Mayne, Theatrical Trailer, Image Gallery and PDF Material.

Death Line is an important film as it brought a much-needed rawness to British horror cinema, thus breathing life into a dying genre.


Related show tags: 4 STARS
MORE ARTICLES
New Black Label titles from 101 Films
Posted in News, Wednesday 17th July 2019
Rabid 1977The next two titles on the 101 Films Black Label will be released in August and September. A pair of gruesome cult horrors; one a David Cronenberg classic, and the other a lost gem from the early '90s. Both titles are presented in Limited Edition versions with slipcase and booklet, limited to 3000 units.

On 26th August get set for Rabid (1977), David Cronenberg's early classic, stacked with extras, including a brand new feature-length documentary and an audio commentary with the Soska Sisters... and on 23rd September a UK debut on any format for Skinner (1993), starring Ted Raimi as the eponymous serial killer, in a film that was quite literally lost for several years.

Rabid is the enduringly te...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest fave Big Bad Wolves finally coming to HD
Posted in Frightfest, News, Wednesday 17th July 2019
Big Bad Wolves cover

101 Films presents Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's Big Bad Wolves (2013), a brutal and unpredictable thriller that addresses the perils of victimhood and the consequences of vengeance.

A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

Released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, this release includes Last Night at the Empire: Big Bad Wolves at FrightFest, a brand new documentary on the background a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Important information for Freeview viewers in south and central Wales
Posted in News, Tuesday 16th July 2019
Horror Channel fans living in parts of south and central Wales using the Freeview platform please take note that TV signals in this area will be updated on Wednesday 17th July and you may need to retune on this date.

If you are still missing services after completing a full retune, or would like more information, visit the Freeview website or call the Freeview Advice Line free on 0808 100 0288 for assistance.

SHARE: READ MORE
Man of a Thousand Faces will appear in HD in October
Posted in News, Saturday 13th July 2019

One screen legend pays homage to another in Man of a Thousand Faces, an enthralling biopic which sees Oscar-winning tough guy James Cagney give a multifaceted portrayal of silent cinema legend Lon Chaney. This classic is being released onto Blu-ray on 28th October thanks to Arrow Academy.

In early horror classics such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of The Opera, Lon Chaney captivated audiences with his vivid personifications of grotesque and afflicted characters. His extraordinary make-up skills, and miraculous ability to completely transform into grisly yet sympathetic and tragic monsters, garnered him international acclaim and the famous moniker of this fil...

SHARE: READ MORE
Asylum - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 13th July 2019
Asylum
Second Sight Films
Certificate 15

When you read that a film has the writer Robert Bloch (Psycho) and been directed by Roy Ward Baker your interest will be pricked. When you also learn it's from Amicus the you know it's a "must have" purchase. This is exactly what Asylum is, a cracker of an anthology movie which has been given the special HD treatment thanks to those lovely people at Second Sight Films.

Asylum boasts an all-star cast including Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse and Charlotte Rampling each who play this bizarre but entertaining movie perfectly straight. This was the fifth portmanteau film from Amicus and is a fine and beaut...

SHARE: READ MORE
The House that Dripped Blood - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 13th July 2019
The House that Dripped Blood
Second Sight Films
Certificate 15

Amicus was famous for its anthology movies, and The House that Dripped Blood was one of their most famous ones. It contains a few good scares, as well as more than its fair share of in-jokes and homages to horror cinema's past. Written by Psycho author Robert Block and directed by newcomer Peter Duffell, the film boasts the usual Amicus star line-up coupled with some great set designs and an over enthusiastic score. Oh, a spoiler here, there's no blood!

Scotland Yard's Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in four tales...

SHARE: READ MORE
Sponsored by Horror, catch Marina Sirtis starring in the play Dark Sublime.
Posted in News, Friday 12th July 2019
Dark Sublime Banner

Making her West End debut, Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) is starring in the acclaimed play Dark Sublime from Michael Dennis. Supported by Arts Council England and sponsored by Horror Channel, the production is running at Trafalgar Studios, London.

The piece concerns Oli who arrives at the door of Marianne (Sirtis), a fading jobbing actress. He's impatient to make an impression, to make a friend. Marianne knows about waiting - for her turn at something more substantial than a half-remembered role on a cult TV show, for her best friend to see her differently. As Oli forces her back into the past, and a strange, outrageous world she hasn't visited in almos...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest reanimates its "New Blood" search for new writers
Posted in Frightfest, News, Wednesday 10th July 2019

With FrightFest entering its 20th year, the search is set to resume for new writers in the horror genre. For the third year running, New Blood reunites FrightFest with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures with its mission to find emerging UK-based writers dedicated to the genre and nurture their projects from script to screen. Queensbury is ultimately interested in buying the finished script rather than the idea, and so, this year all successful final candidates if selected should be able to send even a rough draft of the first ten pages of their script through with their acceptance.

Already the scheme has delivered one new project Broadcast Signal Intrusion. Written by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall...

SHARE: READ MORE
The Blair Witch Project on the big screen thanks to Grimmfest and Horror
Posted in News, Sunday 7th July 2019

Grimmfest will be having a special 20th Anniversary screening of The Blair Witch Project on 35mm on July 24th at Plaza Cinema, Stockport and is being supported by Horror.

Unless you've been living in abandoned cabin in the woods for twenty years you'd know that The Blair Witch Project concerns three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

The movie showed the power of the internet, telling the world about this 'real-life' documentary style film with an incredible campaign, it also re-awakened the 'found-footage' sub-genre into the horror-sphere. Whilst the film was made for only...

SHARE: READ MORE
Relive those dog flashbacks in HD as The Hills Have Eyes Part II comes to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Saturday 6th July 2019
The Hills Have Eyes Pt 2

The hills are once again alive with the sound of screaming in Wes Craven's hugely entertaining follow-up to his own groundbreaking 1977 The Hills Have Eyes.

A motocross team on their way to trial a new super-fuel head out across the desert lead by Rachel, who, unbeknownst to the rest of the group, is a survivor of the cannibal clan which menaced the Carter family several years before. Opting to take an ill-advised shortcut across the desert, the busload of youngsters drive straight into the path of the remnants of Rachel's demented cannibal kin - the menacing Pluto, and a hulking, blood-hungry brute by the name of The Reaper.

Made by Wes Craven immediately prio...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hammer's Lust for a Vampire to rise on Blu-ray
Posted in News, Saturday 6th July 2019
Lust for a Vampire cover

The second in Hammer's racy and rapturous Karnstein Trilogy, Lust for a Vampire - directed by Jimmy Sangster (writer of the legendary Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein) - returns to wreck gloriously seductive horror once more. Bursting at the seams with lovingly put-together extras including a new featurette on Hammer in 1970, Lust for a Vampire will arrive on Blu-ray for the first time and DVD on 12th August.

In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful Mircalla (Youtte Stensgaard). The nearby Finishing School offers rich pickings not...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces 20th year record-breaking line-up
Posted in Frightfest, News, Thursday 4th July 2019
FrightFest 2019 Banner

The UK's biggest and boldest horror and fantasy film festival is celebrating its 20th bloody year. Since 2000 it has made its indelible mark, not only on the ever-burgeoning horror community but also on the UK genre landscape as a whole. The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre, its reinvention and its growing importance in the cultural landscape and this year is no exception.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from August 22nd - August 26th. Hosting a record-breaking seventy-eight films, embracing fourteen countries and spanning six continents, this year's...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Priest
PRIEST
Monday 22nd July
9.00 PM
Maggie
MAGGIE
Monday 22nd July
10.45 PM
Lost City Raiders
LOST CITY RAIDERS
Saturday 27th July
6.35 PM