Monday, May 2, 2011

Cannibalistic Underground British Tunnel Dwellers

Considering that both are considered cult classics, its really no surprise that a couple weeks back TCM showed Strange Behavior and Raw Meat back to back. Thanks to Rowland I heard of both, and I think both get the same rating. Now Raw Meat has some rather obvious allegorical references, and the movie could have gone a bit further with some of its political/social commentary. At the same time, that would detract from the fact that its a fairly solid, creepy film that smartly utilizes violence and gore that results in the audience getting moments that are rather shocking, and thus have an effect on the viewer.

Elements of the main cannibal's behavior almost reminded me of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and thus I wonder if Tobe Hooper wasn't a bit influenced by this movie. Only one jump scare is even used, which is a good thing, especially since that moment actually freaked me out quite a bit. I loved how many scenes were not underscored by music, as the tunnels are rather creepy. The drip drip sounds and the echoing footsteps would be enough to drive anyone down there crazy, and I'm glad there isn't anything to ruin such moments.

Having also recently seen Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, with its keystone cops, I have to wonder if it was in fact 70s horror that established the eventual cliche of "The police are powerless to deal or handle some incredible evil they've never seen before." Donald Pleasance, who sadly later became type casted, gives his character a funny and grumpy persona that has a rather oddly calm manner, considering that he's dealing with a murderous underground dweller running amok. I'm not even sure why Christopher Lee is in this movie, as he only has one scene and doesn't even do much. Perhaps he was on contract for the studio, which was common in those days with many famous horror movie actors.

Despite some of its notable faults (I think the film could have been a bit scarier, and they could have pushed the envelope more), this is one is a hidden gem. I'm glad that Netflix had it on Instant Viewing, as the transfer looked good (although on full screen it was a bit blurry), and this movie is another reason to love 70s horror. Its a unique gem, original and worthy of note, and another reason why 70s horror is the best: the 80s would have turned this into a dumb slasher movie, and the 60s wouldn't have gone far enough. 82

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