My dad once told me, “The only thing you need to worry about on the London underground is getting lost.” Watching Death Line when I was seven convinced me otherwise (although I don’t still think cannibals will drag me from the station).
With 270 station on its 250 mile span, the London underground is the biggest metro system outside Asia, the fourth biggest in the world. The railway has become an everyday part of Londoners lives, with over a billion people having used the underground in 2011 alone, and subsequently its location has been adapted to appear in many forms of popular culture. From The Jam’s “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” to Dumbledore’s knee scar, London’s underground has remained prominent in various forms of media, with film makers obliging to the same; whether existing as a scene or a central theme to the narrative.
Screenwriters and directors have exploited the enclosing structure for thematic and atmospheric device. Films that convey the underground as a key setting, rather than an incidental, regularly employ set pieces focused upon romance (usual surrounding the concept of one lover about distance themselves from the other by travel), suspense (possibly a pursuit) or a vehicle disaster. Other films of genres based outside of realism, notably science fiction and fantasy stories, focus on monsters and ghosts residing beneath the streets; the claustrophobia of the submerged platforms along with the foreboding voidness of the tunnels act as the perfect conditions for speculation to breed upon popular legends of hauntings and monsters.
The underground settings characteristics, confinement of its location underground, the uncertainness of the darkness and labyrinth nature of the structure itself, lend themselves to build tension and suspense allowing for storytellers to shock their audiences. This list defines, what I believe to be, the ten most shocking things that have happened in London’s underground on film.
Spoilers will follow.
This article was first posted on January 16, 2013