New on a double feature DVD from Frolic Pictures; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
THE DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1974)
aka PEOPLETOYS, TANTRUMS, THE HORRIBILE HOUSE ON THE HILL
Directed by Sean MacGregor, David Sheldon
Written by Sandra Lee Blowitz, John Durren, Dylan Jones
Starring Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Taylor Lacher, Joan McCall, Shelley Morrison, Carolyn Stellar, John Durren, Leif Garrett, Gail Smale, Dawn Lyn, Tierre Turner, Tia Thompson, Henry Beckman
Doing a bit of research on this film, THE DEVIL TIMES FIVE had a pretty tough production. Multiple directors, rewrites, long lags in production. In one instance, young actor Leif Garrett had long brown hair, but because the production took so long, he had to start another project and cut his hair short. So in later takes, he wears a really bad brown wig. Somehow, though, this film was completed and with some elbow grease and some “go with the flow” mentalities, THE DEVIL TIMES FIVE ended up being a pretty shocking and twisted little forgotten gem.
A vehicle transporting five mentally unstable kids from one facility to the another crashes due to heavy snow and terrible roads, killing the driver and freeing the kids to wander onto the property of a wealthy businessman and his horrible family. Playing the cute kid card only gets the kids in the door, but as they say, “You can’t hide crazy for too long.” So the kids begin killing the entire family one by one.
This is simply one weird little monkey of a movie. You got six kids, each with a weirdness or oddity going on with them. One kid is a military buff and uses tactical survival traps to kill. Another is an albino posing as a nun who is creepy as all get out. Another is a pyro and still another simply wants to make adults into her own little dolls. Finally, we have Leif Garrett himself who doesn’t like to lose at games and dresses up as a girl in order to replace the wife of one of the adults. It’s the kind of off-kilter view on what crazy is that can only come from the grindhouse 70’s. Seeing these kids wreak havoc on the family is satisfying because the adults themselves are so unlikable—all of them gathered around the patriarch in hopes of getting a piece of his business and money. It’s even got Leif Garrett and Dawn Lyn’s birth mother Carolyn Stellar as the horny wife of the businessman who wants to fuck or fight everyone in the house.
THE DEVIL TIMES FIVE is a ludicrous film. It’s got twisted characters doing twisted things. It’s got piranhas, swingsets with blades, and human snowmen. The acting is hardly passable but effective. It’s even got Sorrell Brooke—better known as Boss Hogg from THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. But somewhere in this film, there’s an unusually compelling story and some beats that are morbid but absolutely memorable. Seek this one out!
Frolic Films has lumped this film together with THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS in one glorious Grindhouse experience full of trailers for other films, old time commercials featuring Don Knotts and soup, and the whole thing plays together as one long double feature as if you were pulling up into a drive-in in your parents’ station wagon or sitting with your cutie trying to cop a feel in your teenage piece of shit car. It’s an incredibly fun way of presenting these types of cheesy films and I hope Frolic Pictures continues to put these pairings out with this much time and care put into them.
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