Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Devil Times Five|
Actors: Leif Garrett, Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Tierre Turner, Dawn Lyn
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
After their van overturns in the snowy Colorado mountains, five kids from a mental institution (including Leif Garrett) seek shelter at a fancy winter resort occupied by rich snob adults (Sorrell Booke, "Boss Hogg" from TH... more »
Code Red's DEVIL TIMES FIVE DVD
S. Nyland | Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains | 11/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my pet favorite films and frankly I was surprised to learn that an actual DVD release was in the works. DEVIL TIMES FIVE is another one of those long lost home video era cult favorites due to what poor taste the film seems to revel in. People often sneer when reading the premise of the film -- especially at the presence of cultural punching bag Leif Garrett -- but once you have seen it you cannot help but be somewhat charmed by it's wickedness.
THE PLOT: Five little psychopathic monsters en-route to a state run mental hospital for the criminally insane survive a horrifying bus accident in the California mountains. The tykes make their way across the frozen winter countryside and take up residence in a resort home owned by a local hospital magnate. They then proceed to terrorize, torture and murder the six adults on-hand in a single minded game to collect "People Toys" for a life sized playset up in the loft bungalow of the chalet's caretaker. Creepy, innapropriately entertaining and surprisingly well made, this is a highly recommended shocker for fans of low budget 1970s American horror.
Code Red's DVD is made from a brand new direct to digital transfer from the original negatives, and for anyone who is used to the somewhat murky fullframe VHS prints will be a revelation during some of the darker passages: You can pretty much see everything now. While I am not a big fan of the digital coloring process used to simulate the DeLuxe color process used (including light-through projection: it just doesn't look the same, ever) and am concerned that the LBX cropping to 1:78:1 (anamorphic, 16x9) may have resulted in some loss of information at the top and bottom, it's still a fabulous little DVD version that should suit fans well, and hopefully make some new ones.
The content of the film is about the same as what we know from the older VHS releases, with added bonus features of a theatrical trailer, an alternate opening sequence, and a photo gallery of advertisement art. There are also interview segments featuring some of the original participants and an optional commentary track as well. It's too bad that Leif Garrett -- who could probably have used the money -- was not able to participate due to scheduling conflicts beyond his ability to control (re: prison). Stay in school, kids.
Overall I give the DVD a 4/5. It's worth the money, and those old Media Ent. video tapes still have life yet, with the correct color and the original open matte 4:3 transfer. Some things in life are worth holding onto."
What's creepier than a psychopathic child? FIVE OF THEM!!!
C. Lockwood | Western, NY | 05/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a story of five stark raving mad children while on their way to a mental institute their bus crashes in the snowy mountains. The unaware three couples awaiting in a cabin that they thought was a vacation, have no idea what their in for when the satanic kids arrive. Of course the couples take in the ever so innocent little ones, and become the victims of a unknown evil.
Although the story starts out very slow, and the adult characters in the movie are over the top ignorant, and quite bad at acting, the children well make up for them in this film. They have a certain way of drawing the audience in, and scaring anyone who watches. You never find out why they are so crazy, which I guess is suppose to be meant for you to use your own imagination. It takes about an hour for anything really bad to happen, except for the killing of the mental institute employee. Once the brutal killings start they never let up. There are some unforgettable murder scenes,(like piranha's in the bathtub) that will leave you feeling like maybe you could pass on the idea of ever giving birth to demented little kids like these.
Even though Devil Times Five is not quite up there with movies like The Exorcist or Who Can Kill A Child, it still deserves to be in the horror collection. When evil corrupts innocence it becomes very scary indeed. Never underestimate the evil of a child or five. I recommend this for anyone who likes cult movies with children playing the villians. Is also a very low budget film."
All Time Worst
Horror Lady | 04/30/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is by far the worst low budget horror movie I have ever seen. It could fall into the "So Bad It's Good" category. It appears to have been filmed over a weekend with all scenes shot in one take. If you like bad B-Movies you will love it.
The extras with cast members make it worth watching. At least rent it to see what Dawn Lyn (Voted the worst child star of all time) looks like today. One can clearly see why Dawn is still called "The Queen Of Grunge". The best part of this entire DVD are the comments made by Miss Lyn. When asked about the movie she replies " I've never actually seen the movie" Let me get this straight she agrees to be interviewed on camera and discuss a movie that she's never seen. What did she think they were going to talk about the weather? She does recall a few vague memories although her look of utter confusion after every question is asked is priceless."
"I'm funny in the head...and I make them nervous."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the fact Devil Times Five (1974) aka The Horrible House on the Hill aka People Toys is an extremely inexpensive, independent feature comprised of footage shot during two, obviously separate shoots, and one that suffers from core issues, I still found it an ookie and entertaining nugget of exploitive horror that depicts what happens when five, young, homicidal sociopaths are accidentally released upon an unsuspecting public. Directed by Sean MacGregor (Gentle Savage), with additional scenes supplied by David Sheldon (Grizzly), the film features Taylor Lacher (Mr. Majestyk), Joan McCall (Grizzly), Carolyn Stellar (Cry Blood, Apache), and Gene Evans (Donovan's Brain). Also appearing is Sorrell `Boss Hogg' Booke ("The Dukes of Hazzard"), Shelley Morrison ("Will & Grace"), John Durren (The Gumball Rally), Gail Smale, Dawn `Dodie' Lyn ("My Three Sons"), Tierre Turner (Cornbread, Earl and Me), Tia Thompson, and 1970s child star Leif Garrett (Walking Tall Part II).
As the film opens we witness a number of things, the most substantial involving a boogie van with some children and a couple of adults careening off a snowy, California mountain road (the five children survive, while the adults, seemingly, aren't so lucky). After the accident the children wander through the snow and come upon a very large, isolated house owned by a self-made blowhard named Papa Doc (Evans), who happens to be vacationing with some family and business acquaintances. In attendance is Papa Doc's daughter Julie (McCall), her hair impaired boyfriend Rick (Lacher), Papa Doc's sleazy trophy wife Lovely (Stellar), who's actually Julie's stepmother, Papa Doc's sycophant Harvey Beckman (Booke), Harvey's boozy wife Ruth (Morrison), and a mentally defective man-child caretaker named Ralph (Durren), who comes off exactly like the character of Lennie from John Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men", even to the point where he takes care of some rabbits (I wouldn't have been surprised if he named one of them George). As far as the children go, there's creepy eyed Sister Hannah (Smale), who's the oldest, claims to be a novice nun, and acts somewhat as the leader, a black kid named Brian (Turner) who's apparently obsessed with the military (he even wears fatigues), Susan (Thompson), the resident pyromaniac, David (Garrett), a habitual liar with cross-dressing tendencies, and the youngest a little girl named Moe (Lyn), who's apparently a non-descript sort of nutty. Anyway, shortly after the seemingly harmless children are taken in various things start to happen like the phone going dead, the generator supplying the electricity going kaput, the rifles and kitchen cutlery going missing, along with an `accidental' death. The adults, being incredibly slow on the uptake, don't suspect the children at first, but soon realize the error of their ways once the homicide rate begins to rise...
One should probably know going into this film the first hour or so moves along very slowly, mostly because there's a lot of material involving the adults that doesn't really add anything to the actual plot. The last twenty minutes or so things do pick up, once the little weirdoes start seriously offing the adults. There was one painfully tedious sequence upfront and that involved an adult who actually survived the van accident following the children in an effort to keep them from committing harming others, as he obviously knew the danger should they come into contact with `normal' people. The children realize he's following them and set up a murderous ambush. The vicious attack scene, which was shot in slow motion and sepia tones, lasts a staggering six minutes (this may not seem like a lot but in movie time it's a huge chunk). As far as the story the main problem I had was with the children, specifically how they were able to easily deceive the adults for as long as they did. The children weren't a highly organized collective, especially given their willingness to argue amongst themselves, but they continually managed to outmaneuver the clueless adults at every turn. I would think some major red flags would have gone up once the phone went dead, the power was killed, the car disabled, and all the rifles and knives disappeared, but whatever...if you can get past this element, the film is actually pretty creepy, especially given the means in which the children dispatched some of their elders (hammers, sickles, axes, spears, guns, piranha, immolation, etc.). The funniest bit for me in the film, besides seeing a young Leif Garrett donning a wig, makeup, and a dress (his character was one of the creepiest of the little weirdoes), was when Harvey Beckman tries to score with his souse of a wife Ruth, who obviously lost interest in that kind of thing long ago, resulting in the following exchange...
Ruth: Harvey, I have a headache, a toothache, a backache, and I'm expecting the gout.
Harvey: (frustrated) Would an aspirin help?
As I said the story does tend to move along slowly, but I thought the characters were fairly interesting so it wasn't a huge deal for me. Along with some violence (none of it terribly gory), there's also a small bit of skin from both Joan McCall and Carolyn Stellar. All in all the film did have some problems, but the performances were fairly solid (for an independently made, exploitative horror film) and the nastiness, once in full swing, was pretty entertaining making it worthy of a look for anyone interested in creepy, somewhat forgotten horror features from the 1970s.
The picture on the DVD, released by Code Red and distributed by Media Blasters, is presented in widescreen anamorphic (1.78:1), and looks decent considering the age of the film and the independent nature of the production. There is the occasional flaw, but nothing too obtrusive, usually limited to a small scratch or some other, minor marking. The audio, available in Dolby Digital 2.0, is definitely on the soft side, but otherwise decent enough. There are a slew of complimentary extras including a short, alternate main sequence, a poster gallery, an original theatrical trailer, interviews with the cast and crew, and an audio commentary track featuring actors Joan McCall, Dawn Lyn, producer Mickey Blowitz, and co-director David Sheldon, moderated by film historian Darren Gross (the original director, Sean MacGregor, is noticeably absent). Also included are previews for Don't Go in the Woods (1982), Love Me Deadly (1973), School Girls in Chains (1973), Sweet Sixteen (1983), Beyond the Door (1974), and The Secrets of Sweet Sixteen (1973).