Devil Times Five (Peopletoys) Reviews
dated material but what you get a a load of horror fun!!
A very enjoyable classic.
The technicals in this film are a nightmare, with too many visual and audio mistakes and continuity slip-ups to count. Just the very camerawork itself screams basic film school, with different takes noticeable to a snob like me. While the average viewer won't notice that, what they will notice is the almost constant snow on the lens whenever they're outside! The special effects are... nonexistent, with the exception of a rather good fire stunt. The rest of the kills are fairly bland, most of which being impossibly intelligent, but unique traps. To compensate for his $0 budget, MacGregor uses different camera "tricks" to little effect. Such as putting the footage in slow motion, in order to create a "surreal effect" that will somehow convince us that the beating the victim is getting is real. However, it clearly wasn't shot for slow motion so we get a choppy mess for wayyyy too long as the kids spend minutes wailing on this guy, who's identity is only properly explained after he's dead. Another kill uses a freeze frame and slow motion to get away with an axe to the back of the head, almost making you think it's the end of a 80s sitcom. The audio work is not terrible, but it's quality overall is fairly low, leading to you having an even harder time understanding what's going on.
The acting is, big shocker, a fucking nightmare. The adults either over or underact, all the while being generally unlikeable. Shoutout goes out to the actor who did a good job as Lenny from Of Mice and Men, I mean the housekeeper. The kids do an occasionally good job coming across as psychotic, but the majority of the time they are just obnoxious little shits. Speaking of the child actors... they do a lot of fairly traumatizing stuff for kids that these days a filmmaker might not be able to get away with. They see someone on fire, they swear, one of them cross dresses, they hold guns, the list goes on. I know it's a weird, but if you are dumb enough to watch this film after reading this review, imagine doing that stuff as a kid and you'll see what I mean.
The writing is probably the second worst part of this movie, because it wouldn't be as bad as it was if the technicals could back it up. The pacing of this movie is all over the place, with scenes going incredibly slowly or just being completely superfluous. This is usually almost immediately compensated by a huge time skip, leaving us confused as to what just happened and it takes a good while to catch up. That's something you'll do a lot of with this movie, catch up. It's hard to follow, as the nonsensical dialogue teams up with the aforementioned issues to confuse the crap out of you if you stop paying attention for a few seconds. The beginning was the worst example of this. I must have missed some dialogue in the first scene, because the lack of basic exposition on the characters and their relationships, coupled with the dialogue and awkward scene transitions, had me confused for a half an hour. Even if you do pay attention to the story, there's not much to actually derive from it. It's a fairly simple movie, perpetuated by genius children and outright stupid adults to keep the plot going. Actually, if this movie were any complex, odds are I wouldn't have been able to follow it at all, so maybe simplicity is for the best.
The Devil Times Five is... a movie. It's not that much fun to watch, even for its weird premise. It's a dull movie at its best and a confusing movie at its worst. It may or may not be nunsploitation, but it definitely is childsploitation. The credits of this movie say it all. Instead of "The End" it says "The Beginning" displaying its stupid and cheesy nature and the extremely short crew list show how lacking this movie is, not just in budget, but in skillful filmmaking. If you really want to waste your time on a cheesy low budget 70s horror film, then do yourself a favor. Skip this waste of time and go see Death Bed: The Bed That Eats instead. You may or may not thank me later.
DEVIL TIMES FIVE / PEOPLE TOYS : Originally titled PEOPLE TOYS which for a horror film obviously didn't attract that many box office goers, which explains the re-issue title the DEVIL TIMES FIVE is a truly odd early 1970's Low-Budget American horror film. For painfully obvious reasons has slipped through the cracks of time to only find a small audience of bad movie nuts. With over-the-top killings, DEVIL TIMES FIVE is a schlocky mess of a horror film.
PLOT: The plot to the DEVIL TIMES FIVE sees a bus load of Asylum bound Children crashes into a snow covered hill side. This allows the five children are free to start their demonic killing spree starting with one of the surviving doctors from the bus. The group moves onto a resort home where a group of Adults takes them in from the weather. And in good old horror mythology the adults are picked off one by one by the kids.
THOUGHTS: With some odd moments like the surreal slow- mo killing of the doctor that turns into Sepia film from colour footage, and takes close to seven entire minutes to end. A woman is killed in a bath tub of piranhas and the fact that two of the kids dress like a Solider and a Nun. This film cannot be view as scary but more as a campy trash fest. Despite alright performances from the adult cast members; it is the cast of kids that steal the show who seem to be having more fun than the adults. So I'm going to award DEVIL TIMES FIVE / PEOPLE TOYS a 50% rating for all of these reasons (plus the snow on the camera lenses at some points).
's also hinted at being a cross-dresser), Brian is a military nut, Sister Hannah is a nun, Susan loves fire, and Moe loves fish. Brian was my favorite, and I really enjoyed his ways of setting up booby traps. Most of the adults are unlikeable except a select few, so it's not too heart-breaking when they die. Now, what's creepy about the kids is that (besides the fact that one is a nun and another wears a military uniform) they're just normal kids. Usually, killer kids are portrayed as cute, but there's something sinister about them. Here, they're not cute, they're just regular kids. The casting in this movie was perfect, as everyone fits their role very well (There's even a young Leif Garrett as David). However, I felt there were too many slow-motion scenes which made the movie drag in places (one lasted a good five minutes). The editing, slow-mo scenes, and minimal gore make Devil Times Five look and feel like a made-for-TV movie, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its merits.
Known also to some drive-in venues as The Horrible House on the Hill, I can only wonder the references to Last House on the Left.
Add to this the adults - after the credits have finally finished, we get a seduction of a George-type (Mice/Men) character, swiftly followed by a cat fight then a pretty lame sex scene. That's the first half hour, then the kids start the killings.
Fantastic fantastic fantastic. This is #22 of the Chilling Classics set and, finally, this has made the £15-£20 a wise investment.
We are introduced to a group of rich, sleazy and pompous group of adults that head out to spend a vacation in a snowbound lodge. Not far from the lodge, a van carrying psychopathic children crashes. The children survive and make their way to the lodge. These devious little bastards look all innocent at first but soon start to kill our unlikeable adults in sadistic, gory ways including axes and other penetrating weapons. The most unique kill has to be a sequence where one of our children dump a number of man-eating piranha into a bathtub.
Our children are definitely the highlight as all the actors do well and it's just damn creepy to see children enjoy cold blooded murder so much (look for teen idol Leif Garrett in one of his first roles). Unlike the children, the adult characters leave a lot to be desired. Many of our adult actors are less then stellar and there is not one of the adult characters that's likable. They are all nasty individuals and in turn the audience wants to see them all die. Even the presence of one likable adult character would have helped the film tenfold.
"Devil Times Five" had a very turmoiled production as original director Sean MacGregor was fired only a few weeks into the project. Director David Sheldon was brought in to finish the film and the final result shows the troubles that occurred on the set as it really is the result of two different visions. The first problem is that halfway through the film, the interior of the lodge drastically changes due to the replacement director shooting in different locations. Leif Garrett's hair also changes as during the director transition as the young actor had to get a haircut for another job and during the second half of the film he wears an unconvincing wig. The director (which one, I'm not sure) also made some awkward stylistic choices. The first is towards the beginning of the film, they obtrusively speed up the van crash. Another scene has the director film an entire murder sequence in slow motion with an awkward color drawing out the scene to what seems like 10 minutes long!
With better adult characters, a tighter pace and some stability behind the camera, "Devil Times Five" could have been a classic horror film celebrated by the masses. The concept is creepy and the kills are unique. As is it is only a somewhat decent obscure find for horror fanatics but I still find it worth the price of admission. The film was also released on DVD by Code Red in a double feature with "Mark of the Witch".
Such dreadful children! But why do I like them?? If you were to hook "The Little Rascals" up with the "Orphan", you would end up with this lot.
In a weird way I enjoyed the way they were still being kids among themselves but what I could see is that innocence fused with darkness is not entirely wicked when you think you are the good guys.
It's quite an awful thought but it is a suitable plot for this flavor on interest. I wonder if there is a sequel? I would definitely check it out.