Wednesday, June 4, 2008
DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1974)
d. Sean MacGregor and David Sheldon
Reviewed by Scarewolf
Anyone who bothers to check out our show, Saturday Fright Special, realizes by now how much I, your humble host Scarewolf, absolutely, positively, VENOMOUSLY abhor vampires. Those slimy, stench-clad, snaggle-toothed, sorry undead excuses for walking fertilizer have been the bane of my existence since as long as I've been a lycanthrope (and that has been an AWFULLY long time). I remember the days of yore way, way, way, way, waaaaayyyy back, (back when I was just a young dog-faced boy of a pup). I'd be gallivanting around the edge of the forest and along the roadways practicing the latest dance steps and searching for roadkill to stir into Mother's award winning Grisly Stew* when out of nowhere an ungodly cackling horde of undead dross would begin pelting me with rocks and flinging feces and...
Oh wait... Now I remember. Those weren't scumbag nosferatu at all, those were bastard children waiting for the schoolbus. Oh well. Sorry about that. Same difference anyways as far as I can see for the two have a lot in common.
First off: They both suck.
Is there ANY monster in cinema history more horrifying than Evil Children?: THE OMEN, THE BROOD, CHILDREN OF THE CORN, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, PROBLEM CHILD... The list goes on. Now, I love horror movies and can sit through most anything, but I'll let you in on a little secret: There's just something about children that freaks me out! Each and every killer kid flick is almost surefire guaranteed to leave me gibbering like a mad dog behind the sofa by the time the night is finished. They are, without doubt, the only thing I hate more than vampires! (Except for vampire children, maybe... Oh Christ, I wish I hadn't said that!) Anyhoo, I think I've strayed from the topic long enough. It's time to get down to business and tell you how I felt about the movie DEVIL TIMES FIVE, newly reissued by Code Red DVD.
I didn't like it.
Well, what did you expect? It had children in it. What did I just tell you? Are you deaf? DO YOU NEED ME TO TYPE LOUDER? I. DON'T. LIKE. CHILDREN! And DEVIL TIMES FIVE has them in abundance. Five of them, in fact (Thus the title).
Let's see: What was it about? It was about 85 minutes too long, that's what! But seriously, DEVIL TIMES FIVE is about 5 lunatic children who escape from the mental hospital when the bus that's transporting them crashes. They then take refuge in a nearby ski lodge occupied by a rich businessman and his employees on a working vacation. Initially they think the kids are sweet and innocent (BIG mistake. Kids are NEVER innocent!) but soon they become suspicious when people begin waking up dead.
I gotta say, this movie has some good deaths in it. You've got your beheadings, your hangings, impalements, burnings, and more, so if that's all you're looking for I think you'll walk away satisfied. The movie drags a bit at times but the documentary included in the special features explains the reasons behind the padding. The director was let go mid production with only half the film shot. As a result the film had to be extensively rewritten and reworked. Honestly, I didn't notice any of that too much, I was too busy telling myself it was "only a movie" and that children don't really exist.
DEVIL TIMES FIVE comes with a lot of outstanding special features, most of which I thought were better than the film itself. Best and most entertaining of them all were the delightfully sleazy trailers for other Code Red releases (DON'T GO IN THE WOODS, LOVE ME DEADLY, SCHOOL GIRLS IN CHAINS, SWEET SIXTEEN, BEYOND THE DOOR, THE SECRETS OF SWEET SIXTEEN). Really looking forward to checking those out! Also included: the aforementioned documentary featuring interviews with Tierre Turner, Joan McCall, Dawn Lyn, producer Michael Blowitz and co-director David Sheldon. Audio commentary by Joan McCall, Mickey Blowitz, Dawn Lyn, and David Sheldon moderated by film historian Darren Gross.
*To acquire the delicious recipe for Mother Scarewolf's Grisly Stew, please put a self-addressed stamped envelope, 5 Fruit Brute box tops and $1 into a burlap sack and promptly chuck it into the river. Expect 4-6 years for delivery.