Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Devil Times Five (1974)
Three couples retreat to the wintery wonderland of Lake Arrowhead to conduct some business as well as partaking in some pleasure at an isolated luxury cabin deep in the snowy woods. A group of five kids show up at the cabin after surviving a wicked car accident. These aren't your typical Little Orphan Annie kids, though. The accident allowed them to escape their mental hospital transport. Not only that, but these particular five were from the acute ward - and I don't mean cute in the cuddly sense. These kids are cold-blooded killers! As the grown-ups start getting killed off by the munchkins, it's up to the remaining adults to survive or die trying.
This is definitely a 70s movie - you've got cheesy music, cheesy sex scenes, bad moustaches, bad hair and even two chicks fighting in bathrobes, complete with hair-pulling and wrestling on the carpet. Not to mention that Leif Garrett, teen heart-throb of yore, stars as one of the killer kiddies. It's a shame, as these elements could have made for quite a fun horror flick...but the pacing was so bad, the characters so unlikable and underdeveloped that I found myself disappointed in Devil Times Five.
First off, the pacing is a drag, literally. It feels as if the filmmakers were just trying to kill time with most of the scenes, as opposed to using that time to actually develop the characters and make the audience care (at least a little) about their demises. The action doesn't really pick up until about an hour into the movie. Until then, we get to watch the three husbands bickering with themselves and their wives, one of the wives trying to seduce the mentally handicapped help, another wife perpetually drunk and enough petty drama to fill an "All My Children" episode. Susan Lucci would be proud...Not nearly enough time is spent on the most intriguing characters of all, the kids! Leif Garrett plays an intelligent, chess-playing, cross-dressing psychopath, while the other five include a girl obsessed with fire, another girl who poses as a nun, a boy who plays soldier all the time and a little girl who takes a liking to piranhas.
One thing that stood out in the film were the deaths. They were inventive and pretty brutal! We get a hanging, stabbings, shootings, a drowning/piranha attack in a bathtub and an adult lit on fire. These cool scenes do not make up for the lackluster start (and middle) of the film or for the poor pace.
If you want to kill some time with some 70s cheese, be my guest. If you want to see some evil kids though, I'd suggest Children of the Corn or Village of the Damned before Devil Times Five, though...
Order it on Amazon!