Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chilling Classics #1/50 - Devil Times Five (1974)

Director: Sean MacGregor
Starring: Leif Garrett, Sorrell Brooke, Gene Evans

Following a snow storm, a bus from the local mental ward overturns and five acutely psychotic children escape to prey on some vacationing couples at a nearby resort.

I must admit this one held my interest for the most part. There is some cheesiness here and there, but there are also some stylishly disturbing moments.

Most notable is the first murder of a man in a toolshed. The film switches to high contrast black and white, as the children beat him to death with hammers, a pitchfork, a chain and other blunt instruments. This is a nasty bit of work, and the entire sequence is shown in slow motion, making every blow the man takes seem more painful. One of the children is dressed as a nun, and the ghostly visage of her bringing a sledge hammer down is effectively eerie. Unfortunately the transfer is not too great, and it is very difficult to see exactly what is happening.

Also memorable is when the kids pour a bucketful of piranhas into a woman's bubble bath as one of them holds her underwater. All ridiculousness aside, it looks like they at least used real fish for the scene, and it is something you don't see every day in what is essentially a slasher film.

Normally, I find myself rooting for the bad guys, but, being proudly vasectomized, I wanted to see these little bastards get taken down, especially young Leif Garrett. Instead, evil seems to triumph in every instance, as the adults are always one step behind, even when the kids move in slow motion.

All in all, I rather enjoyed this obscure little bit of exploitative trash. It is another film I'd like to see receive better DVD treatment, though I doubt I would buy it anyway. Does that make me a hypocrite?

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