Directed by Sean MacGregor and David Sheldon
Distributed by Code Red
I hate math. Especially multiplication. Numbers are Greek to me, and I avoid working with them like a Jerry Springer fatty does a diet. Rarely do I make an exception, but taking the crowned prince of darkness and multiplying him by five? What horror fan could resist?! Media Blasters’ release of the 1974 classick, Devil Times Five (aka People Toys and The Horrible House on the Hill) taught me a lot, and now like any good pupil I am ready to share what I have learned. Let’s start at the beginning. While these equations may not add up, keep in mind it’s Beelzebub we’re working with here. Conventional rules do not apply.
Devil x 1 = 10
Ten minutes is exactly how long it takes this film’s opening credits to end. Once the director gets his due, the set-up comes fast and furious. After a bus carrying five crazy children crashes, the youngsters escape and head toward a vacationing family’s mountain resort. There they are taken in, fed, and given all the tools they will ever need to murder their kind hosts. From guns to live piranhas, these juvies are ready to spill some blood.
Devil x 2 = 4
I’m not one to rip on people for their looks, but holy shit! All four of this film’s leading men are as ugly as the day is long. Worst of all the flick is riddled with sexual innuendo and situations, all of which star the ugly bunch. From top to bottom we have a nasty prick who resembles Grizzly Adams, your standard chubby ne’er-do-well bald guy, a slobbering retard in long johns, and the King of the Comb-over™ pictured to your left who even has a nude scene! The beefcake in Devil Times Five is rancid and sure to leave many a gay man as flaccid as a popped balloon and many a woman as dry as the desert plains. It’s like a video chastity belt. My eyes still hurt. My retinas still bleed.
Devil x 3 = 3
Three camera tricks. That’s what you’ll immediately notice about Devil Times Five. We have the dramatic pause in which the film will stop for a few seconds for absolutely no good reason. Then we have the spooky Seventies slow-motion sequences. You know the ones I mean. Something is about to happen, and what better way to let the audience know than to slow down the on-screen action to a crawl? Talk about ample prep time. And to round things off we have a combination of the aforementioned two, but this time a sepia toned filter is laid over the visuals. Hang on, let me take another hit … *inhales* *holds* *exhales* Yeah, man, far out.
Devil x 4 = 38
There are several scenes in the film’s first half that go on for about ten times longer than they should. When watching the extras, you will learn that the upon completion of the original cut of the film, there were only about thirty-eight minutes of usable footage. So then a second director was added to the mix to shoot another forty-five minutes in order to ensure that Devil Times Five would have a feature length run-time. As a result the first half of the film drags on endlessly (i.e., the Sepia Toned Slaughter Sequence™ which seemed to last forever). Not to worry though; once the second and third acts kick in, things start getting nice and loony!
Devil x 5 = 5
That’s the exact amount of supplemental offerings on this DVD. Included is a laughable alternate main title sequence, a poster gallery, the original theatrical trailer, an entertaining cast and crew commentary headed up by film historian Darren Gross, and about fifteen minutes of cast and crew interviews. Of them all, the money shot here is the interview segment. If I can say one thing about the people who worked on this production, it’s that they are brutally honest. Apparently there was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama going on, and the folks here are firing with both barrels. Really good stuff.
It may sound as if I’m tearing into this movie, and I guess to a certain extent I am, but make no mistake, Devil Times Five is pure Seventies fried gold. Sure it’s hokey at times, but it packs enough obscurity for several films. My advice? Pop it in, light it up, drink it down, and laugh your asses off. It’s one hell of a trip!
Audio commentary by Joan McCall, Mickey Blowitz, Dawn Lyn, and David Sheldon moderated by film historian Darren Gross
Interviews with actors Tierre Turner, Joan McCall, and Dawn Lynn; producer Michael Blowitz; and co-director David Sheldon
Alternate main title sequence
Original theatrical trailer
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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