Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: Devil Times Five (1974)

Few things are as cruel as children. This is an inescapable reality that many people find out firsthand when they themselves are children. A large part comes from the fact that kids have a much lesser understanding of what society considers right and wrong. Sometimes what little understanding they do have of it is flawed, leading them to react with hostility if someone conceivably wrongs them. Today's selection is very much about the cruel nature of children, but it's also ultimately just a movie too, so don't think of it as an accurate depiction of how they actually behave.

They aren't usually quite this mentally unstable unless you take away their juice boxes.

Our story centers on a group of people gathered at a secluded mountaintop winter home where some friends are going to relax and where at least one of them is looking for a bit more. Meanwhile, down a ways from this house a van wrecks that just happens to be carrying five mentally unstable kids who belong to a mental hospital. The driver is left unconscious, possibly even dead, but the kids make it out perfectly fine. Yay, the killer kids lived! Anyway, they wander up the mountain towards the winter home. Back there, we find our vacationers settling in as one of the ladies decides she wants to teach the "houseboy", Ralph, the pleasures of being with a woman who will sleep with anyone. But really, who can blame her? Ralph is a truly perfect specimen of manliness, despite seeming to have the mind of a child.

Look at him. He's like a cross between Gérard Depardieu and David Hasselhoff. So beautiful.
Eventually, the kids find their way to the house and the adults react with the expected shock one would expect to finding five mysterious children in the basement. So, of course, they take the kids in and don't question at all the strange children showing up in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. These kids are totally on the level and not at all going to murder all the adults present. So, after dinner, the kids set a booby trap that poor Ralph falls victim to. Such a shame too, as one of the kids (who dresses as a nun for some reason) really seemed to be hitting it off with a Ralph. Oh well, there goes the underage romance subplot. The adults eventually find him and, rather than deciding to leave, they stick around. We get to see Leif Garrett (yeah, he's in this movie) crossdress, because we really needed a homicidal underage transexual in this film. He also kills the guy who played Boss Hogg.

Those Duke boys won't have so much to worry about anymore, it seems.
Not surprisingly, more adults start getting killed in various ways which include a vagina eating piranha and a spear to the throat. One guy even ends up being caught in bear traps while the kids dance around him. Ultimately, the adults all end up dead and the kids end up relatively unharmed. Really, the only thing that happens to any of them is Leif getting a cut which he rants about as if acid had been thrown on his face. Relax, man, I don't think your career as a teen heartthrob is in danger. If they love you after making this movie, then I don't think they'll think less of you for having a scar. So yeah, the movie ends with the kids sitting in a room with the dead adults and we're given the implication that this is simply the first in a series of films that never got made. That's our movie. And wow, what a movie it was.

An accurate portrayal of the audience.
It wasn't a terribly well-made film, but it was entertaining in a way. I mean, it's basically a slasher movie with kids as the slashers, so I find myself enjoying it in much the same way I enjoy slasher films, both good and bad. It's definitely got some serious flaws, which are very obvious throughout the entire film. The acting is pretty bad, the cast seem to hover between not caring and pretending to care. The subplots about the relationships seem very out of place and the strange sexual vibe towards some of the kids was rather off-putting. But, ultimately, this movie was hilarious to me. It's so over the top at times that it's quite frankly silly. The traps are like if Kevin McCallister was handled less like a cute kid foiling robbers and more like a psycho who murders robbers.

This could easily be a screencap from Devil Times Five.
In closing, despite the weirdness and flaws the film suffers from, it's also great for those same reasons as it becomes an inadvertent comedy. I mean, how can you take a movie seriously when they play this silly music every time the kids are doing something sinister? It just makes it so lighthearted in a bizarre way. Those little scamps are up to their homicidal shenanigans again! Oh, you kids! You're gonna make me waggle my finger at you if you keep this up. But yeah, don't go in expecting a serious film, because it will let you down. Instead go into this movie looking at it as comedy gold, so you can properly enjoy the badness. Until next time, I'll be here being incredibly happy not to have kids, because I am relatively certain they might get some bad ideas. Later days, bleeders.

Someone should probably go check on that driver at some point.

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