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Peopletoys
Peopletoys (1974)
Movie
  • Director:
    Sean MacGregor,David Sheldon
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Sandra Lee Blowitz,John Durren
  • Cast:
    Sorrell Booke,Gene Evans,Taylor Lacher
  • Time:
    1h 28min
  • Year:
    1974
Five extremely disturbed, sociopathic children escape from their psychiatric transport and are taken in unwittingly by a group of adult villagers on winter vacation.
Casts
Complete credited cast:
Sorrell Booke Sorrell Booke - Harvey Beckman
Gene Evans Gene Evans - Papa Doc
Taylor Lacher Taylor Lacher - Rick
Joan McCall Joan McCall - Julie
Shelley Morrison Shelley Morrison - Ruth
Carolyn Stellar Carolyn Stellar - Lovely (as Carolyn Steller)
John Durren John Durren - Ralph
Leif Garrett Leif Garrett - David
Gail Smale Gail Smale - Sister Hannah
Dawn Lyn Dawn Lyn - Moe
Tierre Turner Tierre Turner - Brian
Tia Thompson Tia Thompson - Susan
Henry Beckman Henry Beckman - Dr. Brown

Peopletoys (1974)

Original director Sean MacGregor was fired from the production after a few weeks of difficult filming and the most of the footage MacGregor directed was deemed unusable. Much of the final version of the movie had to be re-filmed under direction of David Sheldon several weeks later using different interior locations for the inside of the lodge, which noticeably changes in appearance partway through the movie. By the time of Sheldon's re-shoots, Leif Garrett had a closely cropped dark colored hairstyle for Macon County Line (1974) and had to re-film his scenes wearing a wig that is visibly different than his original longer blond hair style. David removes his wig several times in the film, so he is presumably supposed to be wearing a wig even when it is Garrett's own hair.

Unknown actress Gail Smale ("Sister Hannah") was alleged to be original director Sean MacGregor's under-aged girlfriend at the time of production, and her character's Nun's Habit costume with rose colored glasses was partly an attempt to conceal her natural albinism. "Peopletoys" remains her only known screen credit.

Actress Carolyn Stellar (as "Lovely") is actually the real birth mother of Leif Garrett ("David") and Dawn Lyn ("Moe"), two of the child actors in the cast.

According to legend original director Sean MacGregor spent some time as a patient in a psychiatric ward following his departure from the project.

Leif Garrett wears a dress and women's make up in several scenes.

Dawn Lyn and Leif Garrett, and Gene Evans were in Walking Tall. Dawn and Leif were brother and sister, the children of the main character played by Joe Don Baker, and Gene played a sheriff.

The character played by Sorrell Booke is a doctor, named "Harvey Beckman". The role of "Dr. Brown" is played by veteran Canadian character actor, Henry Beckman.

Fordrekelv
Fordrekelv
I finally got a chance to watch an old rental tape of this we found the other night and was actually quite pleased with the results. A bus on it's way to a state mental hospital for children crashes, the driver killed and the five insane kids inside escape to take refuge in a nearby resort hotel, closed for the season and occupied by a sort of local crime boss called Papa Doc [played by country/western singer Gene Evans, who I still remember doing something like football commentary for one of the networks as a kid] and his entourage of hangers on, gophers and Sorrel Brooke [later Boss Hogg of DUKES OF HAZZARD fame] as his pathetic, balding son. The women are all oversexed or drunken harlots, and there is some sort of macho powerplay going on amongst the men, until all of a sudden these five kids appear in the living room after beating the doctor who was with them to death in an extended slow-motion sequence was actually pretty darn creepy.

The kids are an interesting lot; One of them is convinced she is a nun, Leif Garrett thinks he is a big time child movie star [possible in-joke or gifted foresight?], and the leader appears to be the little African American kid who dresses, acts and talks in military lingo, just like a soldier -- He even has a little plastic M-16, which will later be traded for one of the hunting rifles from the walls of the lodge.

Then there is the caretaker, Ralph, who talks to the bunny rabbits he raises, and apparently thinks he is one as well. Ralph is a bit slow on the fastball as it were, and serves as the butt of a series of rather cruel jokes about his size, strength and sexuality, including a scene that sort of left me feeling uncomfortable as he and the little maniac who thinks she is a nun wash dishes and share a "secret". Ahem.

All of this takes place in an utterly drab and unsensational setting, shot in an almost documentary manner and with almost zero character development. The fun sort of doesn't really pick up speed until it is revealed that Evans' Papa Doc actually has an aquarium with live pirhana fish in it [about four, actually] and I had decided that unless we got to see one of the women fed to the pirhana fish whilst stark naked, I was going to ask for my money back.

I'm glad to say that we will be keeping the video, though just how the deadly pirhana fish are used I will keep a secret. The kids start in on the adults slowly, playing mind games and seeming to have nothing better in mind than to mentally and eventually physically torture & kill them one by one -- There are hangings, stabbings, shootings, death by killer pirhana fish, and all of it meted out by the hands of 10 to 14 year olds, to whom it is all just a whopping great time. The film ends with a very chilling shot of the life-sized play set that the kids have fashioned for themselves up in Ralph's apartment room where the alternate title of "People Toys" is fully realized.

DEVIL TIMES FIVE is not without it's problems, most notably these kids ... They don't seem to be affected by the winter climate at all, never seem to get hungry or sleepy or have cold feet in the snow, and are in fact caricatures rather than characters -- as opposed to say the inmates of the asylum from S.F. Brownrigg's DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, which this film seems in part to have been inspired by [right down to the child-like bohemouth character and the character who acts & talks just like a soldier]. DEVIL TIMES FIVE is an interesting twist on the Asylum Horror genre that can be so much fun, removing the insane inmates from their loony bin and setting them loose in an isolated setting from which the adults have no escape -- The question isn't who will survive, but how will each adult meet their demise, and on that plane this is a doubly chilling exercise in the form, with no hope of any kind of a "happy" ending, unless your sympathies lie with the kids.

All in all I found it to be grand fun on a very sick level that films just can't seem to descend to these days, though there wasn't as much gore and sleaze as I had been hoping for, and several slow motion violence sequences suggested that this may have been a "cut" version, though there was ample nudity and profanity to justify the MPAA R Rating. DEVIL TIMES FIVE is currently Out of Print as a commercial retail home video release, though Incredibly Strange Film Works [www.isfilm.net] has a nice codfree DVD release, and Sinister Cinema has had the film available on both VHS & DVD-R for a few years. VERY interesting ultra low budget 70's Novelty Shocker worth seeking out, though be forewarned that there is no hope in this film, evil triumphs over good, and yes, Leif Garrett eventually went on to release albums of garbage that sold millions of units to 12 - 16 year old girls the world over, which is indeed more horrifying than anything depicted on screen.

*** [out of a possible ****]
Thetalas
Thetalas
Devil Times Five is basically your basic seventies horror flick about a bunch of people in an isolated location being terrorised by psychos; except this one has a twist, and that twist comes in the form of the psychos themselves being young children. The most famous film to use the idea of psychotic children is probably the 1960 classic Village of the Damned; but it has been done many times since. Devil Times Five is perhaps something of an oddity within the genre as it doesn't particularly focus on the idea of the children being psychos, but instead puts its focus on the sleazy adult characters and gory death scenes. The plot focuses on a group of people staying at a snowbound lodge. Meanwhile, a bus carrying a group of psychotic children slips off the road; allowing the kids to escape. After taking out their guardian, the kids descend on the lodge where they are taken in by the people staying there. Shortly thereafter, the adults start turning up dead...

The film is a real piece of seventies grindhouse with the main focus being on the sleazy atmosphere. Immediately we are shown that not all of the main characters are angels and it sets things up nicely. Often horror films involving kids will be toned down a little; but that's not the case here either. The kids themselves are vicious enough and that is complimented nicely by a grisly set of death scenes that include things such as a woman in a bath being eaten by piranhas, someone being set alight and a vast assortment of mêlée weapons being put to good use. The snow setting provides a good location for the action to take place as it provides a good atmosphere of isolation to ensure we're always aware that the central characters are in trouble. It does have to be said that the film can't really be taken seriously; it's not particularly well written or acted and the story has no depth whatsoever - but it's not important anyway for a seventies horror flick and the film does provide ninety minutes that are worth seeing.
Gavinranadar
Gavinranadar
This is a good little quirky horror-thriller set in a snow-bound area. A family gather in a house for a winter break, while at the same time a bus carrying some kids crashes off the road. Five of the children escape unharmed but it turns out these are seriously disturbed kids and they are soon to come into contact with our friends in the holiday home.

Devil Times Five is a strange little movie. It sometimes gives off the relaxed and warm feel of a 70's TV movie but this is misleading as its subject matter of sociopathic children is not exactly a very cosy theme. This combination of TV-style melodrama with slasher movie subject matter is one of the things that makes for distinctive viewing. It's just a little bizarre. The snowy setting is good too and gives the flick a nice feel. The murders are all varied and occasionally quite inventive such as the bath tub demise replete with piranhas. Admittedly, the first murder is a pretty confusing affair – not only do we have trouble knowing what is going on but it's not even that clear who is even being attacked! But it's still a pleasingly weird scene with slow motion visuals and sound, and through a monochrome lens. Aside from all this, the movie is not above throwing in a totally unnecessary cat fight too. And what could be wrong with that? You could do a lot worse than this one. If you are a sucker for early 70's proto-slashers then this is one that should provide some entertainment.
Vaua
Vaua
Over the years, many writers as well as filmmakers discovered that seemly innocent and cherubic looking children make extra-creepy horror villains! Demonic kids almost form an entire sub genre of horror by themselves! There usually is an explanation for their abnormal and murderous behavior, though. Either it's the influence of a satanic cult ("Children of the Corn"), a nuclear meltdown ("The Children of Ravensbeck"), a temporary blackout caused by a comet ("Village of the Damned") or even an ordinary solar eclipse on the day of their birth ("Bloody Birthday"). The youthful maniacs in this film have no real excuse for what they do. They were just born evil. And when their bus to the mental institute crashes down atop some snowy mountains, they become youthful maniacs AT LARGE! They make it to a holiday resort where some wannabe godfather Corleone runs his crime syndicate and they start killing all the residents. "Devil Times Five" is not a very good movie, but that's mainly due to a lack of budget and a shortage of talented cast & crew members. There's very little going on in the first hour, apart from a spectacular bus crash and THE longest murder of an institute employee (filmed in slow-motion). When approaching the last third of the film, the creepy moments and gory murders begin to follow each other at fast pace and the atmosphere really gets morbid. The adults are all pitiful and uninteresting characters but the five kids have quite interesting backgrounds. The oldest girl pretends to be a young convent sister, another girl is obsessed with fire and the funny black kid constantly acts like he's in the army. Their incontrollable urge to slaughter unknown people is a bit difficult to believe at times, but overall these young actors do a terrific job. "Devil Times Five" is recommended 70's exploitation, with a fairly high cult-value and several unforgettable murder scenes (piranhas in the bathtub!!)
Nahelm
Nahelm
A bus bound for a mental institution containing a quintet of psychologically unbalanced and murderous children runs off the road and goes tumbling down a cliff, killing the driver in the process (this opening scene is quite jarring and splendidly staged). The deadly brats survive the accident and take refuge at a swanky winter resort run by the mean, irascible, browbeating Papa Doc (a deliciously dour Gene Evans, a longtime favorite of Samuel Fuller who was in Sam Peckinpah's last two Westerns "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid"). Pretty soon the killer kids go on a rampage: they junk the guests' cars, cut the power lines, and begin to violently off Papa Doc's arrogant, decadent, back-stabbing clientèle (a lady gets set ablaze after being drenched with gasoline, another hapless lass has piranha dumped in her bathtub, that sort of ghastly stuff).

This thoroughly sick and therefor most compelling psycho thriller marked the impressive debut of promising horror movie one shot wonder Sean MacGregor, who proved with this creepy, unique and wickedly warped humdinger that he could make one hell of a fright flick (MacGregor's sole other horror picture credit was writing the story for the eerily offbeat rural Devil worship chiller "The Brotherhood of Satan"). The astonishingly brutal scene where the terrible tykes beat their psychiatrist to death with chains, hammers, knives and even a pitchfork attests to this claim; this excruciatingly elongated sequence makes artful and unforgettably potent use of both grainy black and white still photographs and painfully amplified sound effects. The other murder set pieces aren't nearly as ferocious, but since they're perpetuated by smiling, seemingly harmless and innocent kids they still pack a serious wallop just the same -- and all are punctuated with strangely startling freeze frames.

John Durren's barbed, deeply judgmental script possesses a conspicuously angry and borderline hostile sense of moral outrage. There's a deep-seated disgust for the pervasive amorality, hedonism and narcissism that was a true hallmark of the 70's which in turn gives this feature an additional biting resonance. (Durren also acts in the movie as Ralph, a sweet, guileless, retarded handyman who the other adults mercilessly mock and push around.) The cast deserve appraisal as well, with especially solid work from Sorrell Booke (Boss Hog on "The Dukes of Hazzard") as a meek, peevish physician and Joan ("Act of Veangeance," "Grizzly") McCall as the only decent grown-up. 70's teen idol Leif Garrett is surprisingly good as one of the nefarious little rugrats. Odd, often jolting and extremely twisted, this funky little sleeper stands out as one of the best entries in the always worthwhile and enjoyable killer kid horror sub-genre.
Mr.jeka
Mr.jeka
This is one of them seventies horror films your grandfather would tell you about while settling you down to sleep when you were a toddler. Five crazy kids escape from a mental institution and play the scared kid card at the house of Papa Doc, who is currently playing host to all sorts of unlikeable adults, so, basically, you can tell where this is heading. What got me about the Devil Times Five is the way that the first hour passes almost lightheartedly, before heading for Grimsville. When the kids start wasting the cast, a kind of darkness settles on the film and never let's up. I don't know if it's just the playful way the kids massacre people (hence the title: Peopletoys), but I was left with a bizarre bad taste in my mouth after watching this. I guess that's the whole point though. You don't really get that from watching modern splatterfests. This is seventies horror in a nutshell, this film.

Plus, for UK viewers, check the name of one of the producers of this film (the IMDb won't let me use his second name here). I bet he's glad he didn't go to school in Glasgow!
Karon
Karon
This movie is messed up. If you can get past the first 1/2 hour of cheap gratuitous sex and horrid seventies music this movie will really do a number on your fragile sensibilities. I really had to make sure the front door was securely locked about five minutes ago. Oh my God, it's just wrong. A movie like this would never be made today with all the codes that are in place. It's about as unwatchable as Faces of Death which is not entertainment at all but exploitation at humankind's worst. These kids never crack a smile except when they are bickering with each other over futile nonsense. Whoever said there was a hopeless feeling to this movie is right. This is some creepy stuff.
Malaunitly
Malaunitly
I found this movie disturbing. Young girl putting a piranha in a woman's bathtub, while the others hold her down. The sheer frustration of the triumph of evil over good. The hopelessness of fighting an evil that outsmarts you every turn, with no weapons either. I had to stay up a while after seeing this movie. I just found it disturbing.
Kegal
Kegal
... there are reasons to love this film and reasons to hate it. Killer kids make for a splendid horror ingredient - most horror films use kids as characters placed in peril and not as the mischievous, cunning weasels that most are. That being said, this cult film, shows the kids gleefully killing adults by a number of methods - even by use of piranhas. However, like most cult films, there are moments that are handled quite unprofessionally. This film is great display of incompetence on the editors part. Although this film is set over the course of a couple days, there is no continuity, time frame wise. At one point in the film the sun is shining while moments later it is dark. The next scene, sun shining after darkness, makes the viewer feel as if we've been introduced to a new day, but we haven't. Also, the scene where Joan McCall sits beside her boyfriend on the kitchen floor is a classic display of editing ineptitude. While she is sitting next to her boyfriend, her father is killed outside, in a barn, but Joan is shown the entire time of her father's killing in the kitchen yet somehow knows that her father is dead without setting foot outside. There are things like this that don't entirely ruin the viewing experience to show you why this is of cult status.

VIOLENCE: $$$$ (You will get your money's worth! The kids are quite resourceful when it comes to killing folks. We have a fatal car accident, a hanging, a beating with the employ of various items found in a barn, a burning, a slit throat, a spear impalement and death by piranha. You won't be letdown in the violence and gore departments - if that is your thing).

STORY: $$ (The story is really quite weak. Five troubled kids survive a car accident and venture off to a secluded estate operated by the Naziesque Papa Doc (Gene Evans). With there innocent appearance, they weasel their way into the house and begin to systematically kill the residents).

NUDITY: $$$ (There is a love scene with Joan McCall and her boyfriend Rick - who shows quite a bit of man backside. Leif Garret's mother Carolyn Steller has a catfight with McCall in which her robe opens giving the viewer gratuitous nudity. We also get another look at M. Steller when she is the recipient of the piranha infested bathtub).

ACTING: $$$ (Nothing Oscar-worthy here by any means, but there are a few shining lights. The kids are led by Tierre Turner, who does a marvelous job as a military obsessed tot only being out-shined by Leif Garret's future drag-queen character. The three girl really didn't do that great of a job as the two boys clearly outshine them. The adults are led by Dukes Of Hazzard's Sorrell Booke, who plays Papa Doc's adviser, trying to get a promotion but unable to confront Papa Doc about the issue. Carolyn Steller is brilliant as the manipulating Lovely - she fits her name perfectly too).
Worla
Worla
This is also know as peopletoys 1974

Being a horror fan , I am so shocked that I had not seen this movie before!

This movie as to one best killer kids movies of all times ,

I actually thought was really good and shocking , well for time

The movies about fives kids wondering around and find the place (all mixed age and everything) there are acting very strange for most of the movie,

The acting from kids were great, I actually thought were really were scary to watch.

The end was chilling at end, how done and dusted and played and want to movie on to next!

9/10
RUsich155
RUsich155
The sex. The nudity. The out there character acting from the adults. The crazy kids all defined quite nicely. I really enjoyed the imaginative deaths. But it is the down beat ending that truly makes this film a winner in my book. The fact that the most sympathetic characters are not spared in the end was a nice surprise. That's the way horror films should be made. Although watching the interviews on the DVD was informative to explain just why in some parts Lief garret is wearing a wig & other parts his hair looks natural.

a minor cult classic. I would've gave it a 10 but the extreme car crash in the beginning of the film that the kids survived made it incredibly unbelievable.
Thordibandis
Thordibandis
Five little evil bastards escape a van crash that most assuredly would have killed them had they been normal children. After a little wandering the five find themselves at a remote chalet where three couples and a mentally challenged handyman (try figuring that one out) are spending time in yelling at each other and getting drunk. Sounds like most of my Christmas'. Soon the incompetent adults are dispatched by the little tykes deathtraps that never seem to fail followed by an annoying Pop Goes the Weasel score. Aren't you scared yet? Watch for the catfight when at the end Lovely's robe is only partially open then the next glimpse it is wide open exposing the only things worthy of notice in this film.

What a disaster of a movie! It's not without promise but this could have been done so much better. The editing is so poorly done that it is hard to know who certain people are in the film such as the mystery man that emerges from the van wreck. Was it a clown car for chrissakes? This is rated R and yet the death scenes make me wonder if the director decided to pull back on the gore. The five plus minute slo-mo black and white death scene is so painful to watch it defies belief that the director would stoop to this to extend the runtime. Leif Garrett's hairstyle changes inexplicably from a goofy wig to shoulder length from one scene to another. The children refer to a character twice that is no where to be found such as when David kills Harvey and blames it on this mystery "Greg". How can you be so lax? On top of that the murders are so lame that only an idiot would fall for them and yet this chalet is packed with idiots. One scene in particular has two of the kids drown Lovely in the tub while dropping Piranna fish in. The fact that these kids are exposed to the large breasted Carolyn Stellar to begin with is a little disturbing but the scene is followed with all the "devils" dragging her naked body through the snow. One more juicy tidbit is Carolyn Stellar is the real life mother of Leif Garrett and Dawn Lyn who plays Moe. One of the writers is John Durren who plays Ralph the retarded handyman (I wonder if he wrote this channeling his character?) who in a very cringe inducing scene is sexually harassed by Lovely. I would recommend seeing this once with a bunch of friends and adult libations just to laugh at the sheer silliness of this movie. Aren't "peopletoys" marital aide products?
Dawncrusher
Dawncrusher
Expect the obligatory characteristics of any low-budget indie (e.g. cat-fight), but overall, in fact, you get an original and startling portrayal of cooperating child homicidal criminals -- which certainly seemed substantially even more bizarre in the early 70s.

The young actors were of course the basis of the movie's success: This was Leif Garrett's third significant movie role, filmed just before his 13th birthday, and the first such role for Tierre Turner who turned 14 after the filming, and both did go on to substantial subsequent careers. Now Gail Smale, who seemed with her albino look and covered in a nun's habit perhaps the same age, was clandestinely in her twenties.

The story, with conscious progression, reveals the oddities of the children step by step -- perhaps most clearly in Leif's character for example, who takes an odd turn at minute 38 as he makes a curious point of discussing a dress with Taylor Lacher. Later at minute 102 we suddenly recognize that the girl in a mirror shot is in fact Leif when he removes his wig.

NOT your normal killer-kid movie. Pay attention -- it will stretch your imagination.
Felhann
Felhann
This is a reflection not a review... It occurred to me when I was 10 years old and watching the bad news bears for the 100th time that grown ups do not children. Looking back I wondered what is was about the 1970's that painted a portrait of children being evil or bad and the parents hating them? anyone remember "the little girl who lives down the lane?" This was suggesting a girl who is evil but in reality its the adults who are evil (Martin sheen character) how about "the omen?" The devil incarnated.

Here in this movie devil times five not only suggests such an idea but confirms it! I definitely recommend this movie for sending a chilling message into your psyche.
Unh
Unh
Now i don't like to use juvenile terms when i review a movie, but honestly. i hated this movie. hated hated hated this movie. I know that's a childish thing to say (no pun intended) but there's no better word. This movie was stupid.

Allrighty, i might as well tell you WHY. So let's jump into Movie number 22 on our Chilling Classics 50 movie pack.

So it starts off with these little annoying kids who climb out of a bus that crashed apparently unharmed. It seems that they just escaped from a crazy house and they are just.... it isn't really clear what their motive it, they're just doing stuff. On the other side of the plot though an old guy who isn't much of a family man has a get together for the rest of his family. They all kind of yell at each other the whole time, so it really isn't that good of a reunion. Or then again, it's like EVERY reunion. Now it said on my DVD sleeve that these people were mafia. I don't know, they never mentioned it, and if this old guy were the head of a mafia you'd think he'd have guards or something, but you know what? i seriously question ever aspect of this movie anyway.

So these kids show up and start killing off people one by one. And everyone thinks it's suicides. Because they're idiots. And then they lose their guns. because they're idiots. Then they start getting killed off one by one... because, well something tells me you could figure out why.

I am going to spoil the ending here for one specific reason. So you know what happens and you have no cause or reason to see this movie. EVER. The only guy left's girlfriend gets killed by the kids, so he goes out to get his revenge. FINALLY! oh. wait. then he falls in some bear traps and dies..... God i hate this movie.

Look. There's something people who make movies need to understand. Just because you have a child in a movie, that does not make them invincible. If a child/ group of children are killers, it does not mean that they can get away scott free and that we think that would be chilling or a role reversal. No. IT'S STUPID. it doesn't frighten or disturb you, it INCREDIBLY ANNOYS YOU. if that was their attempt, then great job, but something tells me they're not that smart to think of something like that. If you have 5 main evil kids, AT LEAST 2 have to die if you're going to make some live. you CANNOT have all of them live. That is BEYOND retarded. Now i know that sort of thing in the role reversal is terrible like Jason Voorehees pretty much won't ever be seen killing a kid, but on the other hand, if 5 kids are slaughtering everybody around them, i think they need to pull out the punches and start lopping off some annoying kid heads.

Now i normally don't review in this way, but this movie made me angry at it. So much so that if it were not part of a collection, and "passenger of bali" (which is also on the same disc) not being somewhat entertaining, i would have thrown this stupid thing out.

Devil times five gets 1 terrible EVERYTHING out of 10.
Murn
Murn
For some reason, the folks at Code Red DVD thought this was deserving of a release on DVD not once, but twice. Maybe they thought that there were still a lot of fans of teen idol Leif Garrett out there, or thought that the seldom-used plot of kids being psychotic killers would attract some interest. As you can probably tell from what I just wrote, I wasn't impressed by this movie, even though I enjoy watching independent exploitation movies. What annoyed me the most were that the adult characters are incredibly stupid, and it takes them forever after a sizable body count to figure out what's going on. The kids themselves are almost as annoying as the adult characters. But what really sinks the movie is that not only does it unfold with no surprises, but takes so long to do so.
FreandlyMan
FreandlyMan
DEVIL TIMES FIVE suffers from barely-competent direction and editing so bad, you wonder if it was done by trained simians. What could have been a genuinely chilling movie about child psychotics victimizing a group of unsuspecting adults is sabotaged by some glaring continuity problems, most noticeably a minor character who is played by one actor in outdoor scenes and an entirely different actor in indoor scenes and Leif Garrett's famous goldy locks being natural in some scenes and a wig in others. Psycho children are scary, but we don't get any back stories to heighten our horror. Maybe that was the point. This flick has some pretty nihilistic adults, spouting soap opera exposition about failed marriages, infidelities, and non-committed relationships. It may be like trying to polish a cow pie, but it might be observed that the adults and their trashy grown-up "games" are a revolting counterpoint to the homicidal "games" of the junior wackos. Both are disgusting, but the adults and their "games" are socially sanctioned. I just wish some details were followed up on. Leif Garrett is shown engaging in some behavior that may have been filmed to establish a split personality element that the director abandoned or didn't explore. I won't detail what it is, but it's something that, given the theme of the movie and the fact that a pubescent boy is doing it, still serves to give viewers the creeps.
Wenaiand
Wenaiand
What's with all the alternate names? In England this film is known as 'Tantrums', but that isn't even listed on the IMDb. Did the backers decide to change the title every time it flopped in a different country in a vain effort to cover their tracks? Seeing how bad it is, it wouldn't surprise me..

A hotel. Snowy wilderness. 6 dumb adults. Five psychotic kids. Oh, the poor dears are stuck in the cold! Let's give them a place to stay! However, this is the worse decision they could have possibly made. For these budding young Charlie Mansons are murderous killers, and they leave no prisoners in their wake. The grown-ups end up, in no particular order: boiled in bathtubs, axed in the back, slit through the throat and yep, you guessed it.. hung from the rafters.

In an effort to stave off criticism of child exploitation, actual exposure of gore is kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, this makes the editing distinctly choppy, and ruins any potential excitement generated by these scenes. It doesn't help that the victims are so clueless they might as well sign their own death warrants. I cannot recall a film in living memory where the deceased were so stupid. Also, what was with the oft-repeated playground-style background music? If this was supposed to heighten the suspense, I'm sorry.. the incessant noise is just distracting and annoying. Combine that with dismal acting and the pointless slow-motion camera-work, and you have yourself a real waste of time. Watch Bloody Birthday instead.. a movie with a similar plot but 10x better execution. 2/10
Landarn
Landarn
"Devil Times Five" (also known under a slew of various titles, including "Peopletoys," "The Horrible House on the Hill," and "Tantrums") focuses on a small mountain village where a group of sleazy adults are vacationing. Nearby, a psychiatric facility van transporting five delusional, homicidal children, crashes, unleashing the little terrors. When they seek refuge in the snowy vacation community, a countdown on adult bodies ensues.

Well, well, well—this is a weird one. Clearly shot on a shoestring budget and with a script that delivers little in the way of surprises, "Devil Times Five"'s greatest strength is the dwindling presence of its adult figures, as the demented children clobber, hack, ignite, piranha bath(?) and slash them to the bits. The film evokes a dingy, dreary atmosphere that recalls that of "Don't Go in the Basement" and other '70s horror obscurities, and that may be the singular reason to watch this film; there is something unsettling captured here in the aesthetics and content, which is the case for so many of these films.

On the other hand, the film is a technical disaster in more ways than one. Bizarre editing and offbeat pacing afflict the film's first act; the kitschy seventies aesthetic will seem to override the possibility of any and all horror, but the last half of the film is remarkably grim and borderline nihilistic. The kids themselves all have their own delusional personalities; one carries himself as an Army commander, while another believes himself to be a child star; another even more bizarrely believes herself to be a nun, and dresses accordingly. The children in the film have more personality than their victims, which is an unusual quirk for the genre.

Overall, "Devil Times Five" is a sloppy yet effective film, and one that I'd probably only recommend for grindhouse fans and those who enjoy the grittier side of pre-millennial horror. In spite of its technical shortcomings and mediocre acting, the film does capture a dreary atmosphere which grows progressively darker and darker as the film goes on; there is a definite sick center to the film, an inherent nastiness that comes with children embodying physical evils, and I dare say no film has captured it with such a cynical lens. 6/10.
Gralmeena
Gralmeena
In the 1970's, Conservative America was afraid of the young. The counter culture, the civil rights/anti-Vietnam protesters, all added to this underlying fear, perpetuated like the communist '"threat" in the 1950's. "kids" weren't towing the line. They were "sticking it to the man". Or in the infamous case of the Charles Manson lead "family", they were killing the rich - "The Man", so to speak. They were also giving it a little closer to home, and this of course meant the family. In the cinema this was reflected in the horror genre. From the time in 1968, - when the little girl kills her parents with a trowel and eats them in George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, and Mia Farrow quite literally gives birth to the Devil in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby - the movies began to depict children and adolescents as quite evil, untrustworthy 'elephant's in the room'. In the '70's, this trend was reflected in two large budget, Hollywood 'blockbusters', William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), and Richard Donner's fun but flawed The Omen (1976). Sat somewhere between these two studio efforts is Sean MacGregor's Devil Times Five (also known as Peopletoys).

A group consisting of work colleagues and family, headed by self-evident pack-patriarch, Papa Doc (Gene Evans), have congregated in an isolated house. The snow is falling heavy and thick. A group of kids escape a van that has crashed in the wilderness, that was transporting them from a state mental facility. The kids make their way through the forests until they come across the vacation home. They infiltrate with the image of innocence, but one by one, the occupants are murdered. After trapping one victim in animal 'Conibear' traps, the kids skip around him, mocking his death, with the xylophonic music of 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush' on the soundtrack.

The film is no missing gem. It is however, quite a well-made movie. The 'devil' kids are not too bad. The nature of the adults in the film, - arrogant, pessimistic, and odious - only make you happy that these calculated (and clearly more hauntingly intelligent) kids will kill the lot of them. Whether this was intentional is not clear. I never really enjoyed the company of the adults. The kids are playful, spiteful, and a little fun. And they act better. It's no masterpiece, but it has charm, and is more sophisticated than many of the same sub-genre of exploitation films of the time. It does have a slightly chilling end, (not exceptionally so, but on thought, it could be perpetually cyclical) the kids stand round all the dead adults sitting round tables, and on sofas, they complain of the loss; the game is over; but they are comforted by their leader, Sister Hannah (dressed as a nun), when she advises that they will soon have some new 'toys' to play with.

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Daigrel
Daigrel
This film is at times disturbing and well-shot and at others abysmally absurd and full of continuity issues. For its low budget - though it does have a cast with Sorrell Booke and Gene Evans and some other actors and actresses that have gone on to lucrative Hollywood careers(Leif Garrett comes to mind)- Devil Times Five has that creepy seventies horror film vibe going for it that makes it a treat to watch despite its many shortcomings. A group of mentally "acute" deadly child patients (5 of them) are freed when their van going to the mental institute crashes. They walk through the frozen, snow-covered wilderness with no food and little clothing yet fear not the winter chill. Soon they reach a very nice winter residence of one Papa Doc, his wife, his daughter and her boyfriend who works for Papa Doc,, the mentally slow caretaker, and Harvey Beckman who also works for Papa Doc with his drunken wife Ruth. Harvey Beckman apparently is a doctor at a sanatorium - one of the best - but he cannot see anything wrong when these children show up. He is so trustworthy that he turns his back on one with an ax. How did that work out for you Doc? Anyway, Beckman is played nicely by pre-Boss Hogg Sorrell Booke. The children soon invade the home and kill all of its inhabitants in a myriad of ways: death by drowning and piranha bites(yes, piranhas in this winter wonderland), death by being doused with flames and lit up like a Christmas tree, death bu a sharp branch impaling one from a kid on a swing, death by bear traps, death by hanging some guy looking at a generator but never showing us how that was even remotely possible, and finally death by a lance to the throat from a window closed mind you - a perfect throw through glass and all by a thirteen year old(or so). The first murder scene is done in a grainy, slow motion, black and white way which looks ludicrous and I had no idea what was going on. The rest of the murders are done at least in color though some suffer from the slow motion used again. Apparently there were two directors for this film and that leads to all kinds of continuity problems. That being said, the acting and atmosphere of this film are quite chilling. Unfortunately, some of these flaws seriously take away from the film for I found myself laughing at certain scenes for their idiocy. The kids are pretty decent performers and the older actors do nicely. The gals are attractive and Carolyn Stellar playing Lovely who likes anything with pants disrobes a couple times. She is the real life mother of two of the child actors - Leif Garrett and Dawn Lynn(who you may remember as Jodie Harper Douglas on My Three Sons - I knew I had seen her somewhere before!). I am sure it must be quite a treat when the three sit down and watch this movie together. All in all this is better than you might expect.
Gavirus
Gavirus
I've always enjoyed killer kids movies through the years such as (Children Of The Corn, The Bad Seed, Blood Birthday and even The Children), and when I came across this I was even more intrigued, especially given it's back story of how the original director was fired and that only 40 minutes of his footage was deemed useable, and a new director was hired to finish the film a few weeks later and gathering (almost) all of the cast members back for re-shoots.

But despite all that this was movie was actually pretty decent, the only really noticeable difference was the bus driver being played by 3 different actors, which did get rather confusing at first, but honestly this didn't affect my enjoyment of this what so ever.

The movie starts off rather interestingly where a bus crashes and five kids makes it out alive, then we learn that they were on their way to a mental hospital. Then we meet the six adult characters who are all staying at a secluded ski lodge for the weekend, when eventually the children turn up to wreck havoc on their lives. The pacing may be a little slow at first, but that didn't make things boring as we are introduced to each of the main cast, but sadly I would have liked a back story on the kids themselves, on what they did to end up in an asylum and maybe why they did what they did, nothing is explained, just instead they plan their attack on the adults with various traps, which is quite refreshing than the usual stalk and slash method.

Some things worked in this and some things didn't, while the cast did quite well with their parts, other aspects just didn't quite work, for starters to infamous 4 minute death scene where the children murder the bus driver in slow motion, was just tedious and lacked any sort of tension, for starters you couldn't see what was going on and plus there was absolutely no blood. Another thing that doesn't work is the realism of the situation, like when the kids arrive when didn't adults just drive them into town straight away instead of waiting till the next day when by that time they tampered with the cars, and also when the first couple of murders happen, when one of the kids was asked about it, the kid mentions somebody called George, I mean who is that and why wasn't it fetched up again.

But what I did like about this movie is that it was very fun and sleazy, the camp catfight between the two girls was fun and most of the death scenes were quite creative like the piranhas in the bath tub, the giant swing from the ceiling, spear thrown through window and hitting someone in the neck, also the final kill was quite tense. I also liked the fact that these kids didn't do what psycho kids do normally like when they act like adults in other films, here they act like kids which does add a nice touch to this movie.

The cast like I said were very good, special nod goes to the kids who clearly stole the show Leif Garrett was good as the cross dressing youngster, while Tierre Turner who played the army black kid was fun and the nun played by Gail Smale was very creepy. The adults were also a load of fun Gene Evans as Papa Doc played the grumpy old man who hated everything was realistically played. Taylor Lacher was okay as the hero type, but did make some stupid decisions and that moustache just should have been shaved off. Shelly Morrison was a load of fun as the drunk and was just all over the place. Sorrell Booke was also likable as the put upon Harvey and I just cheered when he finally stood up for himself. Carolyn Stellar as Lovely was funny as hell and Joan McCall was okay as the nice girl Julie.

All in all "Devil Times Five" is a pretty good movie, and may not be perfect and does flaws, but it's still a load of fun and definitely worth watching.
ladushka
ladushka
Devil Times Five opens with a spectacular bus crash, the driver losing control of the vehicle in heavy snow, the bus careering off the road and rolling numerous times down a hill until it smacks into a tree. Amazingly, there are survivors: five kids, patients from the children's acute ward at the State Mental Hospital, and one adult, who the psychotic brats soon take care of. The demented youngsters trek through the snow until they reach the home of businessman Papa Doc, who has arranged a weekend get together for family and employees; concerned for their wellbeing, the adults welcome the pint-sized visitors into the house, unaware that their new guests are homicidal maniacs.

Generally speaking, the success of a horror film that revolves around killer kids relies heavily on the acting chops of the youngsters chosen to play the murderous mites. Since all five of the children in Devil Times Five are absolutely bloody awful actors, the film fails spectacularly as a horror, with genuine shocks being extremely thin on the ground, despite the thoroughly twisted subject matter. However, as a camp piece of inept, trashy nonsense, it actually proves quite entertaining…

Directors Sean MacGregor and David Sheldon employ some very poorly considered creative techniques, including particularly lousy use of slow motion and unnecessary freeze frame, all of which proves fairly amusing. A completely inappropriate, whimsical score provides further unintentional laughs, as do the highly preposterous death scenes, which include hanging via electric generator, piranha bath, and scythe swing.

The film's array of outlandish characters are also a lot of fun: the crazy kids consist of army obsessed Brian (Tierre Turner) whose antics are accompanied by military drumming on the soundtrack, pyromaniac Susan (Tia Thompson), Sister Hannah (Gail Smale), who pretends to be a novice nun, evil moppet Moe (Dawn Lyn), and weirdo David (played by 70s teen heart-throb Leif Garrett) who enjoys a spot of cross-dressing. Of the adults, Papa Doc (Gene Evans) is a bully, his wife Lovely (Carolyn Stellar) is a big-breasted slut, Ralph (John Durren) the handyman is retarded, Harvey Beckman (Sorrell Booke) is a wimp, and his wife Ruth (Shelley Morrison) is a lush. Only Papa Doc's daughter Julie (Joan McCall) and her husband Rick (Taylor Lacher) are remotely normal, but this being a '70s 'shocker', even they don't make it out alive!

5/10, plus an extra point for Carolyn Stellar as Lovely, who takes part in an awesome cat-fight with McCall that sees her top popping open to reveal her ample breasts, and who also gets them out during her hilarious death scene. Oh, and for having a couple of people listed in the credits with a very amusing surname.
Kaim
Kaim
My dad took me to see this film when I was 6 (he's a good guy, really). Through my young eyes there was nothing cheesy or unintentionally hilarious about it, just disturbing to the core. A good deal of time is spent establishing the characters before any carnage begins. Enough so that I actually cared about the adults and the children. I was broadsided when the sadistic murdering began. The kills are lengthy and graphic, including a man beaten to death with a hammer (in slow-motion!) and woman's tub ruined by piranhas. As the kids were carrying her bleeding, dead, naked body out into the evening snow I made my dad get us the hell out of there. This movie warped me! Thanks dad!
Ionzar
Ionzar
This takes place in the dead of winter. Five kids from a mental institution are being transported somewhere else. The van transporting them crashes but they all survive. They make their way to a resort hotel nearby that is closed for the season. Staying there however is a gangster and his assorted employees and family. They take in the kids not realizing that these children are capable of murder.

Bizarre little horror story. This was independently made on a very low budget. Unfortunately it shows. The script is OK but more interested in drama than horror. The murders themselves are pretty bloodless and (worst of all) not even remotely scary. The first one is shot in black and white AND in slow motion! Comes off looking stupid and boring at the same time (quite a feat). The acting varies. All the kids are terrible especially a VERY young Leif Garrett (who--for some reason--is a cross-dresser). The adults are OK. All in all this has an interesting premise but doesn't have the funding to carry it out.