Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reasons Not To Have Kids #6: Devil Times Five

Tonight's review comes from my friend and fellow Mass Invader Adam. He was nice enough to show me and Felicia around L.A when we visited a few weeks ago and told us what was what and where. He does other stuff too but it's top secret so shh!

So Jason wanted me to review a movie about murderous children. No problem. I went to the video store, which actually has a murderous children subsection, and randomly selected Devil Times Five. I knew nothing about this movie going in, but I figured that the relative obscurity would mean nobody else would be reviewing it.

I pop it in the DVD player and start the movie. The title card comes up: The Horrible House on the Hill. What the fuck? It turns out that this movie had a bunch of titles, including: Peopletoys, Tantrums, and O lofos tou tromou, which is the Greek title.

If you don't want to have anything major spoiled for you, then stop reading after this paragraph: 4 kids and a nun (who may or may not be a kid herself ) possess a similar ingenuity to that of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, only they're insane and use their creative gifts to kill adults in really interesting ways when their bus overturns in a desolate mountain region on their way to the state mental hospital. Sound appealing? Rent it! If you aren't convinced, keep reading...

The movie starts and we're introduced to Rick, who is picking up his moderately attractive blonde girlfriend named Julie, for a weekend stay at her father's newly purchased winter lodge. The radio weatherman says that the roads are bad and tire chains are required for driving up in the very mountains they're heading towards. Apparently Julie's father, Papa Doc, is planning on opening some sort of elaborate ski lodge or retirement community or some crazy thing with his new property way the hell up in the mountains. He needs to hire a doctor, either for injured skiers or the elderly. You see, Papa Doc is not actually a doctor. However, Rick is. This is confusing. So Rick has to play nice with Julie's father, Papa Doc, so he can land the job as a doctor. Apparently Rick is one of those rare unemployed doctors. So Rick & Julie head off towards the house/lodge/mountain retreat/whatever you want to call it.

On the same ice covered mountain road we were just warned about, a shortbus drives off a cliff, killing the driver and apparently all the other adults on board. The evil children survive and escape the overturned bus, but not before the black kid (Brian, who is obsessed with the military) steals the dead driver's wristwatch.

The other kids are: David (played by Leif Garrett), the kid voted most likely to be gay by his preschool class; Susan, who we later learn is a pyromaniac; Moe, a little girl who carried around a plush fish long before Nemo made it cool; and Sister Hannah, who may or may not be the youngest nun outside of Ecuador. The kids escape and trudge up the mountain. Although they haven't done anything evil yet, the overuse of a Theremin on the soundtrack lets us know they're creepy.

Rick & Julie arrive at the lodge, as do Harvey (a spineless balding doctor) and his wife Ruth (an alcoholic and one of Papa Doc's daughters). We're also introduced to Lovely (a slut and either the 3rd of Papa Doc's daughters or his much younger wife; I might have missed the explanation) and Papa Doc himself (an asshole). They all decide to get settled in, because there's a long weekend ahead of fucking about in the snow and not taking care of business, which was the sole purpose of the trip.

Lovely is helped to her room by Ralph, the retarded handyman. She tries to get him to rub her feet, and when that fails she makes him take off his pants so she can have sex with him. Julie walks in and catches the shenanigans and makes Ralph leave. Then the two sisters (again, I think they're sisters...let's pretend they are) briefly argue and Lovely tells Julie that she "balled" her boyfriend and can do it again anytime she wants. Julie attacks her and an epic catfight breaks out. It ends when the obviously drunk Ruth walks in and laughs at the two of them.

Meanwhile, the children are still traipsing through the blizzard, but back at their overturned bus, we learn that not all the adults are dead. A doctor for the state mental hospital has survived and begins to track the children. There are a lot of doctors in this movie...

The children finally make it to the mountain lodge and create a plan for breaking into it. We learn that they are adamant about no going back to the institution and will do anything to avoid capture. They break in through the garage (or perhaps it was an attached tool shed), but the doctor finds them. This is the doctor from the mental hospital, not Papa Doc (since he's not really a doctor) or the other two guys who are doctors but not for the state mental hospital. Well, the kids kill him with a pitchfork, sledgehammer, regular hammer and possibly other items. It was hard to tell. They shot this scene in sepia tone and super-slow-motion. The vocal track is also slowed, so the dying doctor sounds like a cow that learned how to "moo" very slowly. There is also a Theremin on the soundtrack for added creepiness, but that is not slowed down.

Back to the adults. After a brief argument with Julie about whether or not he had sex with Lovely (Rick never did give a straight answer), Rick & Julie have authentic 70's-style sex with genuine old-fashioned porno music playing. Perverts, take notice: Julie's breasts can only be seen for a fraction of a second, and they aren't all that great.

In another room, Harvey (the balding pudgy doctor) is trying to seduce his wife, but she tells him that she isn't drunk enough yet (I hate it when they say that), and leaves to fix herself a drink. She discovers the children huddled around the fireplace and freaks out. All the adults come running in, and the kids tell them about the bus accident. The adults vow to help the kids, but the weather is too fucked up to do anything about it now. Also, the phone lines are down because of the storm, and the generator isn't working right. This shit will have to wait until morning. So they have dinner.

At dinner, the adults are mostly too busy bickering to notice how creepy the children are. They let the nun sit with them, and she says creepy shit to Rick and a prayer for the food. Dinner ends, and Papa Doc tells Ralph to go fix the busted generator.

Ralph attempts to fix the generator by turning it on, but those wacky kids somehow rigged it so that whoever turned it on would activate some kind of pulley-mechanism and hang themselves. Ralph dies.

After dinner, everyone is hanging around the living room. Harvey is beating David at chess, Susan is hypnotically staring at the lit candles, and little Moe is looking at the aquarium. She inquires about the ugly fish, and Papa Doc tells her that they're piranhas and they eat people and other fish. The little girl, still clutching her plush fish, is freaked out and Papa Doc, being the asshole that he is, attempts to traumatize the 6 year old girl by feeding some of the goldfish stored in an adjacent aquarium to the piranhas.

Julie & Rick decide to get drunk in the basement's wine cellar, and Julie mentions how she thinks the kids are creepy. Rick doesn't disagree, but he isn't as bothered as Julie is. Ruth, the alcoholic, goes downstairs for more wine, and Julie voices her concerns about the children to her, but she only wants to get her drink on.

Later, Harvey is trying to once again have sex with his wife, but she says she has a headache, backache and toothache. So he takes a cold shower. Upon leaving the bathroom, Lovely tries to seduce him and we get lots of fat man ass screen-time in; although Harvey doesn't have sex with Lovely.

The next morning, everyone realizes that the heat and power are still out. Rick goes to investigate and discovers Ralph's body. Even though it looks like suicide, Rick & Papa Doc are convinced Ralph was murdered because he was way too retarded to rig a contraption to hang himself.

Rick tells everyone secretly that he thinks the kids did it, but he's overheard by David, who is wearing a dress and brushing his wig!

The stress is getting to everyone, and Harvey starts to booze it up with his wife. Apparently J&B Scotch made him grow a pair, because he confronts Papa Doc and tells him he wants the doctor job and double the pay. Papa Doc tells him to go outside and chop some wood.

So Harvey's chopping wood and David comes along. He's still upset about losing at chess and having the adults catch on to their murderous deeds, but he asks Harvey if he can help. Apparently that glass of scotch made him forget that the children are potentially dangerous, because Harvey agrees to let David chop some wood then criticizes the kid's chopping ability! Well, David turns out to be better at chopping than Harvey thought, because the moment Harvey turns his back, David smashes the axe into the back of his skull.

The remaining adults find Harvey's corpse and bring it back to the house. Then they start yelling at each other about how to escape from these children. Lovely is sick of all the fighting, and decides it's a perfect time for a bubble bath.

After relaxing in the tub for a few minutes (Lovely has huge tits, btw), Moe & Sister Hannah sneak in the bathroom and unleash the piranhas. They take large chunks out of her while she flails around helplessly. Then, SOMEHOW the kids drain the water and throw the body out the second-story window. Apparently they also shimmy down the rain gutter. After a few minutes, all the adults realized that Lovely shouldn't have been bathing in a house full of homicidal children and rush up to the bathroom. They find only a bloody bathtub, but they look out the open window to see the children dragging her naked corpse away

Papa Doc runs out of the house after them, but not before he punches out Rick, who wanted to stop him for some reason. Julie pleads with Papa Doc not to hurt the MURDEROUS CHILDREN but stays behind to look after her dazed boyfriend.

Papa Doc tracks them to a stable, and goes in. He sees one of the kids and gives them a stern lecture about how bad it is to kill people. Then Brian swoops down on some crazy rope swing rigged with a pointy stick that stabs Papa Doc and knocks him through the window on the door.

The kids go back to the house. In this time, the three remaining adults have done NOTHING. So a couple kids lure the drunk & grieving Ruth outside while Brian dumps gasoline on her from the second story window. Susan, the pyro-chick, lights her on fire. Now we have two adults left.

Those two adults decide to get the fuck out of town, so they run down to the lake to escape via boat. I'm not sure why they didn't think of this earlier. The kids use the rifles they apparently stole from the lodge to shoot at the fleeing adults. They miss, but the adults can't escape on boat with bullets flying at them, so they return to the house and barricade themselves in one of the bedrooms. The kids try to get in, but can't, so they wait until morning.

In the morning, Julie thinks they might be safe, so she goes to the window to see if she can see the children or an escape route. But David had climbed up to their room on a ladder and has been patiently waiting. The moment Julie sticks her face in the window, he throws a spear through it, hitting Julie in the neck and killing her. In the process, the shards of shattered glass cut David's face. Rick yells at the children about how he'll get them and David yells back, "Look what you did to my beautiful face!" God, this movie is brilliant.

Rick keeps waiting in the room and intermittently looks out the window to see the children turning Papa Doc into a real snowman while laughing and running around and generally being kids. Rick also spies an unattended rifle on the snow-covered picnic table and seizes the opportunity.

Sneaking downstairs, Rick gets to the front door readies himself to run straight for that rifle and shoot him some children. He gives the kids one last look, but they're still all playing in the snow, completely unaware that Rick has made it downstairs. After a few seconds of hesitation, Rick makes a beeline for the rifle and...

Gets caught in a series of bear traps hidden in the snow! Rick collapses, screaming in agony while the children descend upon him. Sister Hannah slits his throat and the children have successfully killed all the adults.

Finally, we cut to a scene of the children having a tea party. The corpses of the adults are all childishly dressed and made-up. A few minutes pass, and the children decide that they're bored and should go look for "new toys to play with."

Instead of the credits reading, "THE END," this movie decided to go with "THE BEGINNING."

Devil Times Five is a fun, sick little movie that I'd recommend anyone into Grindhouse-era horror. It's not perfect, and I doubt I'd ever go out of my way to watch it again unless I was showing it to somebody who might appreciate it. Still, it's pretty rare to see a movie where the entire group of crazy killers survives intact (well, except for David's "beautiful face"). This movie is freakier than most "Evil Children" movies because none of the victims even had kids! Except Papa Doc, who had either two daughters and a much younger mistress or three daughters. But still, these people were killed by kids they didn't even know. It isn't scary, it isn't gruesome and there isn't much nudity, but it's still depraved enough to get...

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