Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 24th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1974
Director: Sean MacGregor, David Sheldon
Cast: Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Taylor Lacher, Joan McCall, Shelley Morrison, Carolyn Stellar, Leif Garrett
DVD released: November 21st, 2006
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
“No one will ever know whether children are monsters or monsters are the children.” – Henry James
A bus carrying mentally disturbed children crashes killing everyone but five of the child being transported. The survivors now stranded in the snow covered wilderness search for a home in which they can find refuge. Three wealthy couples are staying in a remote mountain home when the children appear one day. They give the children a place to stay until they are able to find them a permanent place to stay. Little do they known that these are not your ordinary children and when mysterious things start to happen the adult start to suspect that the children are behind what is going on.
Horror films rely heavily on their body counts and the pacing in between the kills. Devil Times Five is a slow moving plot that spends its first hour introducing us to the characters and their imperfect lives. The film then goes into overdrive with the bulk of the killings done in the last twenty five minutes. Many of the deaths are elaborate in design and in some cases unique like the scene where a woman named Lovely is eaten alive by piranhas while taking a bath. One also has to get a kick out of how many of the murders are shown in slow motion. The films score might sound oddly familiar as its features the song London Bridge is falling down and few other motifs that sound ever so familiar.
The cast for the film features a few performers who would go on to become household names like Sorrell Booke who would later play Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazzard and 1970’s teen heart throb Leif Garret who was just about to hit his peak after this film. One continuity error in the film has to do with actor Leif Garrett whose hair appears to change lengths and style through out the film. This has to do with the film having to be finished at a later date after the films original director left the project. The story is far fetched and down right silly. The acting is all over the place with most of it verging on it is so bad it is good territory. The ending is the films creepiest moment and outside of this the rest of the film is not scary or disturbing. Overall Devil Times Five is a mess of a movie that never really gets its act together in the end.
Devil Times Five is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated and the image looks clean and it remains stable throughout. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is minimal.
This release comes with one audio option English and it is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is clear and easy to understand with music evenly balanced with the rest of the mix. Outside of a few instances where the audio sounds distorted the overall quality of this audio mix is more then adequate.
Extras for this release include the films original trailer and trailers for other Code Red releases including Don’t go in the Woods, Love me Deadly, School Girls in Chains, Sweet Sixteen, Beyond the Door and The secrets of Sweet Sixteen. Also included with this release is poster gallery with seven images and a very brief clip of an alternate title sequence for Devil Times Five. Other extras include interviews with actresses Joan McCall, Dawn Lyn, Tierre Turner, producer Michael Blowitz and co-director David Sheldon. These interviews serve up as a nice companion to the audio commentary track. The main extra is an audio commentary with actresses Joan McCall, Dawn Lyn, producer Michael Blowitz, co-director David Sheldon and this audio track is moderated by film historian Darren Gross. The audio commentary is filled with several great answers including the mystery as to why actor Leif Garret’s hair style changes drastically through out the film. This release also comes with a handful of Easter Eggs which can be found on the features page.
Code Red does an admirable job with their Devil Times Five DVD release which comes with a first rate audio/video presentation and a handful of interesting extras. The only thing that could have made this release any better would have been the participation of Leif Garret on the extras.
For more information about Devil Times Five visit Code Red here.