Devil Times Five (AKA The Horrible House on the Hill) (1974)

With black horror movie characters typically being either helpless victims or nameless extras, it’s good to see that they can be evil every now and then. Tierre Turner of Cornbread, Earl and Me fame is featured here as Brian, one of a quintet of kids who escape from a mental facility that is apparently a haven for psychopath prodigies. Any one of these kids could grow up to star in their own slasher movie, but that would remove the perverse joy of seeing 10-year-olds drag a naked, bloody woman through the snow. Disturbing? Sure, but if you’ve seen Bloody Birthday or The Pit (or any episode of Full House, for that matter), you know that children can be even more sadistic.

This gang is actually admirable in their capacity for teamwork; when it comes to playing well with others, I would definitely give them a “check-plus”. Aided by Brian’s unhealthy obsession with the military, the tykes rig a variety of booby traps and wage enjoyable prepubescent guerrilla warfare on a group of adults — including Boss Hogg and the maid from Will and Grace — staying at an isolated ski lodge in the woods. It’s kind of like Home Alone meets Saw.

No explanation is given for their insanity, but one possible reason is that each of them is a social outcast of some sort — one’s a pyromaniac, one’s black, one’s an albino, one’s a cross-dresser with the inexplicable ability to grow hair at will, and one’s just too darn cute. The kills are generally fun and unique — even if the director has an over-predilection for slow motion (including one scene that stretches out for four minutes) — involving bear traps, a homemade harpoon and bathtub piranhas. Oh, and Leif Garrett in drag. Boiiing!

No one remembers the eighth dwarf, Sassy.
Red Riding Hood had something for the Big Bad Wolf.
Nothing untoward going on here…
No one took Charlie’s corpse seriously.


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