Illustration : Geoff Holt

DVD Availability : |


Sean MacGregor, David Sheldon | USA | 1974


This creepy psycho-thriller from 1974, representing one hundred percent of Barrister Productions film output to date, was only partially shot by Gentle Savage filmmaker Sean MacGregor. Following a “difficult shoot”, Macgregor was replaced with a more experienced David Sheldon, whereupon much of MacGregor’s original footage had to be re-shot. This resulted in a very uneven picture, about five extremely disturbed, sociopathic children who escape their crashed bus, to wreak murderous havoc upon an eclectic bunch of loathsome and moany vacationers at a remote travel lodge — actually filmed at Lake Arrowhead, located in the beautiful California-based San Bernardino National Forest. Each murder becoming a hideous set-piece, and each adult — headed by Gene Evans and future ’Boss Hogg’ actor Sorrell Booke, his role here seemingly serving as a precursor and is almost indistinguishable from this character — is cast solely to be killed off in one of a variety of grisly and horrific ways…

The film was originally unveiled in 1980 by Intervision, who neatly packaged the film in a small but attractive gatefold carton. It was this (now 30-year-old) tape, under the title Devil Times Five, which has provided the UK with its only uncensored video release to date — a tape that sees good-conditioned examples, to occasionally command prices in excess of £70.






Its next release on tape was in October 1987 by Motion Pictures on Video (MPV) — an outfit located at the plush London offices of Number 6 Bloomsbury Square. MPV branded Sheldon’s picture as Tantrums, and commissioned fresh sleeve art, as colourfully illustrated by the late Geoff Holt, a talented figurative painter. Holt designed several other sleeves for MPV during this period, including The Psychopath and Battle of El Alamein – both covered elsewhere on this site.

It was this later edition that suffered cuts totalling 1m 09s, to some of the film’s gorier moments involving the younger teens, one of whom — played by one-time teen idol Leif Garrett — is often seen with inexplicably changing hairstyles, undoubtedly a direct result of a production having two directors involved. Leif’s sister Dawn Lyn also appears here as one of the murderous youngsters, in a role highlighted by her emptying a bucket load of piranhas into a bathtub.

This unnerving gem has since appeared uncut on DVD by US based Code Red, as Devil Times Five.


aka : Devil Times Five; People Toys; Horrible House on the Hill

cast : Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Taylor Lacher, Joan McCall, Shelley Morrison, Carolyn Steller [Carolyn Stellar], John Durren, Leif Garrett, Gail Smale, Dawn Lyn, Tierre Turner, Tia Thompson, Henry Beckman