The Horrible House On The Hill (1974)

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The Horrible House On The Hill or 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.