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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

This movie is a tie in to the HBO series Tales from the Crypt. After a brief intro with the Crypt Keeper directing a scene of a murdered husband coming back to get some payback on his cheating murdering wife. Basic EC comics stuff. He then introduces the movie and we get to the action.

Billy Zane is the Collector and William Sadler is Brayker, the hero, who is carrying the holy relic that the Collector is trying to steal. As the story unfolds we are shown that Brayker is very old, having been given the relic during World War I, by the previous protector. Chasing him are demons who want to lock the relic up. The Collector is the latest in a long line. If he can empty the contents of the relic, which is some liquid that bars the demons from entering a building protected by it, they win. What happens if the demons win? Well basically eternal darkness and end of the human race. Did I mention that the liquid is the blood of Jesus mixed in with that of the previous defenders of the relic?

I realize that ‘90s horror wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Demon Knight is an excellent example of this fact. They do a great job getting right to the good stuff with Brayker and the Collector arriving at the Mission Inn, a converted church that now serves as a bar/hotel. This prompts the initial series of kills and gets the survival/fighting part of the movie rolling. The background of Brayker is divvied out slowly in flashbacks that add to the depth of the story without slowing it down. Trying to front load character stuff in a horror movie can kill any momentum that the movie tries to build so this was a good choice.

When the kills start they are great and use practical effects. We get a fist thru the head (so long sheriff!), a demonic hooker ripping out a throat, some explosions, and an arm getting twisted off! For the gore hounds in the audience it is plentiful and in your face. I also thought that the design of the demons was executed nicely. They aren’t especially groundbreaking but there was an effort to make them look different from each other. Small details like that I tend to notice and appreciate.

Billy Zane is awesome!
William Sadler does a fine job as Brayker, and we also get nice performances from Jada Pinkett, Thomas Haden Church, and CCH Pounder. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Dick Miller got more than just a cameo and was actually given some lines as Uncle Willy. I was able to relate to this character as we both have a couple of things in common… Watch the movie and you will understand.

The best part of Demon Knight is Billy Zane. He is awesome as the demonic Collector chewing up the scenery with his over the top persona. Between being completely evil, which had to be a blast to play, and the scenes where he is tempting the humans into helping him, it is a blast. He gets to make wisecracks, mugs for the camera, and just generally be goofy as hell. I used to think that Billy Zane’s best performance was in The Mad, but this is better. He alone is worth the price of the DVD, the fact that the rest of the movie is good should be considered a bonus.

I love Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. It has everything that I want in a horror movie, gore, humor, and characters that I like. I highly recommend it.


© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer



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