body horror

[Movie Review] Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) ★★★☆☆

The Collector and his demons in Tales from the Crypt Demon Knight 1995

Demon Knight is messy but with practical gore galore. 


Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight is a movie presented by the tv series Tales from the Crypt that aired in the eighties. While this film is made in the nineties, it has that typical eighties vibe with gory oozing practical effects and a cheesy feel. The story doesn’t amount too much originality, and the execution relies heavy on the practical effects. Still, Demon Knight is very entertaining mostly because of the nostalgic eighties vibe.


Plot

A man named Frank Brayker is on the run from The Collector, a demonic entity who’s after an old relic, a key. When Frank takes his refuge in an old church now converted into a motel, he and the owner and some guests have to withstand the evil seductions of The Collector and his killer demons to prevent the world from being overrun by demonic riff-raff. 


Why you should watch it

Demon Knight isn’t exactly the most original or outstanding practical effects horror, but it does deliver some fun and some gory, oozing, slimy stuff. The film starts with the introduction of the Crypt Keeper, which is a rather distasteful gory affair in multiple ways before the actual film starts. 

The whole story is a bit of a mishmash of occult relics, demons, silly humor, and over the top actions and plot devices that altogether doesn’t result into something very scary, but entertaining enough. Brayker himself is a dry, all too serious kinda guy, while Irene the owner is a tough lady and her little helper Jeryline a youth delinquent who turns out to be the next chosen one. There’s also a prostitute, Cordelia with her bad boyfriend Roach (what’s in a name?), a nerdy postal worker Wally with a sinister secret that comes quite in handy, an old boozer uncle Willy, Deputy Bob and a boy Danny, who are all caught in the middle of this fight between good and evil.

This fight however is explained in flashbacks which don’t make it quite clear what exactly is going on, how and why, but it serves as a meagre background story for the demons to go crazy and for The Collector to have himself a jolly good time. 

For it is Billy Zane who relishes in his role as The Collector. He goes all out to seduce, to threaten, with many dress-ups and with his long eyelashes he steals the show with just one look. He’s really good at being the bad guy and does it with great flair. His little bits give the film just that bit of a surreal vibe that are not all tasteful but it is certainly done with conviction. He turns this silly mess into something that is worth a watch. While Jada Pinkett as Jeryline makes a good challenger who rises as a tough brave girl who’s next in line to defeat and withstand the evil as the new chosen one. 

The practical effects are well-done, and as oozing and slimy as possible with pretty ugly demons. But when some of the guests are turned into demons as well, then the practical effects go all out and make the most vile and sickening creatures who are hysterically fun. 

There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of screaming, running around and it all amounts to nothing, or in fact to a gruesome fate that was part of the plan all along. In hindsight the plot has many flaws, but the gore, violence and practical effects make up for that at least a bit. 


My favorite part

Without Billy Zane it probably wouldn’t be half as fun. He saves the movie, with his evil charms. Even to the point that he and his demons are the center of attention and steal the main focus away from the actual victims and heroes. And you gotta love what a woman can do when her arm just got ripped off, it’s pretty amazing and silly fun at the same time. Who’s in for a cheesy gory good time, then this might be a fine choice.


Ratings

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Gore factor: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★☆☆☆☆

Popcorn factor: ★★★★☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★☆☆


Cast and crew

Tales of the Crypt: Demon Knight is directed by Ernest Dickerson and written by Mark Bishop, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris. It stars Billy Zane (The Collector), William Sadler (Frank Brayker), Jada Pinkett (Jeryline), C.C.H. Pounder (Irene), Thomas Haden Church (Roach), Brenda Bakke (Cordelia), Dick Miller (Uncle Willy), Gary Farmer (Deputy Bob), Ryan O’Donohue (Danny) and Charles Fleischer (Wally).

Duration: 92 minutes. Music: Edward Shearmur. Cinematography: Rick Bota. Edited by: Stephen Lovejoy. Produced by: Gilbert Adler. Production company: Crypt Keeper Productions. Distributed by: Universal Pictures.


Check the trailer below


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