[90’s Horror Month] Rebel Reviews – Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

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Ready for a dead time story?

Tales From The Crypt is one of my all time favorite shows.  It brought both frights and laughs to the television screen as well as managing to honor the old EC comics from which the show was based off of.  By January 1995, the show was so popular that it released it’s first movie, Demon Knight.  And what us horror fans got was a truly bad ass and fun movie that felt perfectly in line with the series.

The plot is both simple yet pretty deep.   A man is on the run from the Collector, a demon hellbent on acquiring a mystical key that the man, Brayker, possesses.  With nowhere else to go, Brayker holds up in an old bed and breakfast along with six other people.  Under assault by a horde of demons, they must try to survive the night and keep the key from the Collector’s hands.

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Brayker, a man with problems you don’t want

I absolutely love this movie.  It nails everything that made the TV show so great.  Put simply, Ernest Dickerson(known for directing many episodes of The Walking Dead) directed a fun movie full of great imagery, wildly fun gore gags, witty humor, a great cast and a fuck you attitude.  At an hour and thirty two minutes, it moves along at a great pace.  It only slows down to give some back story which in this movie’s case is absolutely necessary.  I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that the plot is deeper than you might think.  Like the TV Show this movie also features an intro and outro with the beloved Crypt Keeper.  Trust me that his moments are both funny and perfectly set up the tone of the movie.

The cast is a lot stronger than you’d expect from a movie like this.  William Sadler plays Brayker and shows once again why he is such a great actor.  One moment he’s an demon destroying badass and the next he’s bonding with Jada Pinkett while never once losing the feeling that he truly has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  The man simply nails it.  Jada Pinkett, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller and Thomas Haden Church all give strong performances in their roles as you probably expect.  They all share strong chemistry and keep the movie from feeling overly hokey.  But there is one actor in particular I want to focus on.

Billy Zane gives my all time favorite performance of his as the deliciously evil Collector.  Even if you have loved him in other movies, he will surprise you here.  The man is flat out perfect in this movie and you will want him on the screen as often as possible.  He will seduce you, make you laugh your ass off and scare the crap out of you throughout the entire movie.  If you need a single reason to watch this movie, Billy Zane is that reason.

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Billy Zane aka the greatest thing in the movie

On the tech side of things, this movie really does a great job of incorporating the look and feel of the EC comics into what you see on screen.  The use of colors, the camera angles… hell there is even a gag USING one of the comics that really made this fan smile.  The set design is pretty fantastic.  Since the majority of the movie is in one location, they really needed to nail this and I’m happy to say that they did.  That old B&B made for a truly creepy place to hold up for the night.  I loved it.

The gore is fantastic.  The demons looked absolutely hideous in the best way possible.  The violence hits HARD.  When somebody gets killed, it’s simply brutal.  There is an arm ripping gag that is quite the sight, I’ll tell you that much.  While not quite as nasty as KNB’s work, there is more than enough quality blood and guts to make any gorehound squeal in delight.

And one other thing that I want to point out.  This movie has one of my all time favorite soundtracks.  Pantera, Megadeth, Sepultura, Machine Head and more make this movie a metalhead’s delight.

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The Crypt Keeper has a way with all the ghouls

In Conclusion

If you are a horror fan, then you owe it to yourself to check this movie out.  It has everything you could possibly want.  Gore? Check.  Great cast?  Check.  Fun segments with the Crypt Keeper?  Check.  Billy Zane kicking all kinds of ass?  Check!  I can’t find a single thing I don’t love about this movie.  Check it out as soon as possible boils and ghouls!

5 out of 5 Glowing Demon Eyes

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