Home > Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight - 8 > Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight – 8

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight – 8


Director – Ernest R. Dickerson

Cast – John Kassir(voice), Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, CCH Pounder, Brenda Bakke, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, John Schuck, Gary Farmer

Release Year – 1995

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I, like much of you I assume, grew up watching the TV show “Tales from the Crypt”, and finding myself too scared to sleep every night that it showed. I still have some very fond and scary memories thanks to that TV show, and it was only fitting that such a horrific show result in a full-length film, and a good one at that. Playing off just the way fans of the should wanted it, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight provided lots of gruesome and scary fun in an endless effort of gore and horror mayhem.

Brayker (William Sadler; The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption, Die Hard 2) is a man on the run who makes his way to a small town to hole up for the night. Who is he running from? The proper question is WHAT is he running from when the being chasing him, deemed The Collector (Billy Zane), makes his way into town and forces a demonic battle with the local townsfolk to attain an old holy relic.

If you are a fan of the “Tales from the Crypt” show then there is a good chance you will enjoy this piece. It starts off with a huge homage to the fans of the series, an introduction brought on by the Cryptkeeper himself, and once the story gets going it takes little time before the action ensues. Once Brayker makes his way to the small town and is eventually caught by The Collector, all hell breaks loose and puts our main characters into a nowhere-to-run scenario when they hole up in an old motel and fight off The Collector’s hordes of demons. Eventually we learn that The Collector is after an ancient holy relic needed to open a dark dimension that would allow those living in darkness to prevail, and despite the simple story I never once found myself bored or uninterested in what was going on. There is plenty of action to go around, starting off with just The Collector himself and then blowing up into an awesome creature gorefest when he summons his demons to do his bidding. There are lots of great kill sequences and plenty of deaths as well, a positive when including many characters in the story, and surprisingly enough none of the numerous characters were useless and each provided to the story in one way or another, however most of them contributed via dying a gruesome death. One idea I enjoyed was the fact that the only way to kill a demon was to destroy its glowing eyeballs, which is quite a silly idea but it worked wonderfully for the tone of this film and always resulted in an explosive death for the spawn from Hell. While our main character Brayker was the obvious focus of the film, we were given a few other notable characters who stood out from the rest in Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith), Uncle Willy (the infamous Dick Miller), and the most unlikable of all characters, Roach (Thomas Hayden Church). Despite their positive performances and good usage, The Collector (Billy Zane) stole the show. His character was acrobatic in his emotions, and despite him being a charming fella he sure was an evil one as well, often deceiving the more moronic ones in the group and leading them gruesome demises.

Director Ernest R. Dickerson(Bones, “Masters of Horror”: The V-Word) did a good job with this piece, which not only marks his debut horror effort but his best directing effort to date. Some may have recently come across his work (without realizing it) as he directed the last episode of The Walking Dead season 2, as well as a few other episodes prior to the finale. Anywho, his direction was solid in this one, giving us good atmosphere and great sets that provided the usual spooky feeling associated with the “Tales from the Crypt” TV episodes. Complimenting this atmosphere was great horror that came via live-action creatures/demons and great gore scenes that held nothing back and made this a very fun film to watch once things got going. The acting performances were so-so overall, with Jada Pinkett Smith providing the worst of the performances, but Billy Zane managed to steal the show and provide us with an acting performance definitely worth viewing and making up for the slack from the other actors. I was pretty amazed at how well Dickerson executed this film given his mediocre (at best) execution of his other efforts, but regardless the guy go the job done and provided us with one of the most fun horror films of the 1990s and possibly one of the best horror films adapted from a TV show there is.

Overall, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight is an awesome experience that brings us loads of never-ending horror thanks to superb direction and good writing. The demons provide the goods and both kill and die in gory fashion, in the end making for a horror film that I recommend to fans of the TV series as well as those looking for a fun and gore-fueled experience.

Rating: 8/10

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  1. March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    My sister and I grew up watching horror movies and we loved this one and also In The Mouth of Madness. Some of our 90’s faves!

    • March 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Yes In The Mouth of Madness is definitely a 90s best.

  2. March 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Oh, wow, I haven’t seen that in years. Now I want to see it again! I was an avid Tales from the Crypt viewer as a child (yeah, my parents raised me to love horror when the other kids weren’t allowed to watch it).

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

      That’s so awesome, bravo to your parents. I need to get back into the episodes, I remember them being much scarier than Are You Afraid of the Dark haha.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

      That’s so awesome, bravo to your parents. I need to get back into the episodes, I remember them being much scarier than Are You Afraid of the Dark haha.

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