So it’s been a couple of weeks since you boils and ghouls have been subjected to my horror movie drivel. So I figured I would try something different this go around. I decided to peruse my horror DVD and Blu-ray collection to find something I truly wanted to review for you all, as well as for myself. Something that isn’t necessarily held in the highest regards by horror fans, but still manages to hold its own.
In 1989, the Home Box Office (HBO) unleashed a new show called Tales from the Crypt to the unwitting masses. Which if you grew up in the 1980’s and ‘90’s as I did, you know full well that it was a very successful anthology horror show. Towards the end of the shows run however, the Crypt team tried something fresh and entered unknown territory. By putting the Crypt Keeper in all his bony glory, on the big screen!!
Demon Knight (1995)
Late one night, two cars are racing at high speeds down a dark and desolate highway. The two vehicles soon get into fiery and horrific car crash. After both of the occupants survive and leave their vehicles unscathed, we realize things are not as they seem. Soon begins a race against time, which culminates with a showdown that could have catastrophic consequences in an old decommissioned church that is now a grimy and dirty motel.
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight starred Billy Zane, William Sadler and a young Jada Pinkett, before she became Pinkett-Smith. It was directed by Ernest Dickerson (Juice, Bones) and released in theaters on January 13th 1995. With a decent budget of 12 million dollars, this was easily the biggest attempt by the Crypt crew to take Hollywood by storm. The film went on to make over 21 million at the box office. While not bad numbers by any means, it never did quite took Hollywood by storm.
Now back to the movie. After the two despondent strangers meet at the motel, the fireworks really get started. We soon find that Zane (Critters, The Phantom) is a collector of sorts, searching for an ancient key. A key that is possessed by Sadler (The Green Mile). As it turns out, Zane is actually a demon from hell, attempting to obtain the last of seven keys that will bring eternal darkness to the universe. While Sadler is the protector of said ancient key that was forged with the blood of Jesus Christ himself to ward off evil. Pinkett-Smith’s (Scream 2) portrayal as the young and troubled Jeryline is the other spotlight to Zane’s dark and goofy antics. Obviously bloody and gory mayhem ensues, or I wouldn’t be writing this bile at all.
I bought this movie in 1996 on VHS and it did not take long for me to fall in love with it. I watched it so many times over the years that the VCR literally would not play the tape anymore after about the first 20 minutes. I also bought the soundtrack on cassette tape. Featuring bands like Pantera, Machine Head, Megadeth, Filter and Gravediggaz, this soundtrack so badass that it rivals the movie in some ways and not many films can say that… So, it may be pointless to say boils and ghouls, but I fucking love this movie! It’s chock-full of dark humor, great looking practical effects of the collectors’ minions and brimming with all the gore you can handle.
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight will forever have a special place in my bloody heart. It was so unflinchingly original in the ‘90’s, a breath of fresh air to a stale horror genre at the time. And, that freshness is still evident even to this day. This flick is the epitome of a cult classic and it is one of my Top 20 favorite horror films of all time.
As the Crypt Keeper might say, thanks for reading kiddies…