Wednesday, May 11, 2011
TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT
TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT (1995)
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Billy Zane - The Collector
William Sadler - Brayker
Jada Pinkett Smith (as Jada Pinkett) - Jeryline
A man on the run is hunted by a demon known as the Collector.
I saw a website I visit post a article about this movie recently and thought it would be a good movie to review, and also because I haven't seen it in a couple of years. When this movie came out originally the HBO series was winding down but was still showing great episodes and was the one true full on horror series on TV at the time and the next really good horror TV series wouldn't start for another two years (something about a vampire Slayer). While the TV series always had a huge amount of tongue in cheek humor about it, the movie seemed to have a more serious plot. So the real question is does this one hold up like the TV series to this day.
If there is one reason to see this movie for the first time or just a re-watch, it is simply to watch the craziness that is Billy Zane as The Collector. I can't tell if he just decided to play his character as a demon with no cares or he understood what was possible with the character, yet either way what he does is an amazing performance that holds the movie together. It seems as though he's having the best time of his life and doesn't want it to end, as he just chews through the scenery like a puppy teething chews through house shoes! Also my friend Kelly wanted me to mention how hot Zane is. While no one else stands out like Zane does in the movie, it's not without some decent actors slumming it such as Thomas Haden Church as the cowardly asshole redneck Roach, that is only concerned about his own neck and willing to do what ever it takes to live and CCH Pounder as Irene, the foul mouthed proprietor of the doomed apartment complex that used to be a church. While William Sadler is decent as the main protagonist in the movie and a good character actor for the most part, it just seems like he knows this isn't his movie even though he's billed first and it shows in parts of his acting.
Yes, the story is easy to see where it's going and you basically know from the get go that almost everyone will be dead before the end, but it is still a fun no brainer of a ride. The film didn't try to reinvent the rules or the genre, yet it still manages to make the most of what it has. The script was enjoyable as there are some fun back and forth moments between some characters, while with others, there was just no helping the others no matter what. This goes without saying as it is a horror movie of the "B" variety. While the directing is decent in most parts, there was some scenes where it just seem like director Ernest R. Dickerson didn't know what to do or how to film them. Such as when the demons are being born from the ground as it is filmed with quick cuts and motion blurs for most of it and as well the death scene for John Schuck's Sheriff Tupper as it plays out where you can't tell what is going on and I found myself getting mad due to this was a perfect chance for the director to try something new instead of quick jump cuts of the different actors in close up being shocked at what they are seeing.
All in all this movie is just fun and still holds well today due to the gallows humor that flows throughout the whole movie which harkens to the original EC comics from which the whole Crypt HBO series was based on. Yet the main reason to see this is just to watch Billy Zane plain and simple. As a bonus we also get to see a young Jada Pinkett Smith before the Smith was added, though for most of the movie she's in the background more than anything else. Special mention has to be giving to the effects people and their work for making the demons look interesting and truly horrific looking. Just to bad the rest of the Tales From The Crypt movies weren't this good, or as fun!
Cranial reconstructive surgery by way of a fist. See below.
HUMANS... You're not worth the flesh you're printed on...
Fuck this cowboy shit! You fucking ho-dunk, po-dunk, well then there motherfuckers! All you had to do was give me the goddamn key! Then we could get on with our lives.
Alright... this house is hereby... condemned...
One of the protagonists, Wally Enfield, played by Charles Fliescher, who is the voice for Roger Rabbit, is a recently fired postal worker. The remaining protagonists find a large collection of guns in his home, realizing that Enfield intended to attack the post office. This is likely a reference to several real-life spree killings perpetrated by maniac postal workers.
Originally the film had two versions. One had demons that looked like killer yuppies in it that went around selling bibles made everyone nervous, so Universal pitched in some additional money to get some actual demons on the screen.
Following the credits, a brief post-credits scene of the Crypt Keeper plays, promising that the next film, supposedly titled Dead Easy, will appear in theaters soon. This post-credits scene only appears in a later DVD reissue of the movie. The title referenced was the working title of what would be "Bordello of Blood".
"Demon Knight" was supposed to be the second film in the trilogy but Universal Pictures thought it should go first cause it was the most Tales-Like feature out of the three. "Demon Knight" was only one of the original titles planned that was actually made. "Dead Easy" (aka "Fat Tuesday"), a New Orleans zombie romp which was to possibly open the following Halloween, and the Third film "Body Count" were never filmed as planned. The Key in Demon Knight was supposed to appear in all 3 of these films. It appeared in Bordello Of Blood but not in Ritual.