Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (dir. by Ernest Dickerson)


Demon Knight PosterI remember going to the movies for Demon Knight. I loved Tales from the Crypt on HBO, and the idea of a movie was cool at the time. My sister and my best friend joined me for the showing. It was treat to watch. I left the cinema thinking of different tales that could come up using some of the elements in this story.

For those unfamiliar with Tales From the Crypt, the show aired on HBO during the late 1980s, and part of the 1990s. Based off of the old horror tales from EC Comics, each episode was a horror story. Unlike Tales From the Darkside, Monsters and Darkroom, Tales from the Crypt had the bonus of being on cable. This meant they were able to get away with more gore and nudity than their prime time counterparts. Perhaps that’s the only real disadvantage with the film. At least with Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, the story could push into darker elements with their restrictions lifted.

As with every episode of the show, Demon Knight is sandwiched between a scene with the Crypt Keeper (John Kassir) greeting the audience with some corny jokes and introducing the story. Frank Brayker (William Sadler – The Mist, Bill & Ted Face the Music) is on the run from The Collector (Billy Zane – Titanic). With his options dwindling and the strange seven-star pattern tattoo on his hand slowly forming a circle, Brayker makes his last stand at a motel with a group of individuals. In his possession is a key shaped vial that has the power to create wards. These wards hold back the army of demons that wish to reclaim the key and bring darkness across the land. Can Brayker make it through the night, while protecting the key and everyone around him? That’s pretty much the plot.

Demon Knight CryptKeeper

The Crypt Keeper is ready for his close up in Demon Knight. 

Having previously worked as a Cinematographer for Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson made the jump to directing with 1992’s Juice. Demon Knight was his follow up and for the most part, it’s good. The creature design is interesting, reminiscent of Top Cow’s comic book, The Darkness. The demons are thin and indeed strange to behold, but they mostly take a back seat to Billy Zane’s Collector, who tries to seduce everyone into turning against the rest of the group.  Zane brings a lot of humor to the movie with his villain, as does Thomas Hayden Church (Sideways) playing that one guy you’d really like to slug in the mouth. CCH Pounder (Avatar), Jada Pinkett (Collateral), Brenda Bakke (L.A. Confidential), the legendary Dick Miller (Gremlins and just about everything Joe Dante did), and Charles Fleisher (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and Gary Farmer (Forever Knight) round it all out. It’s Sadler’s film to carry, however, and he does a great job here playing the hero.

From a sound/musical standpoint, Demon Knight boasts a interesting soundtrack, which I picked up around the time I first saw the film. Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot” seemed like the only song featured in the film, but Ministry’s “Tonight We Murder”, Henry Rollins “Fall Guy” and Pantera’s “Cemetary Gates” are the standouts. The pacing of the film is pretty even, despite being a one shot. There’s not enough of a slowdown to feel bored. Demon Knight is just one regular Tales from the Crypt tale in a longer format. I would have preferred shorter pieces in this larger timespan, but that’s more a nitpick than anything.

Overall, Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight is a fun film to visit around Halloween. Just make sure your doors and windows are locked (and sealed, if possible), when watching.

 

Horror on TV: Tales From the Crypt 1.2 “All Through The House” (dir by Robert Zemeckis)


For tonight’s excursion into the world of televised horror, we have the 2nd ever episode of the HBO anthology series, Tales From The Crypt!

In this one, a woman (Mary Ellen Trainor) kills her husband on Christmas Eve, just to discover that she can’t properly dispose of the body because a psychotic escaped mental patient (Larry Drake), who just happens to be disguised as Santa Claus, is hanging around outside of her house.  It’s a bit of a mess, especially since the woman’s daughter is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa herself.

This originally aired on June 10th, 1989 and it’s an enjoyably insane package of holiday cheer and menace.  And, of course, it was directed by none other than Robert Zemeckis!

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Tales From the Crypt 7.10 “About Face” (dir by Thomas E. Sanders)


For tonight’s excursion, we have one final episodes from HBO’s Tales From The Crypt.

About Face is the 10th episode from the 7th and final season.  It deals with a Victorian-era minister who discovers that he has not one but two daughters.  And one of the daughters might be a little disturbed…

For the most part, the 7th season of Tales From the Crypt has a fairly bad reputation but About Face is better than the average 7th season episode.  Anthony Andrews does a good job as the hypocritical Anglican.

This episode first aired on June 28th, 1996.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Tales From the Crypt 7.2 “Last Respects” (dir by Freddie Francis)


Tonight’s excursion into televised horror is the 2nd episode of the 7th season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  In Last Respects, three bickering sisters inherit not only a struggling store but also a monkey’s paw that grants wishes.  Of course, as with all wish-granting monkey paws, there’s a catch!

This episode was directed by veteran British cinematographer and horror director, Freddie Francis!

It originally aired on April 26th, 1996.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Tales From The Crypt 6.15 “You, Murderer” (dir by Robert Zemeckis)


To be honest, tonight’s episode of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt isn’t really a horror story.  Instead, it’s a somewhat satiric homage to film noir.  But I’m going to share it anyway. Halloween is about more than just ghouls and ghosts and goblins, right?

You, Murderer is an experiment that doesn’t quite work but is interesting all the same.  This episode is basically one long POV shot.  Whenever our protagonist sees his reflection, we see Humphrey Bogart staring back at us.  Actual footage of Bogart was used in the show.  Sometimes it work, sometimes it just looks strange.  But it’s always interesting!

This episode originally aired on January 25th, 1995.  Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Tales From The Crypt 6.1 “Let The Punishment Fit The Crime” (dir by Russell Mulcahy)


For tonight’s excursion into televised horror, we present you the premiere episode of the 6th season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!

In Let The Punishment Fit The Crime, attorney Geraldine Ferrett (Catherine O’Hara) is pulled over while driving through a small town in upstate New York.  It turns out that Geraldine didn’t have enough numbers on her licence plate.  (That’s because she has a vanity plate that reads, “Sue me.”)  It doesn’t sound like a huge crime but, as everyone at the courthouse keeps trying to warn her, she is in “a very strict town.”  Let The Punishment Fit The Crime is a satirical look at our overregulated and overlitigious society.

This episode originally aired on October 31st, 1994 — hey, this is a Halloween episode!

Enjoy!

 

Horror on TV: Tales From The Crypt 5.10 “Came The Dawn” (dir by Uli Edel)


Tonight’s excursion into televised horror is the 10th episode of the 5th season of Tales From The Crypt!  

Came The Dawn tells the twisted story of what happens when a mysterious hitchhiker (Brooke Shields) is picked up by a rich man (Perry King).  This one is full of twists and turns as director Uli Edel pays homage to Hitchcock.

It originally aired on November 17th, 1993!

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Tales From The Crypt 5.9 “Creep Course” (dir by Jeffrey Boam)


For tonight’s excursion into televised horror, how about a little mummy-related terror!?

That’s what you get this episode of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  From season 5, here is the ninth episode — Creep Course!  What happens when you mix the principal from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the brain from the Breakfast Club with a mummy?  Mayhem!

This episode originally aired on November 10th, 1993.

Horror on TV: Tales From the Crypt 5.8 “Well-Cooked Hams” (dir by Elliot Silverstein)


Tonight’s excursion into televised horror is the 8th episode of the 5th season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  

In Well Cooked Hams, Billy Zane is a magician who murders an older magician (Martin Sheen) and steals that magician’s prized prop!  Zane quickly learns that it’s called a Box of Death for a reason.  Zane has a lot of fun being sleazy and Sheen’s over the top Russian accent simply has to be heard!

Thus episode originally aired on November 3rd, 1993!

Horror On TV: Tales From The Crypt 5.7 “House of Horror” (dir by Bob Gale)


Tonight’s excursion into televised horror is the 7th episode of the 5th season of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt!  

House of Horrors has everything that you could possibly want from a Tales From The Crypt episode!  A dumbass idiot frat boy (played by Kevin Dillon) forces three pledges to enter  a supposedly haunted house.  Mayhem ensues.  This episode is full of atmosphere, dark humor, plot twists, and unexpected turns and it features two wonderfully over-the-top performances, one from Dillon and one from Meredith Salenger as a Southern-accented sorority president who may have a secret of her own.

This episode originally aired on October 27th, 1993.

Enjoy!