Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: October 20th, 2015.
    Director: Earnest Dickerson
    Cast: Billy Zane, William Sanderson, Dick Miller, John Kassir, CCH Pounder, Jada Pinkett Smith
    Year: 1995
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    When HBO took Tales From The Crypt off the air after seven seasons, work commenced on the first of what was planned to be a trilogy of feature films made under the banner of the infamous EC Comics publication that started all of this. A script for a movie called Demon Knight was purchased, and some rewrites were done to make it 'work' as a TFTC property and, when it's all said and done, what we're left with is a pretty fun mix of humor, horror and action.

    But first, the Crypt Keeper (voiced once again by John Kassir) gives us an intro. It seems he's gone Hollywood in a big way, shooting a gory horror movie with plenty of nudity and sleaze in it. After the intro (this wouldn't be a proper Tales From The Crypt movie without it) we head into the desert where there's a high speed car chase going on. A few gunshots and a violent accident later and the local cops (John Schuck and Gary Farmer) are trying to figure out what's going on. At the accident scene they meet a nameless man (Billy Zane) who kindly offers to help them track down the other guy, a bad dude named Brayker (William Sanderson) who unbeknownst to the cops is trying to steal a car while they're having this conversation.

    Brayker is spotted by a kid named Danny (Ryan O'Donohue) and he splits. As he's hiding out he meets a friendly drunk named Uncle Willy (Dick Miller) who brings him to a hotel out in the middle of nowhere. This place used to be a church and it's inhabited by the owner Irene (CCH Pounder), a work release program employee named Jeryline (Jada Pinkett before she added Smith to her last name), a friendly hooker named Cordelia (Brenda Bakke) and a disgruntled postman named Wally (Chris Fleischer… the guy who gave Roger Rabbit his voice!). Brayker settles in shortly after the cops and that other mysterious man show up. It seems Brayker has a strange key-shaped object the man wants and one half-assed hostage situation later, it all hits the fan. Cordelia's boyfriend Roach (Thomas Haden Chuch) shows up looking for kinky sex, the sheriff winds up dead and it turns out that the mysterious man is actually a demon known as The Collector. He and Brayker have a past of sorts, but there's much more to all of this than any of them realize….

    Dickerson and company put entertainment value and fun front and center in this picture, they're not going for high art or for thought provoking social commentary here. As such, Demon Knight is fast paced, funny and gory in all the right ways. The practical effects are really well done and plenty splattery (the sheriff's death still packs a pretty strong punch) and the makeup appliances that bring the demons to life are impressive. There's plenty of nudity just for the sake of having plenty of nudity in the movie (highlighted by a great scene where Dick Miller's character is greeted at a fantasy bar by a harem of booze peddling topless ladies, one of whom is Chasey Lain!) and there's snappy dialogue aplenty. Highbrow it's not, but it does make for a pretty great way to waste an hour and a half in front of your Blu-ray player.

    The cast all do great work here. CCH Pounder, made up to look older and heavier than she really was at this point, is a blast as the tough talking matron of the hotel while Charles Fleischer is quite good as the genuinely sympathetic down on his luck mailman. Thomas Haden Church as the abusive boyfriend type is actually very funny in the part (his character's lack of intelligence is the source of some pretty good gags) and he plays the part well while Brenda Bakke has never been cuter as the stereotypical hooker with a heart of gold. Throw in Dick Miller in one of his best parts and the supporting cast rounds out perfectly, but it's the three principals who do the bulk of the heavy lifting here. A young Jada Pinkett Smith is very strong in her part, handling the action scenes fairly convincingly and showing a lot of energy and determination in the part. William Sanderson as the man who has to do what he can to save this unlikely cast of characters is solid here too, bringing the right mix of 'mystery man' tone and 'action hero' bravado to the part. It's Billy Zane (who 'comes out' as a bald guy for the first time in this movie!) who really steals the show, however. His wise cracking demon is pretty hilarious here and you can tell he's having a blast playing the part.

    The film would be followed up with the inferior Bordello Of Blood (referred to by its working name Dead Easy by the Crypt Keeper in an amusing post credits cameo) a year later and then in 2002 by the fairly terrible Ritual but it's Demon Knight that fans rightly hold onto twenty years later. The soundtrack (made up of contributions from acts like Filter, Ministry and Megadeth) might date things a bit but otherwise this one has aged really well and it's still a really fun watch.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight arrives on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory in a 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks very good. The opening credits, wherein we journey into the Crypt Keeper's decrepit old house, look a bit rough but outside of that the image is nice and clean. For a movie that spends most of its running time inside a dreary location the colors are nicely reproduced - the glowing green ooze pops nicely and the reds of the gore scenes are appropriately sickly. Detail is much improved over the past DVD release and all in all the picture quality here is quite strong. Compression issues are not a problem and there doesn't appear to be any overzealous noise reduction. Black levels are solid and skin tones look good.

    English language audio options are provided in DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Master Audio tracks. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided. The 5.1 mix does a pretty nice job of spreading out the iconic Tales From The Crypt theme song and the effects, it also does a good job of placing the music inside the movie itself. Dialogue is clean, clear and nicely balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion.

    Extras start off with a commentary track feature director Ernest Dickerson and moderator Michael Felsher. It's a solid track with Dickerson talking about how he became involved with the film, his thoughts on the cast's contribution to the picture, the locations, the effects work, his thoughts on the overall film and quite a bit more. The disc also features a second commentary track, this time featuring special effects gurus Todd Masters, John Van Vliet and Thomas Bellissimo joined by Walter Phelan (who worked under the makeup as a demon in the movie). This is a lively chat with an emphasis on the technical side of things. Lots of talk here about how different set pieces were put together, what was involved in some of the gore scenes and some of the difficulties encountered during the shoot.

    The disc also includes an interesting forty-minute long featurette entitled Under Siege: The Making Of Demon Knight. This piece interviews Dickerson, Zane, Sanderson, Miller, Brenda Bakke, Charles Fleischer, the different writers that worked on both the early version of the movie and the final TFTC version, and quite a few of the makeup and special effects technicians. There are some pretty fun stories in here, with all of the cast members noting their appreciation for Dickerson's laid back directing style. Dick Miller talks about having makeup appliances put on him for the first time and all involved look back on their work on the film quite fondly. The writers talk about how the film was originally intended to be a standalone picture not affiliated with the Tales From The Crypt brand, how it existed as a treatment for years before it was finally given to Dickerson and other changes that were made to make it work as a Tales From The Crypt story.

    Rounding out the extras is a ten minute panel discussion shot at the American Cinematheque with Dickerson, Miller and SFX man Rick Baker that was done in conjunction with a screening of the movie as part of a retrospective of Miller's work. There's also a still gallery, a theatrical trailer, animated menus and chapter selection. Shout! Factory has also provided reversible cover art with the original one sheet on one side and the newly created art on the other. That same newly created art also graces the front of the accompanying slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight is just as much fun now as it was twenty years ago. It's a goofy, gory good time at the movies thanks to the efforts of a game cast, great practical effects work and strong direction from Dickerson. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release presents the film in excellent shape, with rock solid audio and a pretty strong array of extra features that cover the film's history quite comprehensively.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Posting comments is disabled.

Latest Articles

Collapse

  • Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Yellow Veil
    Released on: July 28th, 2022.
    Director: Gaspar Noé
    Cast: Béatrice Dalle, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Félix Maritaud, Clara Deshayes
    Year: 2019
    Purchase From Amazon

    Lux Aeterna – Movie Review:

    Meant as an expression of his thoughts on filmmaking and a tribute to both his two leading ladies and the filmmakers that inspired him, Gaspar Noé’s 2019 picture, Lux Aeterna, opens with clips opens with some clips from
    ...
    08-04-2022, 02:17 PM
  • L.A. Aids Jabber (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Visual Vengeance
    Released on: August 9th, 2022.
    Director: Drew Godderis
    Cast: Jason Majik, Justin Godderis, Marcy Lynn
    Year: 1994
    Purchase From Amazon

    L.A. Aids Jabber – Movie Review:

    Drew Godderis acted in low budget movies like Blood Diner, Evil Spawn, Cannibal Hookers and Deep Space before he set out, in 1994, to direct his own independent feature. When shooting on 16mm didn’t work out, Godderis did the next
    ...
    08-04-2022, 02:14 PM
  • Shriek Of The Mutilated (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: January 26th, 2022.
    Director: Michael Findlay
    Cast: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis, Ed Adlum
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    Shriek Of The Mutilated – Movie Review:

    Directed by Michael Findlay (who has a quick cameo in the opening scene) from a screenplay co-written by Ed Adlum and Ed Kelleher (the duo that brought Invasion Of The Blood Farmers), 1974’s Shriek Of The Mutilated
    ...
    08-01-2022, 04:29 PM
  • Raw Nerve (Culture Shock Releasing) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Culture Shock Releasing
    Released on: January 26th, 2022.
    Director: David A. Prior
    Cast: Ted Prior, Sandahl Bergman, Traci Lords, Glenn Ford, Jan-Michael Vincent, Tex Cobb
    Year: 1991
    Purchase From Amazon

    Raw Nerve – Movie Review:

    The legendary David A. Prior’s 1991 film, Raw Nerve, is placed in Mobile, Alabama, a town being terrorized by a serial killer with a shotgun whose evidently got an axe to grind against beautiful
    ...
    08-01-2022, 03:40 PM
  • Righting Wrongs (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July 26th, 2022.
    Director: Cory Yuen
    Cast: Yuen Biao, Cynthia Rothrock, Melvin Wong, Karen Sheperd, Peter Cunningham, Corey Yuen
    Year: 1986
    Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

    Righting Wrongs – Movie Review:

    Righting Wrongs, which was released by the Weinstein Corporation on DVD in 2007 as Above The Law (not to be confused with the Steven Seagal movie of the same name), was directed by Cory
    ...
    08-01-2022, 03:37 PM
  • Two Undercover Angels / Kiss Me Monster (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July 26th, 2022.
    Director: Jess Franco
    Cast: Rosanna Yanni, Janine Reynaud, Adrian Hoven, Chris Howland, Michel Lemoine
    Year: 1969
    Purchase From Amazon

    Two Undercover Angels / Kiss Me Monster – Movie Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome reissues two of Jess Franco’s swingingest pictures from the late sixties with this two-disc special edition pairing up Two Undercover Angels and Kiss Me Monster.
    ...
    08-01-2022, 03:33 PM
Working...
X