Nerdling Tales takes a mostly spoiler free look at cult classics mostly overlooked by the public, movies that failed so hard they won, and the “what in the hell were they thinking” flicks. Join her as she reminisces about what makes these movies so interesting and full of hopeful sequel potential, and yet the general movie going population tends to forget their existence. It is October, so you know it will be all about the scares this month!
One of my favorite TV shows as a kid/teen was Tales from the Crypt (I was a really weird kid). This week let’s look back at the one of the two movies the show released, Demon Knight.
Released: January 13, 1995
Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
Writers: Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, Mark Bishop
Stars: John Kassir, Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brenda Bakke, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, John Schuck, Gary Farmer, Charles Fleischer, Ryan O’Donohue
Demon Knight tells the tale of Brayker (Sadler), who is on the run from a demon simply known as The Collector (Zane). Brayker and The Collector end up in a middle of nowhere town in New Mexico to battle it out for possession of a mystical key and the town’s inhabitants are caught in the middle.
Demon Knight was the first Rated-R movie I got to see in theaters. My friend’s older sister bought us the tickets (she was 17 at the time) the Friday it was released and since the theater was super crowded, the ticket taker didn’t even look at us. I was 12 at the time (sorry mom) and it was so awesome! My friends and I used to stay up late and watch Tales from the Crypt as often as we could and we were so excited for a big movie. And it impressed and scared us 12 year olds. I watched half of the movie with my hands in front of my face keeping my fingers open just enough to see the action. Watching it now as an adult is more for the nostalgia of going to see it for the first time and the bonding moment it created with my friends.
The effects are the worst even by 90’s standards. The effects on the TV show were always kinda on the cheesy side, but the show was cheesy. That was part of the appeal. At the time, the blood, body parts, and demons from the film were freaky, now it just looks hokey. The SyFy network would turn its nose up at the effects. Somehow it makes the movie enduring and almost unwatchable at the same time. The cast really do give it their all even though they have to know they are in a bad movie. Zane plays the charismatic demon well and looks as if he is having the time of his life chewing the scenery.
There was supposed to be an entire trilogy penned centered around the key from this movie, but fans of the TV show and critics alike didn’t enjoy Demon Knight. The plans were scrapped, though the key does make a cameo in Bordello of Blood, the second attempt to turn Tales from the Crypt into a movie franchise and the next Forgotten Gem entry.
Demon Knight failed to capture the magic of what made Tales from the Crypt so good, but it can bring back some great memories of 90’s nostalgia like the John Larroqette cameo in the beginning. And the film makes for a great MST3K play at home edition.
What did you guys think of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight? Did you enjoy it back in the 90’s? Or were you disappointed it was not as good as the TV show? Let me know what you think in the comments section and hope you enjoyed the deadtime story.