I have real soft spot for this movie. Mostly because I remember watching the show and reading the comics that they were based on growing up. The only way I got to watch it when it was originally airing was the weekends I would spend over at friends houses. Those are some very fun memories, I also remember us all being super excited for this movie. I don’t remember what they thought of it. But, I remember loving it. It was the right kind of silly and spooky. Not scary mind you, just spooky. So, I figured why not take a look at it again and see how well it stood the test of time.
Frank Brayker (William Sadler) is riding down a deserted desert highway and a man called The Collector (Billy Zane) is chasing him. After the pair crash with Brayker narrowly escaping the crash and ensuing explosion, Brayker rushes to the nearest town. In town Brayker tries to steal a car, but is caught by Danny (Ryan O’Donohue), a local boy and flees before anyone can catch him. Brayker then comes across town drunk Uncle Willy (Dick Miller), who takes him to a boarding house run by a woman named Irene (CCH Pounder). The boarding house has a number of tenements, Cordelia (Brenda Bakke) the local prostitute, Wally Enfield (Charles Fleischer) and Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith) a convict on work release. Out in the desert local authorities Sheriff Tupper (John Schuck) and his deputy Bob Martel (Gary Farmer) examine the remains of the wreck, when the collector appears completely unharmed. The Collector enlists the police help to find and catch Brayker claiming he’s a dangerous thief. Back at the boarding house Roach (Thomas Haden Church) arrives informing everyone that someone tried to steal his bosses car, not knowing it was Brayker. But, Irene becomes more than a little suspicious and calls the police. The police quickly arrive and after a short stan off, arrest Brayker and also The Collector. In response The Collector punches a hole in Sheriff Tupper’s head. The Collector is driven out by Brayker, who use’s a key like artifact that The Collector has been trying to get. Outside The Collector spills his blood on the ground and from it summons demons. Brayker seals off the doors and windows of the boarding house with blood kept inside the key, that creates barriers that keep the demons at bay. But the siege has just begun and there’s more than one way inside…
I really like the setting, a boarding house that used to be a church in the middle of the open desert. Can’t do better for setting a mood in my opinion. It ties the religious themes of this film together neatly also, which are very blatant. It feels like a long, good episode of The Tales from the Crypt.
But it’s the acting that really sells it for me every time I see it. Everyone’s on the same page and play off one another very well. The best performances in this film are CCH Pounder and Billy Zane’s. When I thought back on the film the film before revisiting it, they were the two characters that I could easily remember. Which is notable as Jade Pickett Smith and William Sadler are both in this film and I completely forgot they were in this film.
But my favorite character has to be Deputy Bob, as he seems to have the most complete character arc. He starts off as just the bumbling side characters, a role that I will admit he never really leaves, but he does go heroically. Which given how weak and standoffish he is when we first see him to the resolute man that he goes out as.
Final thoughts, Demon Knight didn’t need the Tales from the Crypt branding. But I’m glad it got it as otherwise I don’t think it would as remembered as it is today. It’s a cheesy horror comedy, that feels like a fun B-Movie romp, which is exactly what it is. Demon isn’t scary, but it is spooky and at times can get quite gorey, with some masterful special effects that I think still look good. So if you want to watch something with a horror bend that won’t get your heart racing, try this one out. 7/10