Ahh, if there is one thing I remember during my late night TV viewing as a teenager, it is definitely the excitement I got when my parents got HBO and I was able to watch Tales From The Crypt. Being a horror movie fan, this was always a fun show to watch as I would get a short dose of horror that was usually a great way to unwind over the weekend. So when I heard that they were making a full length feature film episode, I was excited to go see it but never got the chance to see it in theaters. I did watch it when it came out on video and eventually got it on DVD when I had a chance. Now let’s see how well they did with today’s movie, Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight.
The plot: Prologue: A woman is talking to her lover on the phone and describing how she killed a man and placed him in a pot of boiling water. After inviting her lover over, she goes to take a bath but her victim returns to life and heads up the stairs with a small hatchet. Before he can kill her, the Crypt Keeper yells cut and berates the actor playing the dead man and orders everyone back to their places so they can reshoot it. As he heads back to his chair, the Crypt Keeper notices the audience and starts talking to them before showing them his latest work for Hollywood, Demon Knight.
Main Movie: Frank Brayker is driving down a dark road when he notices that he is being followed by another car. Brayker tries to avoid the other car but his car stalls out so he begins shooting the car, setting it on fire. When the other driver, The Collector, doesn’t stop heading for him, Brayker manages to get out of his car before the second car impacts it, causing both cars to explode and seemingly killing the other driver. As Brayker stands up, he looks at his hand, which has a star form next to 4 other stars already on it, and he quickly starts walking away. Brayker attempts to steal a car but a little kid sees him and calls out to his father, causing Brayker to run away before he is caught. As he catches his breath in an alley, Brayker encounters Uncle Willy, a local drunk, and Willy agrees to take Brayker to a place he can crash for the night. Back at the crash site, Sheriff Tupper and Deputy Bob are discussing the crash when The Collector appears and asks if they had seen Brayker. When the two confused officers attempt to question The Collector, he tells them that Brayker is dangerous and if he is in town, something bad will soon happen. Back in town, Willy takes Brayker to an old church, which has been turned into a boarding house and Brayker rents a room. While there, he meets the residents of the boarding house; the owner Irene, a prostitute named Cordelia, a postal worker named Wally, and a prisoner on work release named Jeryline. As Brayker is eating, a restaurant cook named Roach enters the church and as he prepares to spend time with Cordelia, he tells them about how someone had tried to kill his bosses car. Meanwhile, Tupper and Bob are interviewing the people about the attempted car theft when they get a call from the station, saying Irene called about Brayker, saying he was acting suspicious. When they arrive at the church, Brayker holds a knife to Jeryline’s throat and tells them to back away but The Collector says that he won’t kill her and Brayker reluctantly lets her go. After Tupper puts Brayker in handcuffs, The Collector sits down and asks him where his artifact is, telling Tupper and Bob that it is shaped like a key. Bob searches Brayker’s room but doesn’t find it and after they repeatedly question Brayker about it’s whereabouts, Willy says he knows where Brayker stashed it and pulls it out from underneath the table. As The Collector opens his suitcase and asks Willy to dump the liquid inside the artifact and place it inside, Tupper receives a call and grabs the key from Willy, saying that both cars were stolen and that he is taking both of them to the station to figure things out. The Collector punches his fist through Tupper’s face and as Bob goes for his gun, Brayker grabs the keys for the handcuffs and frees himself. Brayker uses the key to burn The Collector’s face, forcing him to jump out a nearby window. The Collector yells at Brayker and the others, then slices open his hand and begins splattering the ground with his blood, summoning demonic creatures from the ground where his blood touched. The creatures begin attacking the hotel and Brayker defends the group, then uses the liquid from the key to form barriers on the doors and windows, killing the creatures if they try to cross. Roach wants to run, convincing Cordelia to come with him, but when they get attacked, he leaves Cordelia out there to die while he heads back inside. Wally, who is in love with Cordelia, manages to save her but he is injured in the process, and Brayker and Cordelia drag him back inside. After securing all the entrances, Brayker says they need to wait out the night cause if they step outside, the creatures will kill them, but Roach gets angry and says that the creatures are only after him and the key and they should just turn him over to them. As Brayker works on securing the upper floors, Jeryline tries talking to him and asks who he really is but he just answers that he is an old man running out of time. After Brayker is done, he heads back downstairs only to find that Jeryline’s cat has somehow made it back inside. Fearing it might be possessed, Brayker chases after it down to the basement, followed by Jeryline, Willy, and Irene, and after catching it, he determines it is safe, then discovers the crack that the cat had come in from and Bob and Willy say that there are some mine shafts that run under the town and it is probably one of them. Upstairs, Roach tries talking to Wally to convince him to work with him against Brayker but Wally refuses and Cordelia sticks up for Wally. Roach takes Cordelia to her room and smacks her and after he leaves, Cordelia hears The Collector talking to her in her head and she ends up being possessed. When Wally goes to check on Cordelia, she attacks and kills him, then attacks Brayker when he goes to investigate the noise. When Brayker goes for the key, Cordelia knocks it away from him and Irene grabs it and tries to use it but Cordelia rips her arm off. Brayker is finally able to kill Cordelia but the event causes everyone to rebel against Brayker and want to try and escape through the mines. Roach breaks down the wall and they head out, with Brayker forming a seal and following after them. As they are making their way through the mines, Jeryline finds Danny, the boy who had spotted Brayker trying to steal his dad’s car, hiding in the mine and as she goes to grab him, they are attacked by the boy’s parents, who have been possessed. They manage to escape and Brayker has everyone head back to the church, killing one of the demons as he leaves. After they are all safely inside, Roach decides to shoot his possessed boss but the resulting explosion from the demon destroys the seal, allowing them to enter the church. Brayker has everyone head upstairs to the second floor, where they are safe as some blood had created a seal when the key was knocked form Brayker’s hand during the fight with Cordelia. When everyone pressures Brayker to explain what is going on, he explains that during the creation of the Earth, the demons had 7 keys which they used to control the power of the cosmos to keep the world in darkness but God created light, which scattered the demons and the keys across the universe. The demons had managed to collect 6 of the keys and the 7th was on Earth but had been filled with the blood of Jesus and guarded by a thief. When the blood runs low, the guardian has to fill it with his own blood and hand it off to a new guardian, with Brayker himself having gotten it from his lieutenant in 1917 during WWI. After finishing his story, Jeryline notices Danny is missing and they split up to find him but Roach secretly steals the key from Brayker. As Jeryline looks for Danny, The Collector tries tempting her to help him but she refuses. Irene and Bob head up to the attic, where they find Willy up there drinking and Danny reading a comic book. Irene tells Willy to take Danny downstairs and get Brayker up there with the key, while she stays up there with Bob and they discover that Wally had a chest full of weapons that he was going to use to attack the post office. Brayker and Jeryline go looking for Willy and Danny only to have Brayker be attacked by a possessed Willy. Brayker manages to cut off Willy’s head but when the body keeps attacking him, Danny grabs the head and impales it’s eyes onto some deer antlers. Roach tries to bargain with The Collector for his life but after giving The Collector the key and erasing the seal on the stairs, The Collector has the demons kill Roach. As The Collector and the demons go after the others, Brayker shoots The Collector in the eye with an arrow, then grabs the case with the key. Bob and Irene tell Brayker, Jeryline, and Danny to head upstairs into the attic while they hold off the demons, then Irene pulls the pins on the grenades she is carrying, killing both her and Bob in order to kill the demons. In the attic, Danny ends up being possessed and mortally wounds Brayker before Jeryline can kill him. Brayker then tells Jeryline to refill the key with his blood and initiates her as the new Guardian. When Brayker dies, the seals he created all disappear and The Collector heads up to the attic. Jeryline attacks him with the key and heads downstairs to finish him off but The Collector attacks her and breaks her wrist. As he goes to finish her off, Jeryline stabs him in the eye with the key and while he is distracted, she takes a drink of blood from the key. The Collector continues to taunt her, saying he wants to take her with him back to Hell but Jeryline spits the blood into his face, causing him to explode. The next day, Jeryline boards a bus out of town, using some of the blood to form a seal on the doors. As the bus makes it’s way down the highway, it stops to pick up a man carrying a briefcase, the man starts to board the bus but stops and says he will wait for the next one, indicating that he is the new Collector. As the bus drives off, the man starts walking after it, whistling the Tales From The Crypt theme song.
Epilogue – The Crypt Keeper says Jeryline lives happily ever after, as he received a post card from her saying she is traveling the world. The Crypt Keeper then heads out to the premier of his movie, only to have the producers place him in a guillotine and cut off his head, causing him to laugh.
Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to feel that it was lacking enough scares or substance to truly stand on it’s own. The movie was to be the first in a trilogy of Tales From The Crypt movies, with the Crypt Keeper giving the title of the next movie after the credits, but the original trilogy plan fell through and two different movies ended up finishing off the trilogy. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $21.1 million off of a $12 million budget.
This is a pretty fun movie to watch and definitely fit well with the general theme of Tales From The Crypt. The acting was pretty good, with Billy Zane having a lot of fun as The Collector, while Thomas Haden Church did a great job as Roach but I was not too impressed with William Sadler, as I felt his portrayal of Brayker was kind of boring. The story was interesting, though I felt like the whole Biblical aspect was a little unnecessary. I also liked the open ended way the movie ended, as it really left it open for a sequel, like it was intended to be. The special effects were decent, but I honestly expected a little more since it was a feature film as most of them looked like it was basically from an episode of the show itself, not just a movie. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I probably enjoyed the soundtrack equally as much, if not more, and thought it fit perfectly with the movie. A fun movie to watch and definitely something any horror fan will want to watch.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5