Demon Knight: Tales From the Crypt, a review


Demon Knight: Tales From the Crypt, a review                ***Spoilers***

 A 1995 release, Demon Knight connected to TV‘s Tales From the Crypt.

"Demon Knight" cover

Cover for “Demon Knight”

Demon Knight stars Billy Zane, William Sadler and Jada Pinkett with CCH Pounder and Thomas Hayden Church. The director, Ernest R. Dickerson has directed episodes of The Walking Dead and Treme as well as other high profile TV offerings. I had seen Demon Knight several years ago and what stuck with me was how much I enjoyed Billy Zane‘s performance. So last night, I decided to take another look.

Zane plays a demon and this little devil really likes his work.

Zane has a handsome face, but he hasn’t let it slow him down. His performance in Demon Knight puts his melodrama-villain turn in Titanic to shame.

If the Zane of Demon Knight were on that boat, Rose wouldn’t have given Jack the time of day.

This film was a spin off of the TV series, Tales From the Crypt. And “those comics” inspired the series, a collection of the lurid, wild-eyed, bloody, bony stories we loved even though reading them led to many a night light. Demon’s story is simple. A man with a secret hides out at a hotel out in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for the other hotel guests, he’s being chased by a demon. The demon wants something the man carries with him.

It’s one of seven keys. Oh dear, if the demon gets it, there’s lights out for all mankind and we’d better get used to a lot of slime and cackling.

As Zane and his army of zany demons try to get that key, they stalk the man and the hotel’s few occupants. Each guest is tempted to hand it over. Among the group, there’s plucky little Jada Pinkett’s character, a convict on work release. CCH Pounder is the cynical hotel manager. Additionally, the veteran cast includes Thomas Hayden Church‘s sexy lout and William Sadler, an actor who usually plays a villain as the mysterious, weary guest.

Like a comic book, Demon Knight is in vivid primary colors.

Dickerson trusts his actors to breathe life into the narrative. As I said, with a cast like this, you can’t go wrong. Even so, Zane is a stand-out. His career doesn’t reflect his gifts–I think because he’s a character actor trapped in the body of a leading man. He shows us the sexy allure of evil, how it dazzles and obscures the facts, and the lies, which he gleefully admits.

If for no other reason than Zane’s performance, take a look at Demon Knight.

It’s on Netflix. On a Saturday night, a friend or two, a bowl of popcorn and Demon Knight, you could do worse.