DEMON KNIGHT (1995) Reviews and overview

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‘Ready for your deadtime story?’

Demon Knight – also known as Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight – is a 1995 American horror feature ilm directed by Ernest Dickerson and is an offshoot of the HBO television series Tales from the Crypt. It stars Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brenda Bakke, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller and Thomas Haden Church.

The Universal release was followed by Bordello of Blood; although it is not a direct sequel, the key artefact from this film makes an appearance.


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On a film set, The Crypt Keeper directs an instalment of the television show despite his disapproval of the lead actor’s talent. Upon becoming aware of the viewer, he proffers his latest project, which he hopes will get him into Hollywood: Demon Knight.


On a New Mexico desert road, The Collector pursues drifter Frank Brayker. The vehicles crash and Brayker flees.

Local drunk Uncle Willy takes him to a decommissioned church converted into a boarding house, where he rents a room and observes the residents: owner Irene, prostitute Cordelia, postal clerk Wally, and an itinerant convict on work release named Jeryline.

A misogynistic cook named Roach arrives and informs the group about a theft attempt on his employer’s car, unaware it was Brayker, and a suspicious Irene calls the sheriff…

Billy Zane as The Collector


“Under the lively direction of lenser-turned-helmer Ernest Dickerson, Demon Knight basically is an extended cat-and-mouse game, propelled by alternating currents of splatter-pic gore and jet-black humor. But pic is neither funny enough nor scary enough to be fully satisfying as either a shocker or a spoof.” Variety


“What Tales from the Crypt does best is sustain a look and tone that bring a comic book’s broad strokes into the realm of a live-action movie without seeming too mannered or arty. The film’s gooey monsters with their electric green eyes and ferocious voracity are among the more convincing zombie demons to be found in a recent horror film. The movie wears a phosphorescent grin.” Stephen Holden, The New York Times


“Director Ernest Dickerson, who abandoned an impressive career as Spike Lee’s cinematographer to make movies such as this and Surviving the Game, makes sure that the splatter effects come frequently enough to rescue the faltering narrative. His work is competent, though he doesn’t provide the kind of jolts a movie like this needs to keep audiences engaged.” Los Angeles Times


” …. a slime-and-gore fest that offers little but a few outrageous sick jokes and the chance to make a mental list of all the horror movies from which it borrows.” San Francisco Examiner


“The gore is frequent and generous, including an unforgettable image of Brayker dying while a pack of demons makes a juicy buffet from his eviscerated guts. The movie isn’t particularly well-paced, and I found it dull. But I’ve got to give credit to Todd Masters, who designed the special-effects makeup, to Gilbert Adler, who directed the Crypt Keeper sequences, and to Zane, who plays the Collector with style and wit.” San Francisco Chronicle

East side of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, New York 1995

Hand-drawn poster from Ghana

Choice dialogue:
“Ooh, just thinking about it gets me all hot and squishy.”
“I know. Who makes up all these rules?”

Blu-ray release:
On October 20, 2015, Demon Knight was released on Blu-ray in the US by Scream Factory.

YouTube reviews:

Cast and characters:
Billy Zane as The Collector
William Sadler as Frank Brayker
Jada Pinkett Smith as Jeryline
Thomas Haden Church as Roach
CCH Pounder as Irene
John Kassir as the voice of The Crypt Keeper
Brenda Bakke as Cordelia
Dick Miller as Uncle Willy
Gary Farmer as Deputy Bob
Charles Fleischer as Wally
Ryan O’Donohue as Danny
Sherrie Rose as Wanda
Chasey Lain as Party Babe
Traci Bingham as Party Babe
John Larroquette as Slasher

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