Welcome back friends to the Saturday Frights Podcast! Each podcast my co-host, the Projectionist and I will discuss a particular horror movie or horror themed TV episode from the Retroist Vault. This week we discuss our friends from Scream Factory’s upcoming Blu-Ray release for 1995’s Tales From the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight. Also on the show my co-host worries about my level of attachment to actor Billy Zane and of course he has provided you with some vintage Drive-In ads!
The NEW ending music for the show is entitled “Twisted Toys” which of course is quite suitable for working with the Projectionist and was provided by Tony Longworth, you can visit his site by clicking that link provided or hopping over to his Soundcloud Page!
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Year: 1995 Director: Ernest R. Dickerson Writers: Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and Mark Bishop Music: Ed Shearmur Starring: Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, and Charles Fleischer
Favorite Quote: “Humans. You’re not worth the flesh you’re printed on!”
The Demon Knight film had a long and winding road before it was finally picked up and produced as the first of a proposed trilogy of Tales from the Crypt theatrical features. The first draft of the screenplay was dated back in 1987, two years before the HBO series, and was slated to be made by film director Tom Holland (Child’s Play).
After that failed to happen the script made it’s way into the hands of screenwriter Marc Carducci (Pumpkinhead) and he held onto it for a couple of years before he put it in the hands of Mary Lambert (Pet Semetary) but after the poor reception of the Pet Semetary sequel she was unable to raise the proper investment to bring the her vision of the film to the screen.
After that the script was picked up by Charles Band’s Full Moon Features (Puppet Master) but the amount of money it would take to bring Demon Knight to screen was too high for the smaller studio and the script found it’s way to Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon) where it was optioned to actually be the second entry in that proposed trilogy of Tales from the Crypt films, but Universal Pictures executives thought Demon Knight had a greater potential than the other two Tales from the Crypt films and the film was fast tracked for a Halloween 1994 release date but was pushed back to an eventual January 1995 release.
As Demon Knight begins we are given a humorous introduction segment featuring the Crypt Keeper and a surprise guest star before the film begins proper and we are introduced to our main protagonist, Brayker (Sadler), as he tears up the back roads of New Mexico in what we later learn is a stolen car in an attempt to escape his pursuer, a mysterious man driving equally as fast in his pursuit and that we come to know as the Collector (Zane). Brakyer’s vehicle though runs out of gas and he sets up a collision that destroys both of the vehicles in a fiery explosion. Brayker obviously escaped from the crash and makes his way to the nearby little town of Wormwood where he unsuccessfully tries to steal another car outside of a diner and while hiding out meets Uncle Willy (Miller) who befriends the drifter and tells him of a boarding house that he stays at where Brayker can bed down for the night.
Meanwhile the two burning vehicles have been spotted by the town sheriff and his deputy and while they are running the plates on what remains of them…from behind the devouring flames of the wreck steps the Collector. He quickly informs the lawmen on how he not only survived the crash but why he was driving so recklessly in his pursuit of Brayker, he warns them that the man is a very dangerous thief and if he has escaped into town there is going to be trouble.
Brayker and Uncle Willy arrive at the boarding house, a former church as Uncle Willy explains “They decommissioned it in the ’50s, due to lack of interest.”, and we meet the rest of the boarding house residents. Owner Irene (Pounder), recently fired postman (Fleischer), a prostitute with a heart of gold named Cordelia, and sassy work release parolee Jeryline (Smith). Very soon we are introduced to Cordelia’s “date”, a fry cook from the diner that tells the residents about the unsuccessful attempt at stealing a car. This causes Irene to call the police to report her newest resident which brings the Sheriff and his Deputy with the Collector in tow to the boarding house.
And then every single resident is about to experience a Demon Knight.
Demon Knight is a very fun movie and it is certainly a perfect film to watch on a dark and stormy night, it is available on Netflix streaming at this very moment. Every member of the cast delivers a solid performance but it’s Sadler and Zane that carry the film, elevate it from a simple B-Movie premise. Zane in particular steals the show with his charisma and obvious enjoyment of his over the top character, he has fun with it. There are thrills and laughs in equal mix as you watch Demon Knight and if I was going to nitpick it’s only that the end feels a little rushed…like maybe the money was running out and they had to wrap it up. The third act fumble is not enough to wreck the film by any means but that is why I’m only bestowing four and a half pumpkins out of five to Demon Knight instead of the full five!