“Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight” Delivers Ghoulish Laughs and Screams

What could be better than an episode of Tales From the Crypt? Easy. A feature-length, no-holds-barred, R-rated, Cryptkeeper-hosted blast bolstered by a fantastic cast, including Billy Zane, Jada Pinkett-Smith, CCH Pounder, Charles Fleischer, Thomas Haden Church and William Sadler. The Cryptkeeper is back and badder than ever as he prepares for the Hollywood premiere of his big blockbuster. While he finishes up, we are treated to one of the most gruesome, hilarious, and altogether entertaining chillers of the 90’s.

When the mysterious Brayker (an unusually straight performance by William Sadler) enters Irene’s (a FANTASTIC CCH Pounder) boarding house, all Hell breaks loose. Pursued by a demonic Rogaine failure known as the Collector (Billy Zane), Brayker tries to protect the tenants from the Collector’s army of Pumpkinhead clones. Eventually, a small group of survivors, including Brayker, Irene, and the strong-willed Jeryline (Jada Pinkett), must wage a bloody battle for the future of mankind… that has been fought since the time of Christ.

This movie has everything you could want in a horror comedy… although it does lean a bit closer to straight horror for most of the running time. CCH Pounder and Billy Zane provide the live-action humor… both are hilarious. They have attitude, one-liners (“Get that pussy off the table!… I meant the cat.”) The atmosphere is so dreary and pulpy, right out of a Tales From the Crypt comic book (which ironically plays a role in the story). But with such a hilarious villain (Billy Zane is unstoppable with his one-liners and his wild, flaming penis) and an off-beat cast of wacky characters, it’s nearly impossible not to like this movie.

Now, onto the Cryptkeeper. Where do I begin? As a director, he’s hilarious. He adores such hacktors as Gory Cooper and Robert Deadford. And he’s no prude about a great death scene.

As heroine Jeryline, Jada Pinkett is charismatic and likable, and she’s one hell of a fighter. Brenda Bakke is over-the-top as the resident hooker, who chalks the stubborn stains on her sheets up to “damn guacamole,”; and Dick Miller is great as the local drunk. If you’ve never seen this, I cannot recommend this enough. Hang on to your seats, boils and ghouls!

–Joshua Dean