Directed By: Ernest R Dickerson
Written By: Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and Mark Bishop
I snuck into this movie at the theater when I was eleven years old and I loved it. I have mentioned many times throughout this blog that I saw HBO on television many times as a kid. I had never actually seen Tales From the Crypt but I saw plenty of commercials for it over time and always wanted to watch it. When I found an opportunity in 95 to just casually slip into the theater it was playing in I took full advantage. I was young and this movie dazzled me. I connected with it through fear, an unexpected opportunity to see nudity, and the feeling of doing something I wasn’t supposed to. I distinctly remember watching the scene with Uncle Willie and all the topless ladies; knowing what I was doing was against the rules but loving it nonetheless.
For me, at the age of eleven in 1995, the Crypt Keeper was an interesting icon. Not unlike Joe Camel in that he was really cool yet represented something that I wasn’t old enough for. I thought they were both so cool and I was instantly hooked into this movie I wasn’t supposed to be watching when he was on screen introducing it. He called this one, Demon Knight, and I was sucked in from the very get go because of what he represented to me at such a young age.
I think this movie offers a fun and unique story that is good for the horror genre albeit more silly than scary. Nostalgic quality or not, I always find myself enjoying this one. I never saw the other Tales From the Crypt theatrical release, Bordello of Blood, but I have never heard any reason to either. If anybody out there thinks it’s worth my time let me know. I would have no doubt seen it at some point over the years but have never been a fan of Dennis Miller. It must have bombed at the box office severely because sadly there have never been any more Tales From the Crypt movies.
I really like Billy Zane in the part of the main villain. He is cunning and cool as he tries to pick apart the people unlucky enough to be at this boarding house when he came. He seems so official in the beginning in his duster and cowboy hat. So much so that the cops simply go along with him because he is so convincing. When he finally reveals himself I love how he monologues as he splatters his blood everywhere to summon demons. The unique ways in which he manipulates his way into the people inside the hotel is awesome. My favorite is when he brings CCH Pounder her arm on a platter and she uses her stump to “give him the finger.” Throughout the entire movie Zane is both witty and cool as the upper level demon but in the end his penchant for monologuing gets him.
I always thought Jada Pinkett was hot in this movie with the short bleached blonde hair, back in the days before she was Jada Pinkett Smith. She has accomplished plenty in her career and she is a very beautiful woman but I have never seen anything from her that seriously impressed me. In this movie she bugs me now and again as the hardened tough guy but she’s cute enough to excuse that and her character overcomes in the end to be the chosen one.
There are some other notable actors on hand for this movie that should be mentioned. Thomas Haden Church is on board as a real asshole type of character. CCH Pounder also has a notable part and an awesome final scene. I have to mention her as Amber and I share a longtime joke about her name where any chance we get we say it phonetically. Ca-CH Pounder, we were real big fans of The Shield so we have been doing that one forever. William Sadler plays the long suffering hero carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I am not a big fan of Sadler but I think he handles this role very well.
I like how his characters story develops and goes back to biblical times with the blood of Christ as the only weapon against these demons. Sadler is more than a simple guy but a certified keymaster for God! The lone protector of the only object that protects us all from darkness. He’s just looking for his successor and it just so happens to be one of these unlikely people grouped at the hotel. It is significant that Pinkett mentions earlier in the film that she was a thief as the first protector of the key was also a thief. Why a thief is entrusted with anything of value is beyond me but with a movie like this you just go with the flow.
This is a fun movie but not all that scary in truth. Yeah when I was eleven years old the demons scared me a bit but at that young and tender age the Candyman had forced me to sleep with a night light for a couple months. Of course, nothing in this film can produce fear quite like Tony Todd. As a Tales from the Crypt movie I think it is intended to be more fun than scary anyway. I like how that series fused horror with humor and sexuality. It’s a shame the show doesn’t live on in any capacity because it was a lot of fun while it lasted. Just as this movie itself is, a lot of fun. With the spooky month of October rolling on there are certainly scarier films you can watch but few that will be as much fun as this one.