Demon Knight

This has been packaged as another Tale From the Crypt, but apart from its being a horror picture, it bears virtually no relation to the visual or narrative style of the 50s EC comic book; it’s better described as a high-tech thriller in the vein of Night of the Living Dead, with semicoherent underpinnings relating to the blood of Christ and the Crusades, and some manic flourishes that call to mind the Gremlins movies. It’s competently directed by former cinematographer Ernest Dickerson (best known for his work on Spike Lee’s films). The plot concerns a renegade seeking refuge in a run-down boarding house; he possesses an ancient key with occult powers that a character known as the Collector is trying to retrieve from him. The silly story is basically just an excuse for some thrills and goofy one-liners, but even if the more likable characters tended to get killed off too early for my taste, I wasn’t bored. Written by Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, and Mark Bishop; with Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett, Brenda Bakke, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, John Schuck, Gary Farmer, and Charles Fleischer. (JR)

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