(Reviewer's note : I contemplated reviewing this movie like the Cryptkeeper speaks by subtituting some words for 'horror words', but I figured that would be very 'scary'....I mean 'silly'.)
Movie : 4/5
Ah, Tales from the Crypt.
I used to adore the reprint EC comics in High School in the late 80's. I used to trade them with friends and cherish those classic 1960's horror stories. There is some sense of nostaligia and comfort from that time period that one gets from reading those EC comics.
If you're not familar with the EC comics, there are many reprints of them.
The EC comics spawned a homage movie, Creepshow and it's sequel Creepshow 2.
HBO caught wind of the comic and eventually they were able to make a highly successful anthology TV show adaptation of the comics. It caught on like wildfire and the Cryptkeeper craze began.
This lead to multiple spinoffs, such as a Saturday Morning Cartoon, a game show for kids (I always wondered how parents felt about that one...gateway dreugs, perhaps?), audio plays and more.
Now that the trip down memory lane is over, lets look at the movie, shall we?
That leads us to here - Tales from the Crypt : Demon Knight on blu-ray by Cult Cinema.
A One and a half hour movie that has a beginning and tail end introduction by the Cryptkeeper who acts as the 'director' of the movie. I do wonder if the movie would have been as successful if it wasn't under the Tales from the Crypt banner, but don't be fooled - with or without Cryptkepper introductions, this movie is a great one and has managed to gain a small cult following. Unlike the TV show, the movie doesn't take the safe route and introduce three individual athology stories. It's one continuous movie. Fair enough as well. I feel if we wanted to watch an anthology movie, I'd throw on the 80s' Twilight Zone movie.
Getting back to Demon Knight - you haven't seen it already, the movie follows the plot of an eternal, wandering lone figure known as The Demon Knight that protects human-kind from evil. Eventually the Demon Knight makes his way to a roadhouse hotel, stays the night and its residents get trapped inside as the building is surrounded by, yep, you guessed it, Demons. It sounds incredibly cliched like a plot from an episode of Buffy the Vampire slayer, the Mist or a Zombie movie where the residents get trapped inside a mall. Throw in some bibilical references and the movie comes off strong. Not the mention the effects are very practical. As it's the mid-90's and it's the era of 'In the Mouth of Madness', teen horror movie's aren't quite out yet and the industry was made on model effects, slime and glow in the dark glowsticks as special effects.
The acting is also very solid with some rising stars such as CCH Pounder and Jade Pinkett Smith are on the uprising, but the real show stealer here is Billy Zane whose charasma steals the screen as 'The Collector' in the movie. Yes, the characters are cartoon-cliched, they follow the 'Scream' rules of horror movies such as no drugs to unsympathise with their killings, but certainly don't appear as unbelievable.
Onto the disc itself :
Video : 4/5
I've been really impressed lately with the releases that Cult Cinema have been bringing out.
The video quality is a mid 90s clean transfer. There are no specs in the screen or dirt to be seen anywhere.
Audio : 4/5
Cult cinema have ultised the English DTS-HD 2.0 sound for this release. You'll really hear those demons shreiking when playing this disc.
No extras on the blu-ray disc itself. A shame really, because the movie is awesome. It would have been nice to have a documentary history of Tales of the Crypt or Ec Comics, but I understand those can be found on the Tales from the Crypt TV show DVD set. Make note the DVD never had any extras so the studios themselves who have access to all this material will most likely not give it out.
For their credit though, Cinema Cult have put the packaging of the Blu-ray in one of those nice cardboard slipcases. If you're collecting the Cinema Cult Blu-Rays, they look really nice and uniform on the sehlf next to each other.
Whilst there is German edition blu-ray of this movie available in a DVD sized mediabook, not available via the usual sources such as amazon.de and is very overpriced, this Australian exclusive Blu-ray release is a very good option.
Combined with everything we have here in terms on Video and Audio quality, along with a great movie, purchasing this movie as a 'blind-buy' or familiar sale would by no means be a bad choice.
I hope this is the first of the Tales from the Crypt movies that Cinema Cult bring out (hint, hint) as there are two more after these - Bardollo of Blood and Ritual.
If you're contemplating buying Tales from the Crypt : Demon Knight on blu-ray say go for it, the movie is absolute ghoul...er...I mean gold. (OK, I couldn't resist that one).
Reviewer: James Ackland
Director - Michael Reeves
Actors - Ian Ogilvy/Rupert Davies/Vincent Price
Genre - Horror
Label - Cinema Cult
Audio - English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Running Time - 86
Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1
Region Coding - B
Rating - R18+
Year of Release - 1968
Get it here from SCREENPOP