It’s a shame that Tales from the Crypt’s first foray into full-length movies doesn’t have a stronger reputation, as “Demon Knight” is scary, funny and entertaining from beginning to end. The story is surprisingly layered for what is ostensibly a glorified B-movie, the creature and makeup effects are impressively grotesque and imaginative, while director Ernest Dickerson manages to keep things moving quickly and efficiently. In the lead role, William Sadler is well-cast, given his ability to play both heroes and villains almost interchangeably and making him an effectively unreliable protagonist, which makes the proceedings all the more interesting. However, as strong as Sadler is, this is Billy Zane’s finest hour as The Collector: Charming, sexy, and downright frightening at times, Zane is clearly having the time of his life in this role and his enthusiasm bleeds out from the screen in every shot he’s in. Add in a terrific cast of supporting actors (including an up-and-coming Jada Pinkett and genre favorites like CCH Pounder and Dick Miller), and the finished product is a perfect Halloween movie.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)