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The Movie of the HBO television series Tales from the Crypt, released in 1995. Demon Knight tells the story of a drifter named Frank Brayker (William Sadler) who arrives in Wormwood, Texas, and seeks refuge in a church-turned-hotel where he meets the no-nonsense landlady Irene (CCH Pounder) and her niece Jeryline (Jada Pinkett Smith), alcoholic Uncle Willy (Dick Miller), prostitute Cordelia (Brenda Bakke) and her abusive boyfriend Roach (Thomas Haden Church), and fired mailman Wally (Charles Flescher) who's hopelessly in love with Cordelia.Not long after Brayker's arrival, a handsome and charming gentleman in a trenchcoat and cowboy hat known only as The Collector (Billy Zane) shows up with Sheriff Tupper (John Schuck) and Deputy Bob (Gary Farmer), seeking a key-shaped artifact that he claims Brayker stole from him. The Collector soon reveals that he's actually a demonic Bounty Hunter and quickly lays siege to the hotel, raising up an army of skeletal minions to aid him in getting his dirty hands on the Key and going about tempting some of the hotel's residents with their innermost desires. Brayker reveals to the residents (well, those who survive the demonic onslaught...) that the Key once contained the blood of Jesus Christ and subsequently that of previous guardians of the Key. The Key can ward off evil if it contains blood, but will bring about The End of the World as We Know It if it runs out of blood and is used by the forces of darkness.Not to be confused with Demon Knights. Followed by Bordello of Blood.
This film contains examples of:
Affably Evil: The Collector is an evil SOB, but boy is he charming and polite to anyone he meets.
The Collector: You know, it doesn't have to be unpleasant. Hell, I'd rather it wasn't! All right, I know what you're thinking. You give up your soul, you turn into a demon, you look like shit. Where's the payoff, right?
Cluster F-Bomb: The Collector's rant after being fended off by Brayker using the Key.
Humans! You're not worth the flesh you're printed on! Fuck this cowboy shit! You fuckin' ho-dunk, po-dunk, well then there MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
Corrupt Hick: Roach has a Southern drawl and treats Cordelia like crap.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Wally gets his moment when he runs outside to save Cordelia from a demon, grabbing a handgun from Deputy Bob and shooting a demon multiple times in the head. Turns out later on that Wally was planning to blow up the post office.
Deadpan Snarker: The Collector revels in snark, but the quote below early on in film from the Sheriff counts too:
Sheriff: Well, Bob, it's too late to give them a ticket. But if it'll make you feel better, you can shoot their ashes.
Deal with the Devil: The Collector tries to bribe or threaten each character into helping him get the Key.
Demonic Possession: What happens to the poor people who fall for The Collector's devilish charms.
Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Collector himself distinguishes himself by saying that the eyeball weakness only applies to "lower-level" demons; the reason is that those lower level demons have trapped tortured souls. The Collector, who has no soul, sports a true form is the only demon that we see with wings.
Dirty Coward: Roach. During the demons' attack on the hotel, he ventures outside with Cordelia and tries to make it to his truck, only to spot a demon that then comes right at him and Cordelia. What does good ol' Roach do? He pushes Cordelia toward the demon as he hauls ass back into the hotel.
It doesn't help that The Collector flat out says he was counting on Roach to give him the Key to save his own skin.
Dirty Old Man: Uncle Willy. Just look at his topless women fantasy for evidence.
I l-l-l-l-l you. I l-l-l-l-l you. Do you think you could ever find it in your heart to l-l-l-l-l me back?
He does, however, understand the noble Brayker well enough to know that he wouldn't follow on his threat to kill the next Demon Knight (which Brayker figured out and The Collector already knew, long before the audience was privy to it.)
Eye Scream: Possible subversion, in that it's the only thing that can kill the demons.
The opening sequence is there purely for Peggy Trentini to give a Fanservice overdose.
Exotic Equipment: At one point, the Collector's fly opens, a column of flame bursts out and he cries out, "Woo! Woo! Down, boy!" When it retreats back into its pants (and his fly zips back itself), he sheepishly apologizes. Jeryline is not amused.
Flashback: A few interspersed to show the Key's origins, the first guardian (Sirach) protecting it and how Brayker eventually came to possess it.
Foreshadowing: After getting upstairs, the Collector gets hit with an arrow in the eye and only falls over. This lets the audience know in advance that the "shoot for the eyes" tactic alone won't work on him.
Jeryline spitting in the Collector's face. The second time, with Demon Knight blood, has a far more potent effect.
Frame Story: Not a story exactly, but as with Tales from the Crypt, we get a wraparound featuring the Cryptkeeper, this time embodying the role of a ham-fisted (or is it just hammy?) Hollywood director.
Going Postal: We find out Wally was crazy and reading everyone's mail and was going to blow up the post office for Cordelia.
Grand Staircase Entrance: When Brayker dies and all of the blood barriers vanish, The Collector makes one of these to a swelling score.
Gray and Black Morality: While the Collector is definitely evil, a Demon Knight will go to any lengths to prevent the key from falling into the wrong hands.
A Handful for an Eye: The Collector seems to have the upper hand against Jeryline...until she spits a mouthful of blood from the Key into his eyes. Due to the blood being an extremely diluted mixture of Jesus Christ's, it actually has the effect of acid against the demon.
You call that 'hack'-ting?!... Well, let me tell you something, pal—you're no 'Gory' Cooper! You're not even a Robert 'Deadford!' Another take like that, and it'll be back to 'bit parts' for you, and I won't say what bits I'm talking about!
Improbable Aiming Skills: Since the only thing that destroys demons (other than the holy blood) is a shot in the eyes, Brayker is insanely good at hitting that relatively small target using just about any weapon he gets his hand on. Justified in that he does have the power of God on his side, and he is at least a hundred years old, giving him lots of time to work on his marksmanship.
Less so with the postman Wally, who lands a few head-shots on a demon, and when Brayker tells him to aim for the eyes, puts them out with two more perfect shots.
In Medias Res: The movie begins in the middle of a car chase that marks the beginning of the end of a century-long game of cat and mouse between the Collector and Brayker.
Info Dump: Brayker is forced by the hotel residents to explain what's going on. Learning it doesn't make them feel better. Also, when a Demon Knight receives the Key, they get forced fed the memories of every Knight in history.
Jackass Genie: The Collector offers to grant wishes to a few characters if they help him, but all he ever really does if they accept is turn them into demons. Of course.
Jerkass: Roach. While trying to escape the hotel during the demonic attack with Cordelia, he gets spotted by a demon and pushes Cordelia into the coming demon's path while he runs back inside. Not long after, he shows himself to be abusive towards Cordelia and overall rude to others. And he later steals the Key from Brayker and makes a deal with the Collector for safe passage, only to be Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
And of course, this being a Tales from the Crypt production, we get a wraparound featuring the Crypt Keeper, an animatronic entity that somehow manages to be the largest ham in the history of television.
The two ladies with our horror host in the closing framing segment.
The temptation the Collector offers to Uncle Willy is a bar of nude women offering him beer and making sexual innuendos about "enjoying a long, hard one." And for the kicker, some of them were played by porn stars.
Only a Flesh Wound: Irene has her arm ripped off early in the film, but she neither bleeds to death nor goes into shock despite never getting the serious medical treatment that surviving such an injury would require.
The Power of Blood: The Key was filled with the blood of Jesus Christ (and later guardians of the Key) to prevent the demons from using it. The blood can create barriers and hurt demons.
Reality Warper: The Collector, who dumps Uncle Willy into a lewd and extravagant party beyond his wildest dreams, and apparently warps a comic book to mirror the events happening in the film, though it's never made clear how much of it is simply him getting into his victims' heads, as the first is a hallucination.
Really 700 Years Old: Being the guardian of the Key means you don't age. Brayker is at least a hundred years old. Since the movie doesn't date itself, the fact that Brayker became immortal during World War I just makes him older and older as the film ages.
The Stinger: At the end of the closing credits, the Crypt Keeper appears to ask the audience why they're still there and to tell them to look out for his next movie. (He refers to Dead Easy, which production ultimately never moved forward with.)
Take Up My Sword: Brayker says something like this to Jeryline just before he's attacked and fatally wounded by a possessed boy.
Too Kinky To Mutilate: The Crypt Keeper, as always. When having his head cut off, he laughs, "Well, whaddaya know—I asked for final cut—and I got it!"
Took a Level in Badass: Of all characters, Deputy Bob, who when we first meet him, was a typical Bumbling Cop, but by the end, he's ordering the others and Brayker to go without him as he wards off the approaching demons before he and Irene gives their lives to take them out.