Bluray Review: TALES FROM THE CRYPT PRESENTS: DEMON KNIGHT/BORDELLO OF BLOOD

screamHorror fans have been dying for a good HD release of TALES FROM THE CRYPT PRESENTS: DEMON KNIGHT for quite some time, and thanks to gang at Scream Factory, we not only have just that, but a special edition Bluray of release of BORDELLO OF BLOOD as well. Both releases feature brand new commentaries, as well as in depth docs detailing the making of and in the case of the latter TALES film, the troubles of everything from casting to diva attitudes. We had the chance to check out both releases, so sit back and read on!


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The Film:

There are very few horror/comedies as entertaining as 1995’s DEMON KNIGHT. The first of three Tales From the Crypt films (2002’s RITUAL was so bad that very few fans even acknowledge it), the Ernest Dickerson-helmed film was an instant hit with horror fans, and rightfully so, it’s kind of perfect. Following William Sadler’s Brayker character, a man who for centuries has been the caretaker of an ancient relic that holds the remaining blood of Christ, the film finds the man seeking refuge in a sleazy motel and being chased by what is one of horror’s best characters around: The Collector. Billy Zane’s performance as the collector is easily one of the most comedic and interesting horror performances of all time, and when The Collector finds Brayker at the motel, surrounded by its residents, the films becomes a gory and sometimes silly affair, with Zane’s character unleashing demons on the residents.

DEMON KNIGHT is like an action packed episode of Tales From The Crypt and the film’s tone really fits the TFTC series, with double crossing, one liners to die for and great performances by Sadler, Zane and the actors playing the motel’s residents (including Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, Jada Pinkett-Smith and a host of others).  While someone else might have played The Collector a little bit more frightening, Zane’s performance is one that will make you laugh every single time you see the film, and that sinister yet playful tone to the character is just one of the many reasons DEMON KNIGHT has since become a true horror classic. There’s blood, boobs and some impressive monster makeup courtesy of Todd Masters and Co., all of which makes the film feel like it’s just an extended episode of the series, and I mean that as a complete compliment.

Special Features:

Scream Factory gives you horror lovers the good when it comes to supplemental material for this one, with two brand new commentaries, one with director Dickerson and the other with Special Make-up Effects Creator Todd Masters, Visual Effects Supervisor John Van Vliet, Special Effects Coordinator Thomas Bellissimo, and Demon Performer Walter Phelan (aka-DR. SATAN in Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES).

While both commentaries are good ones and include everything about the concept of the film, all of the way up until its release, the real star of this release is Under Siege: The Making of “Tales From The Crypt presents Demon Knight”, an in depth doc featuring interviews with Sadler, Zane, Dickerson, Co-Producer A.L. Katz, and almost every single person involved with the film. Pinkett-Smith, CCH Pounder and Church are absent, but you don’t realize it, with how informative and fun the doc is. Highlights of the doc feature stories from Todd Masters regarding how he received one draft in which there weren’t any demons, only sinister men in suits, something that confused him, being that the film was called DEMON KNIGHT. Zane talks about the gamble of approaching the character the way he did and how he didn’t know if it would work, but is happy that it did and even goes as far as saying that he’d love to do a sequel (film gods, make it happen). Other features included are a panel discussion at the American Cinematheque with Ernest Dickerson, Dick Miller and Special Effects maestro Rick Baker, a still gallery and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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The Film:

A wreck from the get-go, Tales From the Crypt’s followup to DEMON KNIGHT, the Dennis Miller-led BORDELLO OF BLOOD isn’t quite as revered as the first film, but this release from Scream Factory is just as fun, with the film’s special features putting a lot into perspective. Directed by Gilbert Adler, the film involves Erika Eleniak’s character and her search for his wayward brother (played by Corey Feldman). When Eleniak’s Katherine Verdoux hires the wise-cracking Rafe Guttman (comedian Dennis Miller) to look for her brother, he stumbles upon a bordello ran by the vampiress Lilith (model Angie Everhart), putting an all out vampire showdown into motion. Throw FRIGHT NIGHT‘s Chris Sarandon as televangelist Reverend Current into the mix and you have a vampire classic, right? Not so much. BORDELLO OF BLOOD suffers from quite the amount of issues, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well.

Miller’s Guttman character seems forced and Everhart holding the entire film on her shoulders isn’t half as interesting as Zane’s villainous lead in DEMON KNIGHT. She seems out of her elements, an issue with pretty much everybody in the film, with the exception of Feldman, who is obviously having fun playing the other side of the vampire film than he was known for in films like THE LOST BOYS. Where as Zane’s comedic approach to the Collector in the first film was a refreshing touch, Miller’s nonstop one liners are again, forced throughout the entire experience, and it just adds another issue to an already issue-filled mess of a film.

Special Features:

Like DEMON KNIGHT, BORDELLO OF BLOOD features Tainted Blood: The Making of BORDELLO OF BLOOD, an pretty extensive doc, featuring interviews with Feldman, Eleniak, Everhart, A.L. Katz and Todd Masters among others. Filled with stories that detail the film’s many troubles, the doc is very entertaining to watch, with Feldman recollecting his attempts to befriend Miller and Eleniak during the shoot and both of them being completely rude and off-putting, something that Eleniak actually acknowledges. Pretty much everyone involved has nothing pleasant to say regarding Miller, talking about how he hated the film even while filming it. Insisting on rewriting his lines himself, refusing to be there unless the shots involved close ups of himself, and an all around mess, it’s obvious that Miller was one of the biggest reasons for the film’s downfall. That, topped with Everhart being Sylvester Stallone’s girlfriend at the time and having everyone tell the actor not to talk to her so it wouldn’t piss Stallone off, it’s obvious why the film was a fractured sh*%storm of a movie. Watching the doc gives an extra layer to the film and after watching the set of interviews, it’s actually a more entertaining experience revisiting the movie itself.

Also included is a really fun commentary with A.L. Katz, which is moderated by Icons of Fright co-creator Rob Galluzzo, and serves as an even more in depth conversation with Katz talking about how much hell making the film was from the very beginning. I’m a sucker for good commentaries, and this one is reason enough to pick up the disc, not even counting how fun the doc is already.

Both films are fun, and though DEMON KNIGHT is obviously the more enjoyable film, I’d recommend both releases, it’s obvious that Scream Factory dedicated a good amount of time to both releases and special features producers Heather Buckley and Michael Felsher both did a hell of a job making sure both releases were filled with the majority of people involved.

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