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Hoff’s Horrorfest Presents: TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT at Videology!

January 8, 2016

Hoff's Horrorfest Presents: Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight

Hoff’s Horrorfest is a monthly show featuring stand-up comedy from host Hoff Matthews and a guest performer, followed by a horror movie screening. This month’s installment will be at Videology (308 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn) at 7pm, Saturday, January 16th. It’s free!

This month’s guest performer: Evan Williams (Carolines Breakout Artist Series)

This month’s movie: Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

The recent news that M. Night Shyamalan will be bringing Tales From the Crypt back to television has me feeling a bit nostalgic–not for the old HBO show, which I haven’t actually seen much of, but for the original ’50s comic books, which my dad introduced me to via reprints when I was a kid. I never got much into superheroes, but I wasted plenty of my precious youth soaking up EC Comics‘ blend of O. Henry-style plot twists, Eisenhower-era cynicism and graphic gore.

But all that has very little to do with Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight, which retains the graphic gore and mummified Cryptkeeper narrator (who in the comics was just a regular ugly guy) but jettisons pretty much everything else. If you want succinct tales of revenge from beyond the grave, watch Creepshow; Demon Knight offers up a supervillain named the Collector (Billy Zane) leading an army of demons in a siege against an isolated New Mexico boarding house containing a mystical key filled with Jesus’s blood. It’s a high-concept premise that owes less to EC than to the 1985 Italian gorefest Demons, and that’s not a bad thing; Demons is so great that it was my very first selection when I started this show. Horror fans may also find themselves reminded of From Dusk Till Dawn, which makes sense, as that Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino collaboration was originally intended to be a Demon Knight sequel.

But Demon Knight‘s position in a chain of influence is less important than the fact that it’s just gooey good fun in its own right. As horror expert Brian Collins points out, the ’90s were a pretty bland decade for horror, but this film bucks that trend by serving up whiz-bang action, twisted humor and a stacked ensemble cast that includes Jada Pinkett, William Sadler, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller and Thomas Haden Church. Plus the Gravediggaz song “1-800 Suicide” is on the soundtrack! And director Ernest R. Dickerson went on to direct for The Wire! What’s not to like?

My guest this month is Evan Williams, a fellow horror buff and one of the best up-and-coming comics in the city. It’s a hell of a bill! See you at Videology, boils and ghouls!

–Hoff

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