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The Bottom Shelf #130

10.18.2007

Kids these days don't dress up in the standard Halloween fare. You won't see any demons or vampires wandering the streets begging for confections, but there will be Hannah Montanas, Bratz geisha sluts and Optimus Primes. So get your ghoulies where you still can: the movies.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT (1995)
Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson, Gilbert Adler
Starring: Billy Zane, Jada Pinkett Smith

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Billy Zane is an evil motherf*cker. I honestly believe the man was born with some evil imprint, that his diapers were all black, filled with the overpowering stench of his masterfully evil poo. Or perhaps he just became evil in an act of vengeance after he was so cruelly dismissed once being torn apart by CRITTERS. I know that shit would have pissed me off pretty badly too. Although I'm not entirely sure that I would have gone to the length of shaving my head and terrorizing Leo DiCaprio on that miserable boat. That's a level of evil that I doubt I could aspire to in my grandest dreams.

I remember when this movie was released, there were great hopes that it would be highly successful at the box office. It was a planned first installment in a trilogy of movies from the Crypt Keeper, ones meant to make you gag, cringe and giggle all in one sitting. It ended up being a bomb at the box office but a success in the latter goals. Watching Zane chew up the screen as a demon master following William Sadler around in an attempt to get the last of seven keys that were dispersed by god to keep the dark side from taking over the universe is priceless in so many ways. Hearing him curse his cowboy attire before cutting open his palm and dispensing an army of slimy, glowing green-eyed demons to attack the patrons of a run-down motel is a hoot and a half. Seeing bloody bits of bodies, goo, ooze and other bodily fluids splashed about is guaranteed to make even those with iron stomachs grimace more than a tad.

DEMON KNIGHT benefits from having some good character actors (Sadler was best known at that point for being Death in BILL AND TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY, although I prefer to think of him as the dad on "Wonderfalls" because I'm sentimental like that) in addition to scoring Jada Pinkett before she'd tacked on the Smith. At a diminutive five feet tall, she shouldn't have inspired the amount of ferocity that she had in her early days, whether it was just being a spoiled brat (THE INKWELL) or a former convict who is called upon to take over Sadler's demon fighting role. Still, Pinkett was a force to be reckoned with; beautiful, sassy and intelligent all while kicking your ass if she needed to. Between her and Zane and some gruesome effects, the movie sells itself in spite of the lame rubber Crypt Keeper doll. *shudder* He always reminded me of that obnoxious geek from grade school who would pick his nose and then eat his lunch without washing his hands. Not so much scary as he was plain old revolting.

Favorite Scene:

Seeing Thomas Hayden Church hooked up to the car battery via the nipple clamps.

Favorite Line:

"Via con dios."
"And a via con diablos to you, too, sir."

Trivia Tidbit:

Purposely released on Friday, January 13th because the Tales From The Crypt movies were originally to be tied with traditional "horror weekends" such as Friday the 13th or Halloween.

See if you liked:

FROM BEYOND, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, ARMY OF DARKNESS

COLD HEARTS (1999)
Directed by: Robert A. Masciantonio
Starring: Marisa Ryan, Robert Floyd

-- click here to buy this DVD at Amazon.com --
-- click here to rent this movie at NetFlix.com --

I am a vampire nut. I've been one since the age that most girls become obsessed with the blood suckers, in the midst of middle school over-amplified hormonal rages. I went to see THE LOST BOYS in the theater after begging my mom for weeks prior to its release. I'm enough of a nut that I remember that it was the summer after 6th grade that I got to go see it. I'm also more of a fan of the contemporary vampires, those that have been cultivated just prior to the onset of the emo years, resplendent with leather jackets, heavy eyeliner and an apathetic attitude toward their predicament. For f*ck's sake, I've used the name Sonja Blue for e-mail addresses and website log-in info. (If you don't know where that comes from, look it up.)

So when I found out that COLD HEARTS was originally written to be the sequel to Jason Patric's swan song, I had to check it out. The movie starts out questionably, where you can really tell who might be the fang-toothed foes. It's also uber-low-budget, with grainy shots, horrific (when it's there) lighting and poor sound quality where the background hub-bub has been drowned out as much as possible but still filters through. The dialog is straight out of a "As the Fangs Bite" soap opera, heavy on the melodrama, death, despair and depression. There's a twist towards the end that you're going to see coming from about 15 minutes in, with a fight that makes up for its lack of special effects and good make-up with creative close-up camera angles.

Still, the acting is solid with all things considered. Robert Floyd looks like the second coming of Matthew Modine, Christopher Wiehl is the blood-sucking Johnny Lawrence and we get to celebrate the death of the Pink Ranger (Amy Jo Johnson). Who could honestly ask for more? While it does get tedious by the time that you get to the third revelation speech, I was honestly surprised at how effective this was. Keifer's spiky platinum 'do might be what most people remember, but COLD HEARTS is right up there with it, just sans the larger budget and Frog Brothers. And personally, I've had enough of Feldman to last me a vampire's eternal lifetime.

Favorite Scene:

I like bare butt and I cannot lie.

Favorite Line:

"How do you feel?"
"Like 8 pounds of ass."

Trivia Tidbit:

Writer/director Masciantonio wrote the script for COLD HEARTS on spec as a potential sequel to THE LOST BOYS. When that didn't pan out, he altered the script to stand on its own and proceeded to make it himself. He also appears as one of the frat boys in the flick. The word "vampire" is never spoken in the movie.

See if you liked:

THE LOST BOYS, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, UNDERWORLD

My own demon spawn has said that she wants to be an "Evil Cheerleader." Something that's a cross between Niki/Jessica and Claire. I'm not sure if I should let her keep watching "Heroes." Next thing you know, she'll be telling me to buy an Nissan Versa.

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