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 Tooper (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.
- Affably Evil: The Collector
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us
- And I Must Scream: The reason the "shoot for the eyes" tactic works is that it frees the tortured souls within the demon.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The blood in the key wards off demons, or kills them if they touch it.
- Arrow Cam
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When The Collector is trying to tempt Jeryline:
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?
- Artifact of Doom: Slight subversion -- the key can ward off demons as long as there's blood in it, but can used by to bring about The End of the World as We Know It if it's empty.
- Attack Its Weak Point: To destroy a demon, you have to aim for the eyes.
The Collector: That whole eyeball shit only works on lesser demons.
- Badass Normal: Brayker
- Bald of Evil: The Collector
- Bald Is Sexy: Billy Zane certainly thought so. He went bald for a year or two after the film was released.
- Big Bad: Subverted, in that the primary antagonist (The Collector) is actually The Dragon for a Bigger Bad - Satan himself.
- Big No: Yelled by Brayker just before Roach shoots at his possessed boss and ends up destroying a barrier keeping the demons out.
- Bilingual Bonus: When Roach says, "Vaya con dios," The Collector replies, "And a vaya con diablos to you, sir!"
- Bloody Murder
- Changing of the Guard: Brayker comes to the hotel because he knows he'll find The Chosen One there.
- The Chosen One: Brayker, later Jeryline.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The Collector's rant (see Crowning Moment of Funny).
- The Cameo: Is that an uncredited John Larroquette I see? He's briefly seen as a slasher movie monster in the Cryptkeeper book-end segments.
John Larroquette: Where did they dig this guy up?
- Corrupt Hick: Roach
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Wally gets his moment when he saves Cordelia from a demon. 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
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Collector himself distinguishes himself by saying that the eye-ball weakness only applies to "lower-level" demons. His true form is the only demon that we see with wings.
- Dirty Old Man: Uncle Willy. If his topless women fantasy wasn't enough evidence, then This Troper doesn't know what is.
- The End - or Is It?: The Collector is defeated and killed, but a strange man in a black hat starts following Jeryline, who has taken on the duties of guarding the key, on her way out of town.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Collector.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Collector is physically incapable of saying the word "love," which leads to yet another hilarious moment with Billy Zane:
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?
- Eye Scream: Possible subversion, in that it's the only thing that can kill the demons.
- Final Girl: Jeryline
- The Final Temptation
- Flash Back
- Foe Yay: The Collector and Jeryline. It's pretty one-sided, and The Collector isn't exactly subtle about it.
- 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.
- Gross Up Close-Up
- 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.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom
- Here We Go Again: After Jeryline escapes in the end, we catch a glimpse of another Collector, tailor-made for her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Irene and Deputy Bob.
- Heroic Willpower
- Humanoid Abomination: The Collector, by way of Our Demons Are Different and a few Reality Warper sprinkles.
- I Lied: The Collector says this directly to Roach just before he is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
- 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.
- 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.
- Infant Immortality: Horribly, horribly averted...
- 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
- Karmic Death: Roach again.
- Large Ham: Billy Zane as The Collector, having a grand old time.
- And of course, this being a Tales from the Crypt production, we get a wraparound featuring the Cryptkeeper, an animatronic entity that somehow manages to be the largest ham in the history of television.
- Legacy Character: One Demon Knight, one Collector.
- Life or Limb Decision: The Collector offers Irene her severed arm in exchange for her soul. On a platter. Irene, in a Crowning Moment of Funny, flips him off.
- Mind Rape: The Collector's weapon of choice.
- Mood Whiplash
- Nice Job Breaking It, Jerk Ass: Roach nearly brings about The End of the World as We Know It simply because he can't resist taking a parting shot at his asshole boss.
"Homer? This is for five years of minimum wage, you asshole!"
- Ms. Fanservice: Peggy Trentini in the opening framing segment.
- Oh Crap: Brayker gives one when he realizes The Collector is going to summon an army of demons.
- One-Winged Angel: We do briefly to get to see The Collector's true form just before he dies: a gigantic, skeletal being with a ram's head and enormous wings. He blows up real good.
- Only a Flesh Wound: One character 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.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: It's not even clear if demons actually have names, so it's just "The Collector" to you.
- Our Demons Are Different
- Lampshaded by The Collector, who ponders just who makes all these rules.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse
- 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, though it's never made clear how much of it is simply him getting into his victims' heads.
- Really Seven Hundred 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.
- Sassy Black Woman: Jeryline. Irene gets her moments, too.
- Scary Black Man: The Other Collector.
- Seen It All:
"You know this Hell on Earth business? Big fucking deal! I've got hemorrhoids."
- Shout-Out: To Tales from the Crypt, of course.
- Staking the Loved One
- Take Up My Sword: Brayker says something like this to Jeryline just before he's attacked and fatally wounded by a possessed boy.
- Taking You with Me: "SUPPERTIME!"
- Tall, Bald, And Snarky: The Collector, as evidenced throughout this page.
- Theme Tune Cameo: The second Collector whistles the Tales from the Crypt theme tune.
- This Was His True Form: See One-Winged Angel.
- Title Drop: Easy to miss, but the Collector actually does use the term "Demon Knight" to refer to the guardian of the key, when he brags no one had ever taken a demon knight alive before.
- Too Dumb to Live: Way too many of the residents during the movie.
- 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!"
- We Can Rule Together: The Collector makes the offer to Jeryline. Her response is really something to behold.
- Who Writes This Crap?: At one point, The Collector asks who makes up all the rules for the demons.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: "I lied."