Something wonderful came out of the 90’s and it included Billy Zane. Tales of The Crypt: Demon Knight “demon” blasted onto the movie theaters as the first film incarnation of the popular television show. Demon Knight featured everything the series was known for; the classic Danny Elfman intro, women plotting to kill their husbands, relentless gore, demons and the cackling Crypt Keeper himself. The movie variant took nearly ten years to reach the big screen seeing setback after setback. 25 years later the film still holds up as an entertaining horror spectacle – a truly underrated gem of the horror genre. Zane — who appeared in a Tales of the Crypt episode – plays The Collector.
Billy Zane is mostly spotted in the cracks of some of 90s biggest blockbusters – see Titanic. Not only does he got the smoldering bald thing going on he also went to Harvard – for acting – and that is something my thirsty buddies. As the Collector in Demon Knight Zane portrays an intelligent seductive demon straight (but hopefully not) out of hell and in pursuit of Jesus blood. The film tricks us at first to believe that Zane’s character could actually be the good guy – but that’s not the case! Upon meeting the protagonist that he has been seeking we can see the shift in his character.
The Collector spends the rest of the film trying to persuade the unsuspecting hotel trash that if they just give him the key that they will live forever and bountifully. Some fall for his charming dark eyes and they indeed do pay dearly. Fans of this movie could easily adore Zane’s performance of The Collector because of the relentless sexuality that oozes from every utterance of dialogue. Zane perfectly captures what a demon from hell would be like; charming, devious, alluring and HILARIOUS. He tempts the other characters with their hopes and dreams and dangles them in their faces. He could dangle a lot of things in my face, if you know what I mean.
("Do me a favor? Don't scream. Just hear what I've got to say. And then scream...." - The Collector)
One notable bit of dialogue – that can never get out of my head – is when The Collector and Jeryline (played by still normal looking Jada Pinkett Smith) are dancing in the demon world. With the blowy bedsheets light jazz music and the isolation from the terror in the hotel the two characters drift through the scene exploring possibilities.. The Collector is trying to convince Jeryline to give him the artifact key that he so desperately seeks. There is a deep understanding of loneliness from the execution of this scene – of finding that one person who CAN give you everything like the Collector promises. Billy Zane knows how to pull at your desires for that ideal fantasy of traveling to different destinations with a gorgeous lover by showcasing the charismatic confidence that any demon or potential mate would have.
When he inquires to Jeryline about her beauty he first asks “Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?” Implying her hidden beauty he then follows with “ I know that sounds like a line – Lord knows I’ve used it, but I mean it” showcases The Collector’s ability to convince you that he is trustworthy. Unbelievable compliments paired with truths about human behavior – we’ve all used lines – allow his irresistible personality to be indulged greatly by the receiver. If anyone was a character in this film they may be persuaded to believe that he is more than just a demon and a person who understands me. His pitch to Jeryline to sell her soul – the big FU to GOD – is eventually rejected by Jeryline and she takes on the responsibility of being the holder of the key. She spits jesus blood in his face and he explodes – in true gory fashion. We all know that she was considering accepting his proposal and after all, weren’t we too?
On the real real though, he is HUNKY, masc4masc type, with a twinge of comedic flavor with a attractive and infectious flirtatious personality, we could go on…. And besides the whole Jesus-soul-stealing stuff, he’s a CATCH! From the way he blows out the cigarette smoke, to the way he tries to convince you to relinquish your soul one can’t help but fall into the Collector’s (Billy Zane) demon pact. At times he makes the movie with his one liners and his “ over this “ prolonged battle of good and evil attitude. Oh, we like the cowboy hat too!
Before I forget he also appears in Critters. See below for proof.