Synopsis by Mark Deming
This first theatrical feature spun off from the television series Tales from the Crypt (which was in turn inspired by the infamous EC horror comics of the 1950s) concerns a mysterious man named Brayker (Bill Sadler), who arrives at a church-turned-rooming house in a small town in New Mexico. Hot on his trail is an equally mysterious and very menacing figure known as the Collector (Billy Zane), who arrives with policemen in tow; he claims that Brayker stole some keys from him, and he wants the cops to help him reclaim them. It turns out, however, that the "keys" are actually several amulets that contain drops of the blood of Christ; they can be used to ward off evil in the right hands, but they can lead the world to doom if used improperly. The Collector and his forces lay siege to the house with the other residents caught in the middle between Brayker and the Collector, including alcoholic Uncle Willy (Dick Miller), prostitute Cordelia (Brenda Bakke), sleazy Southerner Roach (Thomas Haden Church), postal employee Wally (Charles Fleischer), sensible Jeryline (Jada Pinkett), and landlady Irene (CCH Pounder). Bordello of Blood, the second Tales from the Crypt feature, hit theaters the following year.
artifact, demon, good-vs-evil, boarding-house, guardian, supernatural-forces, tenant, Christ [Jesus], trail [follow]