Stars: Paul Sampson, David Carradine, Udo Kier, Norman Reedus, Billy Drago, Max Perlich | Written and Directed by Paul Sampson
Knights Templar (also known as Night of the Templar) is a strange film; in fact it should not work. It’s a simple slasher wrapped around the legend of the Knights Templar, the plot is simple, the kills themselves are not really imaginative and the acting is for the most part is quite poor (probably down to wafer thin character development). The fact is though I actually found it quite enjoyable.
When one of the Knights Templar is double-crossed by the other knights he swears revenge by returning after “ten lifetimes”. Jump about seven hundred years to get to the present day and a group of people are brought together for a fantasy weekend. It’s not too long before each of the group start to die strangely at the hands of a strange knight, and with the events co-ordinator Jake acting strangely people begin to wonder exactly what is going on.
There are many strange things about this film, the first being the make-up. I don’t know why but it just seemed off on screen, where people’s skin should look flesh toned you could tell the make-up was there, which until you get used to it was quite off putting. There are positives of course, namely some of the cult actors. Udo Kier, David Carradine and Billy Drago are three of the most noticeable with Billy Drago probably playing the strangest role I’ve seen him in.
With Billy Drago often he’s playing the bad guy, he’s very good in the role and he can bring the intensity to it that creates a menacing character. In Knights Templar he plays “Shauna the Chef” and is dressed as a woman. When I watched it I spend half of the film wondering if he was actually meant to be a woman in it, it’s that crazy a role and honestly quite fun as it keeps you guessing. His partner in crime Benoit the Butler played by Max Perlich is also just as strange. This does get explained later in the film but it puts an interesting edge to the tale without seeming to be too stupid. It almost feels like it’s been added to the film to make people who know who Billy Drago question more, somewhat of an in joke for his fans, that he would take on such a crazy character instead of his usual roles.
In showing the films frailty then arguing that it’s enjoyable, I’m not going to argue that it’s one of those “so bad it’s good” films, because quite frankly it’s not. I would argue that it should not work, it is deeply flawed but I still enjoyed it. The story, although weak is actually quite intriguing and you are left guessing if the person you have decided is the “Knight” is actually that person. I won’t spoil the answer of course but it’s a fun watch none the less. It is quite sad that this must have been one of David Carradine’s last roles as he was so at ease on screen and was one of the few characters who had some surprising depth even though he had a small part, he was a great loss especially to film projects like this that manage to make some impact just by the use of his name.
I will admit I’m slightly confused with Knights Templar in a way. I know I shouldn’t like it, I know it’s arguably badly made but it has its own charm that keeps you interested. Maybe it’s the use of Udo Kier, David Carradine and Billy Drago that caught my interest and kept me watching but in the end I found myself quite liking it. You’ll watch it at least just to try and work out what part in the tale these three actors have, which in truth is more interesting than the story itself.
Knights Templar is released on DVD on 2nd July courtesy of Signature Entertainment.