Night of the Templar (2012)

a.k.a. - Knights Templar (UK)

Udo Keir and David Carradine star in Paul Sampson's eccentric horror film. Signature UK R2 DVD

The Film

Jake McCallister (Paul Sampson) arrives at a castle in a rural European town, he is an event co-ordinator for five guests who are shortly going to arrive for a mystery and fantasy weekend. One of the guests, Amy, discovers an old book and reads to the others a tale of greed from the era of the Crusades and how the bretrayed Lord Gregoire vowed to seek revenge in seven lifetimes from the descendants of those who turned against him, while in the castle the guests start meeting gruesome ends...

Written by the director and lead actor Paul Sampson, Night of the Templar is a rather strange little film - the main plot, a 'sins of the father' revenge theme, is nothing too original and would make for a quite conventional horror film, but it is the surrounding storyline that gives the production a more unusual edge - the incredibly strange mix of characters around the castle and the odd or unexplained motivation for them all to be there (plot holes or deliberate wierdness?) make it more remniscent of a 1970s Euro-cult film, particularly a Paul Naschy production.

The historical flashback is broken up into sections that are revealed throughout the film, which helps to break up the modern Giallo-esque sequences, although both could have worked a little better - we know that Gregoire is going to be killed, so there is no tension in the historical scenes and there seems to be no attempt to put in any twists or real ambiguity over the indentity of the killer during the contemporary killing scenes either - perhaps a larger cast of characters could have provided some better tension here. However, there are some interesting revelations about the identity of the modern characters and despite being slow in paces, the film does build to an entertaining, if still rather strange climax. It is only a pity that more is not made of what seems to be a holy cult glimpsed early on in the film, who have set-up the reunion and the story never taps into the Templar legends.

Making his directoral debut, Sampson does some solid work behind the camera and the modern scenes are all very well helmed, the historical sequences seem rather more limited - largely shot at night they are very dark and can be hard to follow. There is plenty of blood in the death scenes although nothing vividly gory.

Again taking the main role is Paul Sampson who has cast himself well in the film and gives a good performance in the duel role. Most interesting though are the key roles played by cult veterans Udo Kier and David Carradine (in his last film appearance), both of whom get far more than just cameo appearances and play a major part in the film, particularly the climax. Billy Drago The Untouchables (1987) has a smaller but highly memorable part as a cook in drag. The rest of the cast are fine, with beautiful actress Ingrid Sonray giving a good turn as Amy.

Paul Sampson's Naschy-esque approach to Night of the Templar turns what could have been a rather generic slasher film into a rather strange Euro-cult styled horror film and so while it will doubtless not appeal to most mainstream horror audiences, fans of 1980s European horror, particularly the films of Paul Naschy, should find plenty to enjoy here, bolstered by the ever enjoyable David Carradine and Udo Kier. Certainly of interest.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Udo Kier - a versatile German actor, best known for his collaborations with Lars von Trier.
David Carradine - a popular cult film star in the 1970s who subsequently appeared in over 100 films.
Directed by anyone interesting? Paul Sampson - a body builder and occasional actor, making his directoral debut here.
Any gore or violence ? Some bloodly deaths although nothing overly gory.
Any sex or nudity? One brief topless shot and an unrelevealing sex scene.
Who is it for? Probably of most interest to fans of the weirder 1980s Euro-horror films.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The production was shot on film and there is a lot of grain in the night scenes, but always watchable
Audio English - 5.1 and 2.0 - both sound fine.
Subtitles None
Extras None.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Other regions? Scheduled for US release in January 2013.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print language is English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 31st October 2012.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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