Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Crow

"It can't rain all the time..."  Eric Draven, The Crow

"People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right."
-Sarah, The Crow

This 1994 movie was based upon the dark graphic novel written and illustrated by J. O'Barr, and is surrounded by tragedy.  J.O'Barrs inspiration for this dark Gothic masterpiece after his fiancée was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver.  It's a very good example of using a creative outlet for self therapy after a devastating tragedy.   If you haven't read the graphic novel, I highly recommend it.The star of this truly excellent movie about an avenging "dark angel" upcoming star Brandon Lee (son of martial arts film star Bruce Lee) was killed in an accident during the filming.  I was working as a colorist in the comic book industry during the time of the filming and I was following the story closely at the time.  There was some controversy surrounding his death, and with conflicting reports, some claim it was a blank that was fired through the grocery bag he was carrying in a scene where his character is killed sent shrapnel from the bag into his chest killing him.   The final report was that dummy cartridges had been made from real ones and the gun having been used in a previous scene had pushed one of the dummy cartridges into the chamber unknown to the crew.  The blanks were loaded, and when the gun was fired during the scene, it was enough power to push the lodged cartridge through the barrel and into the actors chest.   And then of course there was talk of the Lee curse, that his father died in a mysterious manner, and now his son had followed, and also a conspiracy theory about the Chinese Mafia.  As you can imagine, J. O'Barr was devastated when the star of the film version of his story was killed and set about to help raise money to help Brandons family by releasing special editions of his graphic novel and other venues.

Following the accident, the film makers used ground breaking techniques at the time to map Brandons face onto another actor and body doubles to complete the film.  The edits worked seamlessly and created one of my all time favorite movies.

The Crow was directed by Alex Proyas who brought his previous experience in directing music videos to create this cult classic masterpiece.  Eric Draven and his true love and fiancée Shelly who were both brutally murdered the night before Halloween the day they were getting married by a gang of very bad guys.
Eric and Shelly dancing in a flashback.

 What these bad guys didn't know is that rock n roll musician Eric Draven would be be brought back to life a year after his death by the spirit of the Crow, the mystical bird who connects the natural world with the afterlife.  Painting his face like a Harlequin mask that belonged to Shelly, Eric's soul purpose for his resurrection is retribution upon the gang that comitted the murders, the crow following him as his guide and totem. 

The thing that you just gotta love about this movie is that while in real life we don't always get to see the bad guys get their comeuppance,  which I like to think is part of the appeal of shows like The Sopranos, is that sometimes you just like to know that they're not getting away with it.
From J. O'Barrs original comic

"Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is."

This film is so beautifully filmed in all it's dark Gothic glory, and many of the beautifully lyrical lines are taken right from the graphic novel.  The soundtrack is one worth owning, and I have played several copies to death over the years.  The biggest hit from the soundtrack was Big Empty by Stone Temple Pilots, you'll also find The Cure, Rage Agaist The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Jane Siberry, Helmet, This is a rockin soundtrack.  I loved this movie so much back in the day that I talked a store manager out of their Crow VHS display and I had it in my livingroom with all my tapes (including The Crow) on it.
Eric Draven leaves his mark in lighter fluid.

Erics character while bent on revenge shows much more depth to his character when he interacts with his young neighbor Sarah and also the cop Officer Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) who handled the murder of himself and Shelly.  After scaring the tar out of a bad guy and finishing him off, he uses his otherworldly powers to turn around Sarah's heroin addict mother, as he holds her arm, heroin oozes from her tracks on her arm ans he tells her in an intent filled tone, "Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Do you understand? Morphine is bad for you. Your daughter is out there on the streets waiting for you."  Whoa!  The gang in this film is truly nasty with names like Skank, Tin-Tin, Fun Boy, T-Bird, and Michael Wincott was just the ultimate bad guy as their leader crime lord Top Dollar.
Top Dollar and his creepy sister

Draven meets the crime syndicate on their own turf.

Brandon Lee created this great character with many layers of anger, sorrow, ruthlessness, humor, love and strength.  He could have played it as an angry killing machine, but instead he brings you in and makes you feel his pain and sorrow while you route for him to succeed in the end and find peace.   If Brandon Lee he had lived, I believe he would be one of our great actors today. 
Eric has a talk with Sarah

I wanted to love the sequels but I just didn't, they couldn't live up to the original.  There was also a T.V. series that had a short run, but again I'll always be a fan of this 1994 classic movie the one, the only, The Crow.
Rest in Peace Brandon Lee 1965-1993
 Monday Movie Featured Item:

Alder Print from Voice of the Trees, available in our Etsy shop
Bran the Blessed is another tragic hero who's totem animal was a big black bird.  Like Eric Draven, he was a warrior who fought off the bad guys,  Bran went to war when he found out his sister Branwen was being mistreated by her husband.  Bran also had a magic cauldron that brought the dead back to life.  He was considered brother to the alder tree, and is illustrated here beneath the alder.  One more connection, some guitars are made of alder wood, and Eric Draven was a guitarist.  Was his guitar made of alder wood?  I like to think so.



  1. Good movie! ... and beautiful card! I like the way you connected Bran with the character Eric Draven... and the alder tree and Draven's guitar. Another great post Mickie!

  2. This was one of my all time favourites too. I had the posters on my wall & the graphic novel. Such a moving story, & Brandon perfectly captured the emotion.
    It still holds up today as a great film.
    Love it :)

  3. I loved this one and the graphic novel. I also am a big Bruce Lee fan so of course, Brandon holds a special place in my heart. Great choice.

  4. I love love love that movie. We can feel his sadness and pain for what they´ve done to his girlfriend. I love the idea that there´s such a big love that even after dead, one can return to revenge his love. And I love the crow. :)

  5. I'm so glad to hear from other fans of this great movie! My hubby Dan dressed up as him twice for Halloween, easy costume, makeup, black clothes and electical tape! Plus he looked totally hot! :o)


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