Saturday, October 26, 2013

Two Hundred and Ninety-nine - The Crow, "On Devil's Night, Wronged Dead Souls Can Rise."

Being a fan of the Gothic persuasion in the late 80's/early 90's was glorious. There was Hellraiser, Sandman, Hellblazer, and... of course... The Crow (both the comic and the movie).

I mean, thinking back, I remember three types of people in that era of my generation: the Goths, the Grunge, and the Gaps. I'm sure there were dozens, if not hundreds more, subtypes or categorizations for youth culture at the time, but those were it for me. I certainly didn't fall in the latter, but I was definitely a closet case of the former two, the lack of personal control over outward appearance forcing my Gothy Grungyness to remain in hiding. What can I say, my parents were strict and I was a coward.

Anyways, The Crow was a defining film for folks like me. It sated our desire for so many things: eternal love, bloody vengeance, dark makeup and leather jackets. It was like Alex Proyas made a film just for us based on a comic made just for us. It was magic, it was amazing, it was tragic.

Yeah, tragic... because, if you didn't know this already, Brandon Lee died filming this movie. It caused a big hullabaloo at the time and I have no doubt that the press surrounding the mysterious death of Bruce Lee's son contributed to the film's box office, even though it was a good enough film to stand well on its own.

The setting for The Crow is a bleak, surreal landscape of urban America. The ghettos are hollow and crime-ridden, where everyone is out for themselves and just trying to survive save for a few do-gooders like Eric Draven and his fiance, Shelly Webster. It's in the opening moments of the movie where we're witness to the aftermath of their double murder, brutalized and killed for speaking up against the slumlord trying to evict them.

A year later, Eric is miraculously resurrected to wreak havoc against those who wronged him and his lady love, given powers of regeneration, clairvoyance, and empathic transference. He is turned into a one man ESPer killing spree and sent off in the direction of his killers by his spirit animal, the eponymous Crow, which guides him both to his enemies and his allies.

I really love how solid this cast is. Brandon Lee is great, but the supporting cast is where it's at, including Michael Wincott, Ernie Hudson, and a face that we've grown more familiar with during our Spooktacular viewings of Twin Peaks... David Patrick Kelly (who plays Jerry Horne in Lynch's prime time soap opera).

The film is also great for its soundtrack... being one of the best compilations of dark, emotive rock and hardcore industrial from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Rollins Band and more. This CD, along with Lost Highway and Natural Born Killers respective discs, was amazing (and all featured Trent Reznor and NIN, the latter two heavily).

As ghost stories go, The Crow is immensely satisfying, only showing rough edges when it comes to Lee's lost lover, Shelly. Played by Sophia Shinas, I never really feel any natural chemistry between them in the flashbacks. Still, I heartily recommend the film as a classic of spooky cinema. There's nothing ever scary about it as it's more action than horror, but it's a great Halloween flick!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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