When Halloween time rolls around, you’ll see all of us horror nuts crafting a myriad of different seasonal lists. These lists tend to feature a slew of familiar titles, including Carpenter’s great Halloween, Dougherty’s insane anthology Trick ‘r Treat, Burton’s awesome Sleepy Hallow and even the classic ‘80s piece, Lady in White.
One film you don’t tend to see on these lists, however, is Alex Proyas’s adaptation of James O’Barr’s melancholy and creepy revenge tale, The Crow.
Maybe it’s the stinging memory of Brandon Lee’s set-related fatality. Maybe it’s the fact that the movie isn’t loaded with scary jack o-lanterns and the decorations we’ve come to associate the holiday with. Maybe it’s a simple product of time.
Whatever the case may be, this forgotten Halloween flick isn’t to be missed.
Stuffed full of chilling landscape looks and poetic lines, the movie disconcerts time and again. It’s also one of the few comic book adaptations that clearly classifies as a hard-R flick.
Eyeballs are cut from sockets, women are raped with no relent, bodies are carved into grotesqueries and enough coke is snorted to make Tony Montana proud. The movie has a little bit of everything we genre lovers go crazy for, and yet most fail to remember that the events of the film are firmly centered on the eve of Halloween, two years running, when Eric Draven and his love, Shelly Webster are brutalized by local thugs, and Draven inevitably returns from the dead to exact his revenge on T-Bird and his group of junkie freak flunkies, who ended he and his love’s lives far too early.
I think, unfortunately, the movie really is a victim of terrible circumstances and a stigma most feel more comfortable steering clear of than even acknowledging.
But Brandon Lee deserves more than that, and so does the rest of the gang who helped make this movie a reality.
A few of the underrated elements of the movie include the generally stunning visual flare that Proyas captures, as he brings the oppressing mood of a poverty stricken and crime riddled city to life perfectly; awesome violence-free tension between Ernie Hudson’s Albrecht and Marco Rodríguez’ Torres; and one of the most underrated performances captured on film over the last 35 years in the form of David Patrick Kelly’s riveting portrayal of T-Bird.
The film’s qualities are numerous, but those are the things that tend to draw the least praise, despite the fact that they’re certainly worthy of a little gushing.
Brandon Lee left behind a few slick movies, a few conspiracy theories and one particular feature that, while infamous with an ingrained following, stands as one of the more underappreciated accomplishments of the 1990s.
The Crow has a few hiccups to muffle, but it’s a generally enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining picture about love, life, death and righting the wrongs that can befall anyone, at any time. There’s a brilliantly underscored supernatural element to the film that works because Proyas doesn’t see fit to stuff it down our throats and the supporting cast is as diverse as one could ask for.
There’s reason to remember Devil’s Night, and the reason stretches beyond Lee’s involvement exclusively. And although the movie isn’t particularly terrifying, it still makes for a terrific seasonal effort.
It’s nice to remember The Crow for the disconcerting piece of work it is.