Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Devil's Night Drama!!

"Legend has it that when someone dies The 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. Sometimes the Crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right."

The first time Brandon Lee appears on screen in "The Crow"  he is climbing out of his grave. Lee's ghoulish entrance is the eeriest possible sight, of course, because he was killed by a misloaded prop gun whilst making this movie.  It is thus his epitaph!  

He howls as he stands in the mud and rain in the middle of the night playing Eric Draven, a small-time rock musician who has risen from the dead to seek justice & wreak vengence on the anniversary of his and his fiancee's murder.   The crow that accompanies Draven on his brief return to earth is his link between the worlds of the living and the dead.  In flashback scenes, fragmented and full of jumpy camera movements, we see that Draven's fiancee ~ Shelly ~ was raped and brutally murdered in their apartment on Halloween Eve, now labelled "Devil's Night", by a group of degenerates named T-bird (David Patrick Kelly), Skank (Angel David), Tin Tin (Lawrence Mason) and Funboy (Michael Massee). They dirty up the streets for their demented and cruel crime boss, Druglord Top Dollar (Michael Wincott), who runs the whole operation & who resented the couple's attempts to clean up the neighbourhood, ordering their murder.

A little girl named Sarah (Rochelle Davis), being raised by Shelly because of her mother's ~ Darla, (Anna Thomson) ~  involvement with drugs and because of the street fungus she parties with, witnesses the horrific aftermath & meets a compassionate cop named Albrecht (Ernie Hudson), who stays by Shelly's hospital bedside for 30 hours until her passing, and is one of the ones most deeply affected by the murder of this couple.  Based on a comic-book character created by James O'Barr in the early 1980's, this is definitely a dark, lurid revenge fantasy of a high order, stylish and smooth.  Its dark look of midnight terror and its skewed cityscape evoke images of the Burton "Batman" movies, but "The Crow" makes even the bleak "Batman II" seem bland.  The Crow is about fighting  the good fight, a belief in making a wrong right.  A love story ...  A magical story of two souls destined to be together in life and in death!

On his return from the dead,  Draven puts white makeup on his face and paints black lines to exaggerate his eyes and mouth. This lithe and gaunt figure is clearly a comic-book Avenger with Supernatural powers. When he is shot, his wounds heal magically. Ernie Hudson, as a policeman who saw Draven's corpse,  looks on quizzically when he notices him walking the streets, but quickly accepts the fact that a man has returned from the dead. It's just the kind of thing that happens in fantasy land. And the world of  "The Crow" is exactly that,  a dark fantasy land,  a land where good & evil exist,  just like our own world. 
"The Crow" spends much of its time showing the brutality with which Draven goes after his murderers, which is perfetly thematic ... it is a tale of revenge after all!  There are several major shootouts, a couple of explosions and one death in which Draven's victim ends up with a dozen or so hypodermic needles sticking out of his body. And the gang leader, called 'Top Dollar',  Michael Wincott has a genuinely evil rasp in his voice, a total theatrical treat!  Top Dollar seems to be sleeping with his half-sister, a Sorceress, & an eyeball collecting freak Myca (Bai Ling),  the only one who discovers the secret to ending Eric's supernatural death mission and  who will go to great lengths to achieve his power.

Sadly, Brandon Lee's premature death (three days from the end of shooting) makes this movie all the more macabre, shocking and thought provoking, and carries throughout the film the uncanny feeling that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. For here is a man who films a movie about coming back from a terrible and too soon to be taken from this world tragedy, and it is exactly what happens to him, for real!  

"The Crow" is more mainstream than it might have been, because script changes were made to soften the story after Lee's death. Sarah, a young girl befriended by Draven and his fiancee, now offers a voice-over at the film's beginning and end about preserving the memory of those you have loved.  Draven saves Sarah from her drug-addled mother. Rochelle Davis makes Sarah a sympathetic, streetwise girl, but her enhanced role merely adds a trendy death-culture gloss. It doesn't change the film's violent nature or eye-for-an-eye message. Which for me is such a good thing .... Revenge for me is a part of life. A Sweet & Satisfying denouement, a necessary corollary to 'happy ever after'!!

This movie contains stirring and fundamentally intense songs, harbouring such poetic lyrics and music, it just seeps inside your brain and takes it over, leaving you to feel the potency of those songs transcending throughout your body.  Most memorable and inspiring to me are the following artists on the sound track ~ "The Cure," "Machines of Loving Grace" "Stone Temple Pilots," "Nine Inch Nails" Violent Femmes," &  "The Jesus and Mary Chain"Hypnotic, Enchanting & a Perfect backdrop for this masterpiece of sumptous visual art!

"The Crow" is a dark picture where the over all feel of the movie's personality is heightened, by the heinous and disgusting vermin that scour the city's grimiest and most depressing sections.  There is so much hate and vulgarity, so much destruction and cheapness that feeds off the city and yet that is where this Ethereal love is found ... in the centre of all this filth and sludge.  It is Gothic to the Core.  Like Classic Bronte.  The feel of the movie is as it should be ~  Dark, Moody, Gothic, and Sinister, with the soul of the film being that of undying love shown through the eyes of Eric Draven.  Sleek and accidentally haunting, "The Crow"  is perfect gothic drama for Devil's night.  Tonight. I'm watching. Will you join me???


  1. And I find Brandon Lee as Eric Draven to be the epitome of perfection (& manhood) in this movie. Need I say more???

  2. Another Beautiful Blog!

    Pana you should prepare these for publication, including your book & movie reviews. They warrant it for sure!

    I too loved Brandon Lee & thought what a career he would have had if he had lived. The Crow is one of the Seminal movies of the 80's. And you are correct, a Gothic Classic.