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Cult Watch: ‘The Crow’

Cult Watch: ‘The Crow’

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Alex Proyas’ The Crow is by far one of our all-time favorite cult films. With its dark story and triumphant performance from Brandon Lee, we thought it would be a fitting choice for the first edition in our brand new series ‘Cult Watch’.

What’s It About?

Following the savage murder of rockstar Eric Draven (Lee) and his fiance Shelley (Sofia Shinas) on October 30 (also known as Devil’s Night), a harsh grief settles over the city of Detroit with a rainfall that never stops. On the eve of their death, a mythical crow resurrects Draven for one night, and this spirit seeks revenge against the Detroit crime underworld including the devilish Top Dollar (Michael Wincott).

What Makes It A Cult Film?

The brand ‘cult film’ is especially poignant when applied to The Crow, and can be seen in every facet of the film’s production, from its origin right up until its release in 1994.

Adapted from the underground graphic novel by James O’Barr, the film was adapted by ‘splatterpunk’ writer David J. Schow, and utilised a number of up and coming artists like production designer Alex McDowell and composer Graeme Revell. There were a lot of fresh ideas on this young set, which was overseen by music video director and first time feature-film director Alex Proyas.

Influenced by German Expressionism, Hong Kong kung fu cinema, 1970s horror filmmaking, and the alternative rock scene of the late 80s and early 90s, The Crow was a complete mismatch of ideas and inspiration, which resulted in a one-of-a-kind film.

Proyas brought a hard-edged tone to The Crow that was decidedly dark and violent. The story itself was equal parts savage and compassionate, and many subcultures have been drawn to The Crow because of its subject matter and unique aesthetic.

The film’s release was uniquely cult too, especially with the heartbreaking accidental death of Brandon Lee during the final days of shooting. While plans had initially called for the film to be left unfinished, Proyas used a unique approach to complete and release it as a dedication to the talent and memory of Lee.

Why We Love It

With its gothic romance revenge plot, highly stylised action set pieces (all of which were choreographed by Brandon Lee himself), moody color palette and striking visual design, there’s not much to not love about The Crow. 

But above all else, we have to single out Brandon Lee’s performance as Eric Draven. Lee completely gave himself to this distraught and slightly manic character, and while he played up Draven’s thirst for revenge perfectly, he also found moments to show his softer side. It’s a complete performance, and is all the more poignant because of what might have come after it.

If you haven’t seen The Crow, then please go out and watch it immediately.

If you have seen The Crow, then please go and watch it again.

This is one film cult you’ll want to be a part of.