Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.
Please enjoy and leave a comment!
And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Our next film is…
WATCHING: The Crow (1994)
DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas, who went on to do the superb Dark City, but never really topped that film or this one after that.
WHAT IS IT?: Based upon the graphic novel by James O’Barr, The Crow is legendary both in terms of its content and the fact that Brandon Lee, son of the famous Bruce Lee and star of this film, was killed on set, while filming. Ironically, it was this film that shot him into the stratosphere and who knows how far he would have gone had he lived. You know “Hot Topic”? You can pretty much thank this film and The Nightmare Before Christmas for its existence since that store lived off their popularity in the very beginning.
THE PLOT: A year after musician Eric Draven and his wife-to be, Shirley, are killed by a gangster’s team of hired muscle, a spectral crow brings Draven back from the dead to avenge their deaths much to the shock and surprise of the men who not only find out that Draven has returned — but that, like Death itself, he’s also unkillable which makes their deaths almost inevitable.
WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The reviews for the film were mostly positive with Rolling Stone calling it an incredible fever dream while Roger Ebert praised the visual style of the film. The New York Times thought it was amazing as well, as did the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. Several critics reported that they felt almost melancholy while watching it, saying that there was an eerie feeling as if Lee’s ghost was haunting the film.
WHAT DID I THINK?: First, the movie is visually stunning. The film is shot in color but, just like James O’Barr’s black-and-white graphic novel on which it’s based, it’s also mostly drained of color. The film mostly takes place at night and has a neo-noir feel so it feels, very much, like it might as well should be in black and white. Reminiscent of Frank Miller’s Sin City, there are splashes of color such as the orange of an explosion or the amber color of the skies due to fires being set in the city.
The film takes on a bit of a youthful, rebellious feel with characters who hang around bars and nightclubs and don’t care what tomorrow holds. The soundtrack is grinding rock and metal (Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult all contribute tracks) with angelic orchestral movements in between.
It’s gorgeous stuff, a Gothic punk rock love poem come to life with all the atmosphere deserving of such a dark story of love and revenge.
The only weak spot I can see is the script which gets a little silly in spots (the exchanges between Ernie Hudson and Brandon Lee are cringe-inducing at times) but, thankfully, it’s most on-track.
Between this and his follow-up, “Dark City”, I don’t think director Alex Proyas ever topped this, which is most unfortunate.
I say this with absolute certainty: this film would have made Brandon Lee one of the biggest stars in all of Hollywood if only his life wasn’t cut tragically short by the accident which occurred on set.
The Crow is an outstanding work.