The Crow (1994) dir. Alex Proyas


There was no better time to be a fan of dark graphic novels and comic books than the ’80s and ’90s. Not only did you have the “big names” in adult-oriented graphic novels, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta and The Dark Knight Returns, but you also had some more obscure titles that were heavily overlooked by the mass audience, including From Hell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (before they became watered down stories for kids) and the underrated The Crow. These dark and violent tales were centered to bring back the adult demographic to the comic book world, and in suit, Hollywood followed with their adaptions of these novels, my personal favorite being 1994’s The Crow. Set in a gothic, steampunk-inspired world, The Crow stars Brandon Lee in his (unfortunate and way too soon) final role as Eric Draven, our goth, industrial punk rocker anti-hero. A year after Eric and his fiancee Shelly (Sofia Shinas) are brutally murdered and left to die in the streets of Detroit one day before Halloween, Eric is resurrected by a crow to carry out revenge on his murderers and anyone connected to his and his fiancees death. Having been given incredible strength and the power of regeneration, Eric spends a full night going through a list of gang members as a spirit of vengeance and retribution.

In making his mainstream Hollywood debut, director Alex Proyas really hit it big with The Crow. Proyas creates a surrealist, dark and brooding version of Detroit. Much like Tim Burton’s Gotham in his Batman films, this adds a steampunk atmosphere that was prevalent throughout the ’90s, only Proyas did it best. Taking what he learned from The Crow, he went on to direct a CRIMINALLY underrated science fiction gem entitled Dark City, which everyone should see. Traveling through the grim landscape as Eric Draven is the late and great Brandon Lee, who embodies perfectly a spirit out for revenge. As a ghost from the past, Brandon Lee makes this mysterious embodiment of revenge a truly horrific being, even if you are rooting for him every step of the way, making him one of the ’90s’ greatest anti-heroes. As The Crow became a hit with audiences and critics, more films followed suit with the anti-hero protagonist and gothic setting, giving other comic book adaptions like Spawn and Blade an opportunity to actually be made in the first place. Nowadays, The Crow’s influence is definitely still being felt, with dark and brooding films like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight series and other classic graphic novels of the time including V for Vendetta and Watchmen being made into films. I honestly don’t think these films would have been made if it wasn’t for The Crow‘s success. If you love good revenge stories, this one’s for you!

The Crow
dir. Alex Proyas
102 min

Screens Friday, 2/17 @ Coolidge Corner Theatre – midnight!

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