| Finn Odum |
The Crow plays at the Trylon Cinema from Friday, June 23 through Sunday, June 25. Visit trylon.org for tickets and more information.
(A Series of Facts and Asides Written in Remembrance of Brandon Lee)
“EDITOR’S” NOTE: We’ve received reports that this essay was hacked in an attempt to blaspheme the opinions of our very own “Fanged Finn” Odum. We at Movie Review Website take this very seriously. For the sake of allowing this completely unknown hacker to share their side of the story, we have left this essay unedited.
What’s up film-fanatics and cursed creeps! It’s your favorite horror heathen Fanged Finn, back with another spoooooky Top Five Super-Sad Facts, brought to you by the Movie Review Website! This week, we’re taking a look at one of the most infamous cursed films in the history of Hollywood. We’re talking about 1994’s The Crow, directed by Alex Proyas and starring the late Brandon Lee.
If you’re as obsessed with chaos as we are at Movie Review Website, then you already might know a little about this problematic production. That’s why I’m bringing you more than just tidbits about “catastrophic electrical issues” and “the horrible tragedy that was Brandon Lee’s death.” We’re diving straight into all of the dirty details about The Crow, from the curse that totally killed Bruce Lee, to the grievous circumstances surrounding the original comic’s creation.
We’re counting down… Movie Review Website’s Top Five Super-Sad Facts About: The Crow!
5. Actors Say Brandon Lee’s Death Could’ve Been Avoided
In interviews for the Shudder docuseries Cursed Films, members of The Crow’s crew claim that the death of lead Brandon Lee could’ve been avoided by proper prop handling. The movie was produced on a shoestring budget, which led to the studio cutting corners with its prop department. Lee’s completely accidental death was caused by a dummy bullet lodged in a gun chamber; when fired, the blank propelled a live round out of the gun, killing Lee instantly. Now that’s what I call an argument for better gun safety!
5.1. When you die, how will you want to be remembered?
Do you want to have your face framed in photographs on your child’s living room mantle? Will you hang on the wall, your mouth frozen in a smile you never really wore? Would you like to have a grandchild named after you, so that your likeness is captured in the life of another?
Imagine how you’d like to go. Consider the alleged beauty of passing in old age or the dramatic details of dying a mysterious death. How would you want your family to describe what happened? How would you want the world to learn of your demise?
Bruce Lee, 1940-1973
4. The TRUTH About the Lee Family Curse
Rumor has it that Brandon Lee wasn’t the only member of his family who died under mysterious circumstances. According to a family legend, the Lees were hunted by a demon who wished to eliminate all of their male offspring. The curse led to the death of Brandon’s father Bruce Lee, who died suddenly in his apartment on the night of July 20, 1973. Medical professionals could not discern the cause of death* and ruled it a death of misadventure. Because of this tragic event, some believe that the Lee curse was real, and was responsible for the deaths of Bruce and Brandon!
(*There’s evidence that indicates Bruce Lee’s death was caused by cerebral edema brought on by over-exertion and heat stroke, but it’s the official opinion of Movie Review Website that this is unconfirmed).
4.1 Consider the following Headlines:
Bruce Lee’s death brought on by physical overexertion in the industry.
Brandon Lee killed because production cut costs on prop safety.
Actor’s demise ruled death of misadventure.
Martial artist killed by curse.
If it were you who died, would you want the world to know the truth, or would you want them to perpetuate spectacle? Would you want the real, physical tragedy to be broken down into a dramatized declaration of death? The answer, which should be obvious, is no. And yet, we continue to eat up these Headlines, taking the last shreds of humanity away from lives already lost. We read processed garbage from half-baked “movie review sites” that know nothing about the real cost of tragedy. We twist truth into curses and conspiracies, until the facts have bled out of the story.
3. Author of Original The Crow Regrets Writing It?
It’s (allegedly) true! In the wake of the tragic production accidents, crew members from The Crow claimed author James O’Barr said that had he known what would happen to Brandon Lee, he would have never written the comic in the first place.
To add insult to injury, the original comic came from a deep, dark place of loss. In the late 1970’s, O’Barr’s fiancée was killed by a drunk driver. The Crow was a product of O’Barr’s grief and suffering—and it took six years to write. Boy, I’d hate to be him!
3.1 When did we decide that spectacle came before sensibility?
Perhaps we’ve always been this way—we are vampires for violence, creatures craving chaos for our personal amusement. We eat up art made by the traumatized. We fuel ourselves on the pain of others, for what? Avoidance of our own pain? Dismissal of our own mortality?
We are not people. We are parasites.
2. MORE Cursed Accidents on Set of The Crow – Can You Believe It?
Even before Brandon Lee’s catastrophic death, the production of The Crow was plagued with chaos. The Crow’s production team decided to only shoot footage at night—an aesthetic choice that led to two electricians crashing into a high-wire while driving late. Both men were injured and the lighting on set was shut off. Then, the backlot was destroyed by a hurricane, leading some Hollywood outlets to believe the production was cursed. Who knew that they’d be right in the worst way!
2.1 But then the Headlines are about someone we know.
Most people… most good people… most people who believe they’re good expunge their parasitic natures when they lose someone. When a loved one passes, the good people fight to remember the dead for what they were: For their passions, their dreams, and accomplishments. For their highs—and yes, sometimes their lows. The good people remember their loved ones for everything they were and more.
Ask anyone who worked on The Crow how they feel about the “curse” that took the life of their friend. Ask James O’Barr how it felt to watch someone so passionate about their shared vision vanish. Ask the man who shot him how it felt to pull the trigger. You might find that they remember things differently than the Headlines do.
1. Shocking!! Brandon Lee was a Real Person??
Last but not least, we at Movie Review Website want to acknowledge that Brandon Lee was a great guy. Before his work in The Crow, the actor and martial artist starred in action films Rapid Fire and Showdown in Little Tokyo. He trained under martial artists Richard Bustillo and Jeff Imada, the latter of which he brought on with him to work on The Crow. When he took on a role, Lee committed wholeheartedly; he lost over 20 pounds in order to play Eric Draven and worked alongside the crew to shape the production of the film. One of his greatest accomplishments was developing Eric Draven’s unique fighting style that incorporated aerobics with martial arts, to give the hero the appearance of someone with supernatural abilities.
What a guy!
1.1 When I die,
I hope I am lucky enough to not have my death announced in Bolded Headlines. I must prematurely ask my loved ones to set whatever remains of me ablaze—like a Viking, maybe, or a prairie ravaged by destruction. I want my story burnt into the earth, so that even in death I am remembered as a wildfire. That will be my legacy. What will be yours?
Point 0. We Must Remember Brandon Lee—All of Him.
The Crow is the living legacy of Brandon Lee. He spent every moment of pre-production and production preparing for his role. Though James O’Barr carved Eric Draven out of clay, Brandon Lee was the one to breathe life into his husk. Draven is the product of Lee’s passion and commitment. The Crow is the documentation of his talent and ability.
Yes, it was plagued by production issues and accidents, but that should not be used as a marketing tactic to attract an audience.
Yes, there will always be a part of our culture that is blinded by the mystery of The Crow’s curse
And yes, I cannot expect everyone in the world to turn their insides out and reject the appeal of speculation. But I will beg those who’ll listen to consider the artist behind the art and the reality of their untimely demise. As film watchers, think-piece writers, and movie makers, it is our duty to treat the memories of our artists with respect. We as individuals are not the beasts behind the Headlines; we are people.
So was Brandon Lee.
Edited by Olga Tchepikova-Treon