bad/awesome flixxx review: The Crow (1994)

"Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is. " - T Bird

"I got trouble. One of my crew got himself perished. Tin Tin, somebody stuck his blades in all his major organs in alphabetical order." - T Bird

"Great. A guy shows up looking like a mime from Hell and you lose him right out in the open. Well, at least he didn't do that walking against the wind shit, I hate that." - Sgt Brecht

"So you're him, huh? The Avenger. The Killer of Killers. Nice outfit. I'm not sure about the face, though." - Top Dollar

"CAW CAW. Bang. Fuck. I'm dead." - Top Dollar

"Fire it up. Fire it up. Fire it up. Fire it up!!!!" - T Bird's gang

"I say I'm dead. AND I move." - Eric Draven

Probably the most successful goth comic book movie of all time. When I was a teenager on Earth, all of my friends wanted to see this. I can't remember how many times I DID see it in the theater, but I know I saw it the first time all by myself in there. There's only a few times that ever happened. It happened with this and with TRAINSPOTTING and with PCU. This one was also near and dear to folks in North Carolina because most of the filming was done on location in Wilmington, and it was there on set that lead actor Brandon Lee was accidentally killed. That was huge news and probably got as many Bruce Lee/ martial arts fans to go to see the flick as it did comic book nerds and goth/industrial music enthusiasts. Brandon Lee and Ernie Hudson star in THE CROW!!!!

The night before Halloween, Officer Ernie Hudson is at the scene of a crime that will repeat throughout the movie in flashback sequences. A lady named Shelly was supposed to be married to the guitar player/singer of the band Hangman's Joke named Eric Draven. As the story unfolds, you come to find out that Shelly had been writing notes of complaint to her super. The super is involved in some sort of mafia scenario where he pays a guy who hires a group of thugs to take care of the complaints. Also the guy he hires (Top Dollar) is some sort of sadistic mob boss who burns down buildings on "Hell Night" (the night before Halloween). So the thugs were a gang led by T-Bird, and they rape and beat Shelly until her fiancee comes home and they stab and shoot him and then sling him out of the top floor window to where he falls to his death. (The knife scene replaced the actual scene where Brandon Lee was killed by a dummy bullet lodged inside of the chamber of a gun that was supposed to be filled with blanks). A young skateboarder girl named Sarah was in the care of the two lovers because her mother is a heroin addict, and she comes home to Ernie Hudson telling her that everything will be alright, but she's too street-smart to believe that shit. 

The screen reads: ONE YEAR LATER. Sarah skates up and has a hot dog with Sgt Ernie. For some reason the Detective in charge of the case is always on Sgt Ernie's ass. It happens a few times in the movie. I think it doesn't come through in the movie, but I'm pretty sure in the original comic, the detective knew what T-Bird's gang was up to and was being paid off by Top Dollar to let them go about business as usual. I think in the comic he gets his comeuppance. So a magic crow pecks on Eric Draven's headstone, and suddenly and "unexplainedly" he somehow crawls up out of his grave. His skin is still intact and he hasn't decayed at all like you do when you're dead. He goes back into the apartment, and starts having flashbacks. He paints his face like a harlequin mask and puts on some of Shelly's bondage gear when he finds out that he is immune to all pain and his cuts and stuff heal immediately after happening. So he says fuck it, and sets off to avenge his and Shelly's death.

Draven sees a guy through the eyes of the magic crow. The guy is Tin Tin, a thug that stabbed him with knives. He sticks all of Tin Tin's knives in his chest and uses his blood to paint some crow graffiti on a wall. Then Draven has a run in with Sgt Ernie and disappears before he can do anything. Then Draven goes to the pawn shop that Tin Tin pawned Shelly's ring in, gets it back and burns the whole joint down, leaving the asshole pawn dude alive to warn the others that he's coming for them. Then Draven goes after Fun Boy. Fun Boy is banging Sarah's mom and giving her drugs. Fun Boy shoots Draven in the hand and then freaks when the hole in the hand closes up and Draven is just laughing at him. Draven shoots him in the leg and then drags him into a cold shower. Draven grabs Shelly's mom and squeezes the heroin out of her arm and tells her to go be a good mom. She runs out and Top Dollar's right hand man runs up to see Draven jump out of a window and Fun Boy with a ton of needles jabbed into his chest. Cut to Top Dollar's lair where he's hanging with his equally sadistic Asian (sister) girlfriend and the pawn shop guy. The right hand man comes to tell of his Draven encounter and the pawnshop guy is super smarmy and for his troubles gets a sword jabbed into his throat! SICK!!

Draven grabs T-Bird as him and Skank (the last 2 members of the gang) are grabbing snacks. Draven ties him to his car and ties some explosives to him and then has him drive off a pier, where the car explodes before it even hits the water. Skank escapes and reports the incident to Top Dollar in a very hilarious speedfreak manner. Top Dollar plans a huge Hell Night crime spree. Draven busts in an annihilates everyone in the room a la the mob scene from THE PUNISHER (the Dolph Lundgren one), and Top Dollar and his dude and chick escape. Draven throws Skank through a window where if I'm not mistaken, he falls into a My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult concert ruining several concert goers night on the town. (By the way, I had this soundtrack on cassette, and it pretty much ruled at the time.... Pantera, Nine Inch Nails covering Joy Division, etc.). So then Sarah is kidnapped by Top Dollar's right hand man, and Draven realizes he has one last mission. He goes to fight them, but the asian chick wounds the magic crow and suddenly he isn't invincible anymore. But then the Sgt kills the right hand man, the asian chick tries to suck the magic powers from the crow but it pecks her eyes out and she falls to her death. Then Draven goes after Top Dollar but gets shot. Earlier Draven sucked the 30 hours of pain that Shelly suffered in the hospital out of the Sgt's head, and right as he's about to get killed he touches Top Dollar and gives him the 30 hours of pain at once. Top Dollar loses balance and falls to be engorged upon a gargoyle's horns. Draven goes back into his grave and as Sarah leans over it to say her respects, the magic crow drops the engagement ring into her hands and flies away. Should you see this? Yes! You already should have! I'm going to try to watch the 3 sequels and find the Canadian television adaptation now too. Pretty sure they are garbage, but WE. SHALL. SEE.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gerald Abernethy