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March 13, 2023 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Author Jordan Kurella writes about The Crow: Two movies released when I was eighteen years old. One was The Crow, and the other was Pulp Fiction. One changed my life; the other was by Quentin Tarantino.

"As a goth trans man, currently in the midst of transition, being goth is about finding joy in what would destroy us. Eric Draven personifies that. Goth culture, in its music, its clothing, its adoration of all that is dreary and bleak, is about hope. Masculinity, at its core, sweeping away the toxicity that men are taught over and over again, is about upholding one’s own sense of hope, and empathy."
posted by curious nu (32 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
The Crow holds a special place in my heart for it's vibes. I watched it with all my weird friends in highschool and it gave us, nerdy and mostly queer and mostly dudes, a bit of what the author talks about.

I either didn't know or somehow forgot that Brandon Lee was killed on set. I don't know how that knowledge would have inflected my memories of the film.
posted by crossswords at 10:10 PM on March 13

Great movie, or at least I remember it as such. It's been a while. The graphic novel it's based on is not great, though. Pretty bad, actually. The movie might be the best comic to film conversion that's ever been made.

Also, the My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult song "After the Flesh" -- which they performed themselves in the club/concert scene -- was never released on any album other than the movie soundtrack. So it's kind of a fun rarity of classic 90s industrial music.
posted by rifflesby at 10:38 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]

I really must watch these two films. They're probably not on streaming anywhere useful.
posted by bookbook at 1:53 AM on March 14

I was big into movies and both of them left a big impression on me. I was expecting to like Pulp Fiction--and I did--but The Crow was a big surprise to me. Alex Proyas did some excellent world building with this movie and I remember being blown away. And I was a non-goth cis guy but it really spoke to me. I wonder if it still holds up--it's going on the list.
posted by zardoz at 2:50 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

The Crow came out when I was 15, and it was a huge hit in my friend group. I remember multiple times going between a couple of theaters in our suburb until we found one that would sell us the tickets (it was rated R, and we all looked very 15, or younger). I probably saw it upwards of 20 or 30 times in my teens, and then didn't watch it again until last year as part of a Halloween movie watch party, and I still knew every line.
posted by odd ghost at 5:09 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I have always LOVED the entire vibe/aesthetic of The Crow. It's such a mood and while the film isn't perfect, it is perfectly enjoyable and entertaining.

It does break my heart every time I think about how young Brandon Lee was and what we all lost. I truly believe he was going to blow-up or have that hollywood blow-up moment shortly after this film, but alas, he is immortal for other reasons now. :-(

This is one of my regular Halloween film re-watches every year.
posted by Fizz at 5:46 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]

I saw The Crow in the theatre and liked it okay (I wasn't really the target audience). Going on 30 years later the main thing I remember (and hopefully it's an accurate memory) is a scene shortly after Lee's character is resurrected where he's realized that he can't be killed or injured and jumps off a roof or something, lands flat on his back after a fall that would be fatal for any normal person and just lies there and laughs in delight. I mean, that's the sort of thing I'd do if I were invulnerable.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:31 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]

I liked the comic. One of the interesting things about it was that it wasn't clear if Eric was dead, or just insane. I remember 3 issues came out, and that was it for like a year, which was really annoying. Eventually it got another publisher, and I was able to read the entire thing. I think I read the first sequel series, but the magic was gone.
I really enjoyed the movie, too. My only annoyance was they felt the need to add the Voodoo Lady (I think) to make Eric vulnerable. That wasn't in the comic, and I didn't think that it was necessary at the time.
posted by Spike Glee at 6:56 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]

I loved The Crow, and also its sequel, City of Angels, starring Vincent Perez. A lot of people said the sequel wasn't as good and that may be true, but it was mostly presented as a seperate movie so I enjoyed it as such, and felt it was a solid offering on its own.
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 7:07 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]

We rewatched this recently and still enjoyed it. A lot of great work went into this movie. Proyas's direction and the production design still look great. The story is entertaining, even as the plot is real, real basic (what if the girl and the guy both get fridged, then the guy comes back from the dead for revenge? also: goth).

But dang, the thing that really stuck out for me on rewatch were the odd little chaotic moments in Brandon Lee's performance, like where mid-gunfight, he spontaneously dances a soft shoe. I wasn't really sure how to read those. Probably they were in the script, but there's something not entirely controlled about how he approaches those. It's interesting, even when it's not entirely successful. I wish we could have seen more of him.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:10 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]

Well, this author and I are exactly the same age. I had enough of a toehold among the Goth/Punk kids that I had a few friends who obsessed over this movie, and at least as many more that complained about it being a mainstream intrusion/poser bait situation on their scene, even as they watched it multiple times. What made this particularly unique was that some of those goth/punk kids were actually Wilmington, NC people, and they filmed the movie in Wilmington, and I remember hearing about the whole tragic Brandon Lee death thing playing out in real time (at the time of filming, I was in high school on the other side of the state, but my best friend was from Wilmington).

I will admit that I was not so much charmed by "The Crow" (I was, in fact, one of the bajillions of 18 year olds who saw "Pulp Fiction" multiple times in the theater and has spent most of her adult life trying to work out the numerous complications of being Quentin Tarantino fan) in actuality as I was by its legend. Although I do love any scene that involves a coded masculine character applying eye make-up.
posted by thivaia at 8:08 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Dug The Crow.
Pulp Fiction was ok, as I'm not really a fan of non-linear storytelling. YMMV, of course. :)
posted by luckynerd at 8:29 AM on March 14

The Crow and Natural Born Killers were the two movies in my high school. I've probably seen The Crow like 50 times.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:30 AM on March 14

I had the Crow soundtrack album before I even saw the movie, but then saw it several times. Each time I asked myself why I liked it so much when it wasn't the kind of movie I normally liked.
posted by Foosnark at 8:52 AM on March 14

Whatever their relative merits, it is a truth universally acknowledged that both movies have stellar soundtracks.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:23 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]

The Crow is a perfect movie and the soundtrack is the perfect soundtrack.

I would do some desperate things to hear a song as gorgeous and lush and dark as Golgotha Tenement Blues by Machines of Loving Grace.
posted by BrashTech at 9:25 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]

If you liked The Crow movie, may I recommend J. O'Barr's graphic novels? I found this non-Amazon link.

The movie soundtrack is incredible.
posted by Chuffy at 9:38 AM on March 14

They're probably not on streaming anywhere useful.

The Crow is currently streaming free with ads on PlutoTV, and Pulp Fiction is currently on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

(Not sure how useful either of those are--Pulp Fiction has also been available on Netflix at some point in the past.)
posted by box at 9:50 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]

I reference Pulp Fiction almost daily. I was blown away when I saw it the first time, in a little movie theater in San Francisco's Forest Hill. I can't count how many times I've watched it over the years, since then.
posted by Chuffy at 9:52 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

( is the best place to see where/if things are streaming.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

My only annoyance was they felt the need to add the Voodoo Lady (I think) to make Eric vulnerable.

In the comic, Eric is resurrected for vengeance. When he uses his powers for anything else, he becomes vulnerable. He emptied Darla's body of drugs. Brandon Lee died before they could shoot all the scenes, including the one where Funboy wakes up in the tub and attacks Eric with the straight razor from that scene. That's why Eric is bandaged with electrical tape from that point on.

*I used to know all the spots where they reused old footage to patch the film together, but it's been a while since my teens when I was hyperfixated on all things The Crow for a good while. The scene where Eric punches the mirror was a body double, the reflection was taken from other footage, including (I think) the scream after he leaps off the roof.

Pulp Fiction was hip kid fare. The ones I knew were unbothered by Quentin Tarantino writing himself the n-word to say. I was superbothered by that, but completely delighted that TWO TIMES in The Crow, a Detroit police officer says, "What in the crap?"

Such a golden film, perfect vibes.
posted by droomoord at 11:42 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]

Another thumbs up for both movie and comic here. Not to say the movie didn’t improve on the comic (esp the I’m-not-crying-you’re-crying ending, not to mention the soundtrack), or that the comic is perfect. But the comic is definitely worth checking out in its own right. Just expect something darker (and bloodier) than the movie.

But yeah definitely a good film. And probably a better epitaph for Brandon Lee than Showdown in Little Tokyo (even if that film’s kinda fun in a “popcorn movie” way)
posted by gtrwolf at 1:55 PM on March 14

'Pulp Fiction' was fine.

'The Crow' I was obsessed with - one of the earliest/ only positive male Asian(ish) representations available.

I went as Eric freshman year in college. It was a year after the film had been released but I got a pass as a freshman and I looked the part, long hair and all.
posted by porpoise at 2:53 PM on March 14

Watched the Crow projected onto the broad side of a barn each Halloween, something that united the weird, nerdy kids at my school. The crowds grew annually as the 90s progressed and that particular brand of weird/nerd became more mainstream. And then one year our hosts changed the evening's program to Rocky Horror (when you're young 3-4 years seems like a tradition carved in stone, alas).

I guess I'm just here to agree that the Crow meant a lot to some of us. Some folks still quote Pulp Fiction at each other and holler "Great flick!" whenever it's mentioned. I'm curious whether they ever felt like it helped explain their world a little bit though.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:15 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

I’m here for PF love. However, you have moved me to watch The Crow. An Elvis man should love it.
posted by BlunderingArtist at 3:37 PM on March 14

I mean, The Cure wrote the song, Burn, for the movie. And the Violent Femmes song, Color Me Once...I've gotta put that soundtrack on again, LOL.

One of the reasons I saw The Crow in theaters was because I was a huge fan of the comic books. Other movies/series that offered me a similar experience: LOTR Trilogy, Watchmen, Game of Thrones, The Sandman...well, actually, quite a few Gaiman adaptations.

I suppose I'm going to have to play The Last of Us now, but that's doing it backwards...
posted by Chuffy at 4:05 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

TIL The Crow and Pulp Fiction were released the same year. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have sworn The Crow was released years earlier. Weird.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:44 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I loved both Crow movies, especially their soundtracks.
I went to a Halloween party one year as the Crow: dyed my hair shiny black, lots of makeup, long black coat, and a toy but authentic looking rifle hidden in the coat. It was fun walking down the street like that, especially since Halloween wasn't really a thing in Chile back then and there were not that many people in costume.
posted by signal at 5:25 PM on March 14

Speaking as a 90s goth... "Friends don't let friends dress like the Crow"
posted by cirhosis at 8:35 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

I would do some desperate things to hear a song as gorgeous and lush and dark as Golgotha Tenement Blues yt by Machines of Loving Grace.

They were one of the bands of the era that I thought and hoped would get bigger than they did. There was no one else on the industrial scene quite like them.
posted by Candleman at 9:13 PM on March 14

No one’s brought up the best line of the movie yet:

Gargles gravel, smokes 100 cigars, swallows fiberglass/

Quick impression for ya: KAW KAW! BANG, FUCK I’M DEAD!

There’s a lot about the movie I love, but hot damn Michael Wincott (and HIS VOICE) were just fantastic.

As far as the whole “only has power when seeking vengeance” thing, there was a whole character, the Skull Cowboy who was supposed to be Eric’s guide, who was cut after Lee died (I’d heard because it was considered too dark, though maybe it was budget). The character was supposed to warn him not to heal the mom, it wasn’t his job, and then, at the end, because he was going into the church to rescue the girl, he would be stripped of his powers, which would’ve taken from us the immortal line above.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:10 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I finally gave away my copy of The Crow trade I've had since high school.

And I've mentioned it before, but shout out to my mom who tolerated me dragging her to the movie theater to see The Crow film when I was 17. "This is like my insides made outside!" I proclaimed with all the earnestness of a Goth teen who was convinced that her life was hard.
posted by Kitteh at 5:03 AM on March 15

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