Ladies and gentlemen, Horror court is now in session; we’ll weigh in on and whether the tragic tale of love and revenge “The Crow” is horror or not.
Horror fans often find themselves in friendly, sometimes heated, debates over what films can be considered “real” horror. From dark comedies, to suspense thrillers, to dark fantasy films and slow burning psychological dramas, many beloved favorites new and old feel horror adjacent. But are they really horror films? What constitutes real horror?
While we would never advocate for putting unnecessary boundaries on the genre, and we understand that much of what defines the genre can be highly subjective, we still think it makes for a really fun discussion. So we bring you our “Horror Court” series, where we’ll be taking your favorite films to court, examining the evidence, and rendering a verdict — is it horror or not?
But remember, even if we find a film guilty of being not horror, it doesn’t mean our black hearts love the film any less!
The Crow (1994)
Directed by Alex Proyas. Originally a comic book written by James O’Barr. Screenplay written by David J. Schow and John Shirley. Staring: Brandon Lee, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, and Tony Todd. Saturn award Nominee for Best Horror Film.
Synopsis: A passionate couple is brutally murdered on Devil’s Night and a year later, Eric Draven is awoken from his grave to avenge the rape and murder of his fiancé. The Crow is a symbol of death and revenge and Eric will not rest in peace until every, last, one of them is dead.
Today, I bring forward to the court a cult classic among the horror community that has long since been debated if it should really be part of our horror movie collection, or if it belongs in a different section all together.
Brandon Lee, unfortunately, was killed during the filming of the movie. Conspiracies have since followed the film as to what truly occurred. Some believe he was murdered, and some believe that it was a terrible on set accident. His mother sued the movie company because she believed her son was wrongfully murdered, and she won in court.
Michael Massee, Funboy, is the actor who pulled the trigger. What was supposed to be fake bullets turned out to be real and pierced Brandon, killing him on impact. The actor has since passed, but the accident haunted him until the day he died, and he had a rough time dealing with what happened. Michael passed in 2016, and he was so traumatized that he never watched the film and claimed to still suffer from nightmares.
A man was killed, and another man was haunted by his memory of that day. If that doesn’t qualify for a horror movie, I’m not sure what does.
Further, the scene where the tragic event occurred happens to be the most intense scene in the film — the rape of Shelly. The film was developed, used as evidence to rule out murder, and later destroyed.
Brandon is the son of famous martial artist Bruce Lee. He had a very morbid fascination with death while filming. There is of course a heavy death element to the film itself. But Brandon also owned a hearse and would often drive around and visit famous grave sites, while listening to The Doors. This might not qualify the movie to end up in the horror genre, but it shows the dedication that Brandon had to his craft — and that death was always around Brandon even before shooting the film.
Brandon’s father predicted the death of his son after coming out of a coma; Brandon hadn’t even considered acting yet as a career. The Grim Reaper clearly wanted the Lees and came to collect Brandon just as his father had predicted.
Death is a topic in a lot of horror movies, and the fact that it was so heavily involved before, during and after the film was released should qualify it as a horror film.
I remember watching this as a very young child and thinking that it was scary, but not in the Freddy Krueger or The Exorcist kind of way. It wouldn’t be until my adult years that I would know why this film will always be considered a horror movie to me; just like Scooby-Doo taught us, real monsters are always human.
The idea of criminals running wild and having a dangerous and psychotic leader frightened me. They were not glamorized to look attractive or to cause us to have pity on them. They were purely evil, and I know everyone who has seen this film has wanted all those characters to suffer.
This movie deserves to be in the horror community and in the horror genre in my opinion. All the evidence that has been presented shows how much horror the cast and crew went through to have this movie made.
The jury finds the defendant, The Crow (1994), Guilty of not being a horror movie (as voted on in my Instagram Stories Poll).
The jury may have weighed in, but the judge has the final say. I’m very disappointed with today’s verdict. I thought we all knew the true meaning of horror. Therefore, I overrule this decision, and The Crow will have done time served. Anyone who doesn’t agree will be held in contempt. You may go proudly into the horror collection.
Court is dead. – Judge Miss J.