Countdown to Halloween #17: Eric Draven, The Crow

I’m sure nobody is at all surprised that Eric Draven has made it into our Countdown to Halloween. The Crow was a critical success and a fan favorite with a pretty huge cult following. But that isn’t where the story begins. The Crow started life as a comic book created by James O. Barr, and was an even darker and grittier story than the movie.

First published in 1989, it told the story of Eric Draven, who along with his fiancee Shelly are accosted on the side of the road when their car breaks down by a gang of thugs. Eric is shot in the head and paralyzed, forced to watch while the gang beats and rapes Shelly. The gang leaves them on the side of the road to die. Draven is then resurrected by a crow, and sets out on a mission of vengeance against the gang that killed him along with the love of his life.

When the movie came out in 1994 directed by Alex Proyas, it featured a heavily stylized and Gothic look at the character. It changed a few minor details while including a big one that further connects it to Halloween. The murders of Draven (who is a rock star) and Shelly occur on October 30th, which is known as Devil’s Night, a term that originated in Detroit due to the series of arsons and crimes committed that evening. A few of the smaller things changed are names of characters and the events of Draven and Shelly’s murder. In the film they are killed in their loft and Draven is thrown from the window to his death. Once resurrected by a crow he sets about killing the crew responsible for his and Shelly’s murder, brooding in his abandoned loft during his downtime.

He was portrayed by Brandon Lee in the first movie, and it is easily considered Lee’s best film. His portrayal of The Crow is the most well known by fans, and even critics felt that his performance was inspired and emotional. His interpretation of the Crow, and Eric Draven, will always be fondly remembered. With only weeks left in shooting, a prop gun was loaded with blanks, but unknown to the prop guy, a round had been lodged in the barrel of the gun. When the blank was fired, it propelled the bullet into Brandon Lee’s abdomen and through his spine, which ended his life later that night. A tragic legacy that haunts the film, almost as much as Lee’s portrayal of The Crow.

There were 3 more sequels, all featuring different characters becoming the Crow, and all terrible. They were The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: Salvation, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer.The last movie even had Edward Furlong as The Crow. Terrible. The Crow even recieved his own TV series and a return to the character of Eric Draven in The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, which wasn’t as terrible as the movies, but not much better either. The Crow was also featured in many different comics, generally a new character taking over as The Crow each time. All this shows the character has endured over the years and remains a great example of a tortured and gothic anti-hero.

So what is it about The Crow that makes him a great Halloween character? We’ve discussed the Devil’s Night connection, which is a clear Halloween marker. It’s really the look of the character for me that sells it. Draven, draped in black and wearing black and white facepaint (in the TV series it’s a transformation that changes his appearance) defines his look as The Crow, and has paved the way for Goth teens across the world to emulate the ultimate emo. When The Crow says ‘Boo’, you run. He just looks like a psychotic trick-or-treater that you don’t want to run into in an alley. Not only is it a tried and true costume for Halloween, but The Crow represents the fundamentals of the holiday. Dressing up, scaring people, murdering numerous members of a gang in horrific and awesome ways. Brooding.

That’s why Eric Draven is #17 on our Countdown to Halloween. Be sure to include The Crow in your Halloween movie rotation, you’ll be glad you did.

Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

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