I heard a piece of news today, or rather, I saw it.. a link on a friend’s Facebook page entitled “Nick Cave to Rewrite The Crow” and since that moment, I have been a woman obsessed- Scouring the internet for details anywhere I can find them. Articles upwards of two years old began to surface and to my horror, the rumors are, as far as I can tell… completely true. Stephen Norrington is to direct a re-imagining of the graphic novel, “The Crow” by J. O’Barr.
I feel particularly possessive over this story, as I know many of you do- so much so that even the critically acclaimed film of the 90’s with our beloved icon Brandon Lee didn’t entirely satisfy me. The Crow was my introduction into the world of graphic novels. I had, up to that point, never heard of a graphic novel and thought comic books were strictly silly stories, extended versions of the Sunday funnies. The Crow was my eye opener and my doorway into the darkness, love, lust, passion and evil of adult comics. The story was compelling, haunting and depressing in ways I had never experienced at that time. Sure, I had read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, I had traveled the unraveling of the mind in the poignant classic, Lord of the Flies, I’d written stories and poems about death and darkness, I worshiped Edgar Allen Poe and Mozart and I honestly thought I knew a thing or two about darkness.
I was 17 when I read it. Probably a bit older than most would expect, but you have to understand the life I had up to that point. After a youth of home school and singing opera for professors twice my age, US Civil War reenactments, Renaissance Faire and a slight obsession with ghosts, history and the Victorian era, as well as vampires and fire… I didn’t get out much and I was pretty content with that. My days were spent learning and dreaming and what I dreamed of was performing, discovering that my vampires were real and praying that one day I would see a ghost so I could satisfy my deep desire to call them out into the light and make them real not just for my own satisfaction, but to prove to everyone that I wasn’t crazy for believing in them.
Well, this was the dreamy-eyed girl who was given a book called “The Crow” and given the warning, “it will change everything for you, don’t expect your life to be the same after you’ve read it.”
And so it did. This was during a production of “Sweeny Todd” at a junior college in my home town. Shortly after this, my life did indeed change, as I poured over the book in a matter of hours, with a dark, gritty sadness that was completely new taking me over. It gave me a whole new sense of tragedy and reality that I had no concept of and has been a barometer for pain, as well as an inspiration in times of heartache ever since.
So with that three paragraph explanation as to why I feel a little personally attached to this story, I move on to the actual point of my article.
The man who brought us “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is about to deliver a re-imagining of The Crow and he’s hired Nick Cave to write it. Yes, Nick Cave, the Australian goth/punk song writer, slash actor, slash composer, slash… oh, I think that’s all the slashes I have. So, here’s the thing; I don’t know this person, I’ve heard his name but know nothing of his music or his creativity. I know that he’s only written two screenplays; both of which I’ve also never heard of. Now, that doesn’t mean anything, of course and I understand that this may be just what we need to bring the darker, more horrific pieces of this story to light that even Brandon could not touch.
I’d like to remain an optimist, but I find it difficult when all the credits of those involved so far are mediocre at best.
Norrington’s plan is to darken the story, bring a more gritty edge to it, take it away from the gothic, ghost story romance it became in the 90’s and that sounds promising. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the 1994 version and still, to this day to could recite it word for word on mute. But it was never comparable to the graphic novel and the pain that literally drips off each page as you read it.
I guess my biggest concern is this; Haven’t we had enough “Crow” movies? Do we really need someone else giving it the ol’ college try?
And more importantly, What does James O’Barr think of it?
Will it become just another excuse to capitalize on the new generation of gore-drenched films that rape the mind with their horror such as in Hostel? Will it saturate us in human horror and violent, grimy pain such as House of 1000 Corpses?
I’m curious to see if anyone else is as skeptical as I am… or maybe you have a different take on it, a reason to be optimistic?
No matter what your opinion is… I would love to know what you think.