Was ‘The Crow’ cursed? Inside the tragic death of Brandon Lee
The tragic death of Brandon Lee shocked fans and audiences alike as the son of legendary actor and martial arts expert, Bruce Lee, met his final moments on set of the 1994 film, The Crow.
Brandon Lee was an up-and-coming actor, starring in films like Rapid Fire & Laser Mission. He had his whole life ahead of him until it was suddenly cut short by a freak accident while filming on set. Due to Brandon Lee’s tragic death, he will forever be remembered for his role as The Crow.
The fallen crow
Originally based on a comic book of the same name, the dark fantasy movie is about a young man who dies unjustly trying to save his fiancé from a brutal attack and rape. He comes back to life, resurrected by a crow, to seek revenge on their murderers.
Brandon Lee was thought of specifically by director Alex Proyas to play the lead, presenting a once in a lifetime opportunity for Brandon who was trying to make a name for himself as an actor.
The Crow was expected to be Brandon Lee’s breakout role, receiving lots of buzz surrounding the release of the film in the early 1990’s. Unfortunately, just a week before the film was scheduled to wrap up, Brandon Lee was shot in the stomach by a dummy bullet lodged in a .44 caliber handgun by his co-star Michael Massee.
The curse of The Crow
The accidental death of Brandon Lee struck the public by surprise and began to stir rumors that the film was cursed. According to Meaww.com, eerie messages were received before the movie started to film.
The website states, “Bridget Baiss, author of The Crow: The Story Behind the Film, recalls the pre-production offices receiving an anonymous cryptic voicemail that asked them to not go ahead with making the movie because bad things would happen.”
The Crow began filming in 1993 located in Wilmington, North Carolina when a series of dangerous accidents did in fact begin to occur, keeping in line with the foreshadowing message.
A series of unfortunate events
On the first day of shooting, a live wire caught fire and burned a crew member, giving him second- and third-degree burns. On the third night, a prop truck also caught fire but the cause of the spontaneous combustion was unclear and never reported.
It doesn’t stop there; a stuntman fell through the rooftop of the set and broke multiple ribs. A crew member in the arts department experienced a screwdriver go through his hand. Later, a deranged sculptor drove his car through the set.
Mother Nature played a part in the film’s curse as well. In August of 1993, Hurricane Emily hit North Carolina with record flooding and freezing temperatures, ultimately destroying the set. The set had been destroyed so many times that it caused filming to be behind schedule.
The death of Brandon Lee
The most devastating accident was the death of Brandon Lee, sealing the series of unfortunate injuries and fatal events. Ranker explains the numerous and seemingly preventable mishaps that happened leading up to the actor’s death. Such events caused people to wonder if this was all a coincidence or was the ‘The Curse of the Crow’ real?
Ranker states, “First, the weapons master for the film was sent away for the day, and the propmaster filled the .44 caliber gun used in the scene with blanks without checking the barrel.”
“When the actor playing Funboy, Michael Massee, fired at Lee from very close range, the bullet pierced the actor before hitting the stem of his aorta, mortally wounding him. After a series of unsuccessful blood transfusions, Lee passed at 1:04 pm.”
The haunting crow
The death of Brandon Lee haunted Michael Massee for the rest of his life until he died in 2016. Massee felt extreme guilt for the death of Brandon Lee and even refused to watch the film after its release. The distraught actor took time off from film for many years and was quoted, “I don’t think you ever get over something like that,” by Extra in 2005.
There have been many attempts at a remake of The Crow since the 1994 version. Yet, all attempts have come to a crashing halt in production. Some speculate there is still hesitation to proceed with a new movie due to the rumored curse. After all, the curse did seem to have a connection to the continuous accidents that happened on set.
By far the death of Brandon Lee and the cult film remains in people’s hearts and minds. His death was a tragedy and perhaps it was a warning as well. The making of The Crow could be a cautionary tale for the entertainment industry.