Before I begin this, I’ve already talked about the other episodes in this series before. If you’re curious on my thoughts regarding the Poltergeist and The Omen episodes you can head over to Soda & Telepaths to read them, and then you can go to my review of the episode around The Exorcist. I’ll be dropping my review for the final episode in the next few days but now that I’ve officially seen every episode of this amazing little docuseries and now that I’ve completed the entire thing, I can definitely say that it’s a series that improved dramatically over the course of its run. Its structure got tighter, the middle section became more relevant and they were clearly building it up to the pair of ‘Cursed Films’ that are easily the most emotionally devastating.
1994’s The Crow is perhaps most well known for being Brandon Lee’s final film due to an accident involving a prop gun that was meant to fire a blank but, due to a previous round being stuck in the barrel, ended up effectively firing a live round into Brandon. Many people, for years, have been attributing his passing to the Lee Curse which allegedly also took the legendary Bruce Lee from us. This episode definitely explores that curse, talking about its history and some of the weird coincidences around Bruce’s final film, but it only does it so when it screams “No, idiots, there isn’t a curse” it lands a little harder and hopefully ends two sets of rumours.
Not only is this episode debunking the curse of The Crow, it also delves (albeit briefly) into Bruce Lee’s passing which itself was surrounded with the idea of Curses. Some believed Bruce died because there was a hit out on him by the Chinese mafia, some believe he was the victim of some kind of death punch that killed him days after he was hit but the reality of what happened is spelled out here and, much like Brandon’s passing, it’s almost mundane in how easily explained it is. The portion about Bruce is this episode’s big tangent, cos every episode has a tangent in the middle, and it’s helpful to explain how everyone was basically predisposed to blame a curse for what would happen to Brandon.
The most emotional portion of this episode, to my surprise, wasn’t even the portion where the people on set describe the fateful moment when a prop gun failed and accidentally killed Brandon Lee. No, the part of the episode that genuinely haunted me after seeing it was when they recreated the circumstances that led to the prop gun failing. It’s one thing to read about what happened but it’s something else to see someone intentionally block the barrel of a gun with a misfired round and then shoot it again, showing just how lethal that bit of shrapnel could be. It spells out in one simple moment how easily this could’ve been avoided if the gun person had been the same throughout the production and how easy it would’ve been for everyone to not notice something was wrong until it was too late… also makes you really wish they’d stuck with the original scripted plan of a knife since they already had the fake knife rig ready to go.
Once again, Cursed Films seeks to remind its audience that we’re talking about actual people here. We’re talking about an actual man who lost his life on the set of a film due to a horrific accident, and because of tabloid media’s desire to sensationalise everything the actual tragedy gets downplayed and the actual cause gets shoved aside in favour of the more eyecatching “Curse”. Easily the best explanation of exactly what happened on the set of The Crow that you will ever see.