1994's The Crow, a fantasy-action film based on a comic book of the same name, is famous for causing Brandon Lee's death. The tragic accident and subsequent death of Bruce Lee's son is one of many dark stories about The Crow that have led people to believe that the film was cursed.
Many of The Crow behind-the-scenes stories add detail to a larger story about a film that seemed to be doomed from the start. Not only was it one of the few film sets that killed people, but so many members of the crew were injured that it seems like an unseen force was at work during the filming. Aside from the horrific demise of the film’s lead actor, there was also a strange number of injuries and a destructive hurricane that destroyed much of the set.
Was The Crow really cursed? Despite it's strong cult following, the stories from its initial filming are darkly tainted, and all attempts to reboot the franchise make the curse seem believable. It’s possible that the failure to put a new version of the film into production stems from the death of Brandon Lee sticking in producers' minds, but it also just might be the nasty curse of The Crow.
Without a doubt, the most horrific thing that happened on the set of The Crow was the death of Brandon Lee. In the film, Lee's character was shot by a character named Funboy, and in a terrible turn of events his on-screen death became real. A series of things happened which lead to Lee's death on March 31, 1994. 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 a 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 away at 1:04 pm.
Because there were eight days left of filming on The Crow, producers ended up rewriting some scenes and shooting as minimally as possible, using with Lee's stunt double, even using early CGI to superimpose Lee's face over the double's for closeups. This greatly increased the budget of the film.
In 2016 Michael Massee, the actor who played Funboy in The Crow, passed away in 2014 at the relatively young age of 64. Even though he worked on a series of other films throughout his storied career, Massee was never able to put the memory of pulling the trigger on Lee out of his head and it allegedly ate him up for the rest of his life. It's possible that his untimely death came from the accidental homicide of Brandon Lee. “I don’t think you ever get over something like that,” he told Extra in 2005.
According to veteran actor Jon Polito, even the very first day of shooting on The Crow was host to an incredibly brutal accident. While a crew member was driving a cherry picker to set up lights he accidentally fell into a ditch. But that wasn't the worst of it. According to an eyewitness, it was a narrow escape from a brutal death:
"We lifted the back of the cherry-picker where the guy was lifted up, and went right into an electrical pole and he was electrocuted. And he was near death. All of his organs were burned. He was about 26. His wife was pregnant. It was a bad luck opening to a film."
After the death of Brandon Lee there were a myriad of questions about how something so tragic could have happened. Many Hollywood insiders pointed their fingers at Michael Massee, the actor who played Funboy. While there were no criminal charges filed against Massee he still carried the guilt of Lee's death for the rest of his life. In 2005 he told The Telegraph, "It absolutely wasn’t supposed to happen. I wasn’t even supposed to be handling the gun until we started shooting the scene and the director changed it.” Massee took several years off acting following Lee's death.