In the last month, the lengthy contract I had hastily signed with Dish Network using the blood of my first born had finally expired. While I gleefully boxed up all of the kangaroo-themed receivers and all the “legal property” of Dish Network to mail back to those fucknuts, something started to bother me. It hit me that I really had not figured out a suitable replacement for my Dish Network DVR that was filled to the top with amazing shows like every episode of Dawson’s Creek and timeless cinematic classics like Italian Spiderman and Bachelor Party.
During this difficult struggle to find instantaneous (and cheap) entertainment, I leaned heavily on my Playstation 4 and Netflix. It had been quite some time since I had browsed the available content for streaming, and I was most impressed that they had an old long-forgotten gem stowed away deep within the bowels of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section. No, I’m not talking about Xanadu. I discovered that I could stream The Wraith, an amazing film where the plot revolves around Charlie Sheen’s robotic ghost going around exploding dipshit street racers in the desert and eating hamburgers.
As I watched this movie in pure bliss, I started to notice that there were a lot of details and themes that I hadn’t noticed the first time I saw it nearly two decades ago. Then it hit me like a pink slip for a sweet-ass Dodge Daytona…. This movie was almost an exact carbon copy of The Crow, even though The Wraith came out eight years previous!
On the surface, there are a lot of basic similarities between The Wraith and The Crow:
⊕ Both are a comic book tales of bloody retribution from beyond the grave.
⊕ The violent and undeserving loss of a loved one at the hands of a gang of dickheads is the main theme that weaves its way through both stories.
⊕ Both of these films have incredible soundtracks that stand well on their own. Stone Temple Pilots and Poison? Sign me up!
⊕ In both movies, there is a single police officer investigating all of these strange yet connected events, and eventually they grow to be sympathetic of the main character’s path of bloody vengeance and stop trying to apprehend them. They eventually sit back, sigh deeply, and mutter “Killas gonna kill”.
But those are the easy similarities. Here’s a few surprising ones you may have missed!
5. Both Movies Take Place in Dystopian Hellholes-
The Crow takes place in a dark Gothic/Victorian (alternate dimension) version of Detroit. It looks as though the entire city was stylized by an architect who really had a thing for Type O Negative and Zuul. In the Motor City it rains nonstop, heroin abuse starts in grade school, and people are murdered daily on the street. And in case none of those horrible things got you, be on the lookout for October 30th. That’s a “holiday” in Detroit when the entire city is engulfed in flames for no other reason than the sheer fuck of it. The Crow’s version of Detroit is a terrifying and suffocating hell on Earth that there is no escaping from.
….and The Wraith takes place in Arizona.
4. Both Main Characters Rack Up The Same Exact Number of Kills
In The Wraith, Churly Sheen and his prototype version of the robot suit from Moonwalker rack up a total of five revenge murders using his sweet General Motors concept car on loan from Lee Iaccoca. By just glancing at the exterior of this car, it can makes other cars explode, and it can be used to blow up warehouses with the ferocity of a nuclear-tipped cruise missile. Most of the Wraith’s murderin’ is done during street races in the desert. After the Wraith is finished with his avenging, there are five different street racers that get scraped off the Arizona highways with a spatula.
In The Crow, Eric Draven climbs out of his grave, and goes full Hot Topic when he slaps on some black clothes and face paint while listening to The Cure. He immediately starts tracking down his killers and uses their vices and/or hobbies to eliminate them in hilarious ways. The junkie gets stabbed to death with all his needles. The guy who juggles knives ends up getting uncomfortably poked more times than a female in the crowd at an ICP show. Draven is nothing short of efficient, because he’s a pissed-off dead guy who’s gotta catch ’em all.
(For all the sticklers out there, I am aware that a total of six “main bad guys” get killed in The Crow (The half-sister-wife lady gets her eyes pecked out by the crow bird). I am also aware of the possibility of a high body count from the Shootout At Club Shit Flying Everywhere, but there aren’t any confirmed fatalities of any of the vast array of bad people that Draven shot or gutted with a katana. I am just going to assume they were all hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Here’s to hoping that a little rainbow of happiness can pop up in this version of Detroit.)
3. Both Gang Leaders Are Named After Cars
In The Crow, the small band of miscreants that are marked for death are lead by a gruff and uncharismatic homeless man named T-Bird. It’s also the same kind of vehicle he drives his gang around in while looking for buildings with pinball machines to smash up and then set on fire. It’s a pretty great car to drive around, blasting Stone Temple Pilots en route to the Piggly Wiggly. Some readers might argue that Big Top Money or whatever was the leader, but he was actually more of a financier than anything, because there is no way he could be in charge of anything or anyone with hair that stupid.
The leader of the gang in The Wraith was a douche-scented tall glass of water named Packard. You would assume with a name and reputation like that, he would be tooling around the deserts of Arizona in an older car like a ’57 Chevy or something that matches the carhop-styled diner (which, by the way, is the only restaurant in the city). But Packard prefers to barely win street races in his beat up 80’s four color Corvette that has been TUNED TO THE XTREME by Ron Howard’s weird brother.
2. Both Movies Have a Low-Level Thug Named “Skank”
In The Wraith, they have a gang member named Skank, but he looks like he’s a reject from the worst David Bowie cover band you’ve ever heard. They clearly cast him to be a complete moron, since he spends every waking hour of his day drinking brake fluid. He’s dirty, stupid, and can barely speak his native language. The only cool thing about this Skank is that he has his own Beavis, and they spend lots of time on the couch watching music videos.
In The Crow, one of the lower members of the gang that is marked for death by Eric Draven is a meth head named Skank. He’s dirty, stupid and can barely speak his native language. The only cool thing about this Skank is that one time he carjacked Henry Rollins.
Two Skanks, same end results.
1. Both Movies Had Fatalities On the Set
Anyone who lived through the 90’s knows that Brandon Lee got killed on the set of The Crow when there was a mistake with prop firearms that were mistakenly loaded with live rounds. It was sad and tragic, but the crew managed to soldier on and completed the movie with the footage they had and used stunt doubles and CGI. They also rewrote parts of the film to simplify the storyline. After they cobbled it together, they dedicated the film to Brandon and his fiance Eliza.
There was also an unfortunate fatality that occurred while filming The Wraith. While it did not involve any onscreen actor, it was still just as tragic. One of the camera operators, Bruce Ingram, was killed when improperly loaded camera car flipped while filming one of the races. This film was dedicated to him as well.
So if you are looking for a supernatural fix to start off your fall season, either of these films is a great pick, mostly because they are the same movie.
Or if murder revenge isn’t your thing, you could always curl up with some Xanadu…