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The Most Bizarre Thing That Happened On The Set Of The Crow

The 1994 movie "The Crow," which was adapted from a comic book series by James O'Barr, is considered a cult classic. In the action movie, Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) is restored to life after he and his fiancée, Shelly (Sofia Shinas), were murdered by a gang. Screen Rant reported that the movie's source material has devastating origins. At the age of 18, O'Barr's fiancée unexpectedly died, eventually inspiring him to write the series. Unfortunately, this is not the only death that has ties to "The Crow" — Lee died following an unsettling incident on March 31, 1993. 

According to a 1993 Entertainment Weekly article, the 28-year-old, whose father was famed martial artist Bruce Lee, was overworked throughout the film's production. For three months, the actor worked nearly every day in grueling conditions. According to the publication, Lee's friend had voiced concerns about the movie, which was shot during the winter in North Carolina, specifically for its "plethora of complex action sequences." Lee, however, did not seem to be worried and reportedly responded that "nobody ever gets hurt doin' that stuff. They've worked it out."

Brandon Lee was wounded by a .44-caliber revolver during an action scene

Entertainment Weekly pointed out the irony of that statement, as Lee ended up dying because of an accident in one of the movie's action scenes. The scene in question depicted Eric's murder, where he arrives home from the grocery store before gang member Funboy (Michael Massee) kills him. Massee was directed "to fire his .44-caliber revolver" toward his co-star while "a squib" was set off, causing Lee to slump over. 

As Lee's reaction mirrored what was in the script, the film's crew was initially unaware that his abdomen was wounded. However, when it was determined that he was severely injured, he was swiftly transferred via ambulance to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where he underwent an unsuccessful five-hour surgery. His fiancée, Eliza Hutton, was able to see him at the hospital before he died, 13 hours after the accident.

A firearms safety coordinator explained what caused the accident

While speaking to Film Courage in 2014, firearms safety coordinator Dave Brown explained what went awry while shooting the scene. He revealed "two weeks before that tragic night," the film's "production needed some dummy cartridges for a close-up shot of loading a revolver" and "purchased real cartridges from a local gun store, pried off the bullets, dumped out the gunpowder and stuck the bullets back into the cases." 

"Now, any firearms expert would be able to tell you that this is highly dangerous because, of course, the primers were still live, but unfortunately they were running out of both time and money at this point and had already sent their only firearms expert home early to save a few dollars," explained Brown. He then suggested that the movie's props assistant was uneducated about gun safety and "loaded [the firearm] with blanks," not thinking of any potential consequences. 

Brown noted that since the "bullet was still lodged in the barrel from two weeks previous, the blank propelled the bullet out the barrel with the same explosive force as a real cartridge." He went on to say that "[t]he bullet struck Brandon Lee in the chest and he collapsed, never regaining consciousness." 

Brandon Lee's death was not caused by the so-called curse of The Crow

It was determined Lee's untimely death "was due to negligence on the part of the film's crew," as reported by History. It appears that safety regulations were ignored throughout the movie's production, and numerous crew members were injured. Entertainment Weekly noted that there were quite a few accidents on set. For instance, a 27-year-old carpenter named Jim Martishius sustained life-threatening burns after an accident involving power lines. His then-pregnant wife told the publication that he would require numerous surgeries. A different crew member who was working construction was also wounded when he impaled his palm with a screwdriver. 

In a 1993 interview with Inside Edition, an anonymous crew member acknowledged that "people tried to say [the film] was haunted," but asserted that was not the case. He stated that "safety precautions ... were definitely not followed" and that Lee's death "could have been prevented with better management."