Thursday, November 12, 2015

Revisiting The Crow: Wicked Prayer

It’s funny how time works. When I picture myself in high school, I don’t think myself as being terribly young. I mean, I don’t usually feel like me ten years ago was that different from me now. I guess it’s kind of like how you don’t notice your parents aging, because you see them all the time and so the differences are really subtle, but then suddenly one day you look at a picture of your dad from fifteen years ago, and you look at the dad standing in front of you, and you’re like, “Wow. You do look a little different.” No offense, Dad. You still look great.

Anyway, my point is that I must have changed sometime in the last ten years, because apparently The Crow: Wicked Prayer came out when I was 16 or 17 years old – at an age when, before coming to this realization, I would have claimed to have had some measure of taste – and I liked it. Before rewatching this film, I was positive that I was only, like, 13 when I last saw it, and I assumed that accounted for my incomprehensible love of it. But no. It turns out I was just much, much stupider at 16 than I knew. Which doesn’t help me come to terms with the intense crush I had on Edward Furlong at the time. At all.

I never saw the original The Crow, so I have no idea how Wicked Prayer relates, aside from the makeup choices. I will say that you don’t need to have seen the original, or any of its sequels, to appreciate the fourth and final installment. This movie stands all on its own. So let’s get started.

It opens with a satanic biker gang breaking its leader, Luc “Death” Crash (David Boreanaz, yes), out of prison. Although that nickname may not seem very clever, it's made even less so by the fact that Luc’s henchmen are named “Pestilence,” “Famine,” and “War.” Get it? And they’re introduced with screenshots like this:
In a good movie, that might be a stylish choice. I won’t go into all the reasons why it’s stupid here. Luc’s girlfriend, played by early 00s queen Tara Reid, also helps, and her name is Lola Byrne, which I like. Another great little detail is that Luc was wearing his regular rave wear underneath his prison uniform:
It’s kind of perfect, since it makes no sense at all, just like the rest of this movie.

Cut to Jimmy Cuervo (his real name, I guess), played by the baggy-eyed, sideburn-toting Edward Furlong of my adolescent dreams. Jimmy was recently paroled after beating a rapist to death. Take note, because this is exactly the kind of tortured/sensitive character trait that my 16-year-old self ate up. Jimmy is in love with Lily, played by Emmanuelle Chriqui, who I also kind of had a crush on. This scene was therefore much racier in my head than in reality:
Who among us doesn't feel our hearts pounding a little harder at the thought of kissing a dirt-covered, be-mulleted Edward Furlong behind a trailer? I ask you.

Back to the satanic cult. For some reason, they decide to kill Lily and Jimmy in a satanic ritual (the word “satanic” is going to come up a lot in this post, and I refuse to cut it out, because the movie never lets you forget that these are satanists we’re dealing with here). I don’t know if it has to be Jimmy and Lily, or if they’re just unlucky, but I lost my train of thought for at least ten minutes around this part. So they hang them, then cut out Lily’s eyes (to give Lola the power to see the future) and Jimmy’s heart (to conjure up the Devil, and also give Luc super powers?). The group is really into masks, so Lola wears this one:
And Luc wears one, too, but I’m more interested in that shirt:
So they do the thing and dump the bodies in a freezer and think it’s all good now that they’ve called up the Antichrist or whatever. Little do they know, a crow is about to resurrect Jimmy from the dead. I don’t know why, but I’m not going to question a crow’s motives. Coming back from the dead is clearly a bitch, because Jimmy makes this face:
…and proceeds to freak out when he sees his dead girlfriend, understandably. He takes Lily’s body back to her trailer, and he gets real mad along the way and decides to carry out some vengeance. Then he sees this picture on the fridge (which shows the entirety of his "costume" for some local festival - some stripes on his eyes) and is like, “Imma put on some cool makeup before I do my vengeance thang.”
And this is when I fell in love with weird, skinny-sad goth guys for the first time:
Hot. (I mean… kind of. I still think so. Sort of. You can’t help who you love.)

Jimmy goes and kills Pestilence (I’m not going to delve too far into some of these plot points, as there is so much more that is ripe for delving into), then he steals Lily’s body and buries it under their special tree into which he carved their initials. Aw. Next he goes to confront Luc, who’s having a nice dinner with Lola, wearing a construction paper hat that it looks like a four-year-old made for him:
This satanist group loves feathers and shit. And Lola loves the hair pouf that I remember being really trendy at my high school around that time. A big fight between Jimmy and Luc ensues, and we’re treated to some of Tara Reid’s best acting:
I hate to mock her too mercilessly, because she is such a darling of a certain time and I loved her in Urban Legend, but... it is what it is.

Luc thinks he’s killed Jimmy, so he and Lola go off to meet some guy in a satanic church slash night club, and it turns out it’s Dennis Hopper in a fur coat.
I mean, why not. It’s not that far off from his character in Blue Velvet. Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention that Macy Gray is in this one scene because, again, why not.

Luc needs El Nino to marry him and Lola (I don’t know why, but evidently it will bring Luc closer to Satan), so some women in lingerie and cat ears wash him…
…and put Lola in this lovely goth wedding outfit:
I really do love some of the costumes. Tara Reid looks A+ here. Though I’m less enthused about Luc’s western bolero-esque jacket, which I don’t find satanic enough.

The wedding ceremony makes Luc into a vessel for the Devil himself, and I guess they don’t need El Nino anymore, so Lola kills him. She gets real mad, too:
Meanwhile, some stuff has been going on with Lily’s brother and father, who originally thought Jimmy killed her. They find out he didn’t, so they do a weird shirtless dance to give Jimmy more power so he can defeat Luc.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Lola is trying really hard to get Luc to consummate their marriage, otherwise this whole Devil thing will go away and, in Lola’s words, “If the sun comes up and the spell isn’t done, you’ll go back to being a useless punk and I’ll go back to being white trash!” Poor Lola. If we didn’t know she had low self esteem before, we do now.

Unfortunately for her, Jimmy arrives right as she and Luc are about to get it on. Luc buttons up his pants and says my favorite line from the entire movie: “The Dark Prince was almost crowned, baby!” He says it with a lot of gusto.
Jimmy and Luc fight, yet again (action-y fights are really not my thing, so I was losing patience at this point), and Jimmy finally wins. He impales Luc on some spiky branches or fences or something, then slits his throat after saying a speech. Lola sees the sun coming up and knows it’s all white trash, all the time from here on out. She’s rightfully upset:
She puts on her sunglasses and goes to cry in a field.
Having finished up the revenge stuff, Jimmy no longer has a purpose, so he goes to sit on a swing under his special tree. This kind of wistful, pained look was all I wanted from my boyfriend back then:
Luckily, Lily’s spirit finds Jimmy and they’re reunited forever. Aw.
So yeah. You've just witnessed a little piece of my history. Of all our history, really. Because there's no erasing The Crow: Wicked Prayer from our collective cultural memory. And really, would we want to? Well.

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