Grave-bound: Dead Crow Films
By CORVUS - 2007

There have been several CROW film projects that have, for various reasons, failed to get off the ground. The two most notorious examples would definitely be Rob Zombie's The CROW: 2037 and DMX's LAZARUS - A Tale of the CROW. Both of these projects came pretty close to getting made, but in the end the productions stalled and the films were shelved before a single reel had been cut. Below you'll find some basic info on these dead film projects.

The CROW: 2037

The Details:
Director and Screenwriter: Rob Zombie
Producers: Ed Pressman and Jeff Most
Executive Producers: Andy Gould
Production date: Screenplay written in 1997

Premise:
October 31, 2010. A young boy and his mother are murdered by a dark priest of the Fallen One...and exactly one year later the Crow returns the spirit of the slain child back to Earth to claim vengence. But unsure of himself, the boy forgets about his horrors. Twenty-seven years later, the boy is now a bounty hunter and finally sets foot on the road to reap the Crow's revenge.

Casting:
Rob Zombie had been in discussions with the legendary Christopher Lee, and would presumably have played the "dark priest" in the film.

What happened?:
From Creature Corner's March 2003 Interview with Rob Zombie:

"I basically bailed on the project. I worked on it for about 18 months. And at the end of 18 months I felt like we had made no headway whatsoever. We were getting ready to start casting, we hired an incredible set designer - this guy, Kreka - who had done 'Delicatessen.' He was amazing. These designs, I still have them, that he did were just outrageous. Incredible. But I felt, as far as creative meetings with the producers, they just could not decide on anything. If something was blue on Friday, come Monday morning it was red and by Thursday it was green. They could not make up their minds. And after 18 months I felt that we had accomplished nothing. I was like, 'I can't take this, I'm losing my mind, I quit.' And, you know, that movie dragged on forever and they ended up doing some direct-to-video thing that had nothing to do with the movie I wanted. Nothing. I know they were doing the same thing with John Carpenter 'cause they were working with him on 'The Martian Chronicles' and it was the same company and they were sort of, like, spending millions of dollars and accomplishing nothing."

The Verdict:
As ABaHB contributor Joshua Bunkofske said in his script-review, the screenplay is cool and there are some nice visuals, but the story is poorly connected to the Crow mythos. This was probably the biggest reason why the production stalled for 18 months, and eventually failed to materialize at all. When you consider what a letdown "House of a 1000 Corpses" eventually became, its probably for the best that this film never came to fruition.

It must also be mentioned that Zombie reportedly re-worked the script into a treatment called "Black Rider X", which also remains unfilmed as of this writing.

Read more about it at ABaHB

LAZARUS - A Tale of the CROW

The Details:
Director: Joseph Kahn
Screenwriter: Jim Gibson
Producers: Ed Pressman and Jeff Most
Executive Producers: Alessandro Camon
Production date: Talks began in 1999, Screenplay written in 2000

Casting:
DMX and Eminem were slated to star as Lazarus and Stone respectively, and since Detective Albrecht features into the script, Ernie Hudson may have returned.

Premise:
Lazarus, the world's most popular rap-artist decides to leave the world of gangsta rap and settle down with his girlfriend, Mary. Unfortunately, his record-label, Brimstone (owned by Lazarus' friend, Stone), is dead-set against the idea. Following Lazarus' final performance, he, Mary, and Stone are all killed in a drive-by supposedly perpetrated by their rival, Papa Smurf. The power of the Crow resurrects Lazarus so he can get revenge upon hsi killers. Unfortunately, Stone is back from the dead as well, and he's setting himself up as a nemesis to Lazarus.

DMX Quote:
"I am very excited about my involvement in 'The Crow: Lazarus,'" DMX noted in a statement. "I like the story line, and I can identify with the character. On the real tip, the moral of this story is that things are not always what they seem and we must not be too hasty to pass judgments, and that's real."

What happened?:
Essentially, the better treatment won. This film circled the toilet-bowl of development hell as a CROW film for a couple of years, before morphing into a stand-alone project when "Wicked Prayer" became the script of choice. Since then, there's been no word on the fate of Lazarus, and Wicked Prayer went on to get produced for a miniscule budget. This is ironic when you consider that Lazarus was originally envisioned to be the film that would put the Crow franchise back on the Cinematic maps, but was supplanted by a film that was designed to go direct-to-video. Go figure.

The Verdict:
As stated by KJB for IGN Filmforce:

"I wish I could say that this script was more than just a rehash of everything that's come before, but that would be lying. While this script has a few extras that have been missing from the film series (but have similarities to the television series that starred Mark Decascos as Eric Draven), most of it is terribly contrived...You've seen everything in this film before."

He also went on to say:

"One of the biggest problems with Crow: Lazarus is the rap music setting. While this would have been cutting edge a few years ago, the rap world just isn't the way it's portrayed in this screenplay. It's very obviously written from the point of view of someone who only knows the world of gangsta rap from the far outside looking in. All of the people and the situations are caricatures of the rap world with little, if any, base in reality. It could and probably would have easily been any other culture if it weren't for the casting of rapper DMX and the producer's desire for a hardcore rap / hip hop soundtrack, which is where the film is bound to make its money."

As for my own view, I wasn't happy about the plot or the casting in the first place, especially after DMX made some disparaging remarks about the previous films in the Crow series. When Lazarus ceased to be a Crow project, I was very pleased. Like "Black Rider X", Lazarus has been slated to become a stand-alone film, playing up on the asian mysticism angle touched upon in the original script. However, this project hasn't moved forward at all since 2002, and is likely dead.

Read more about it at ABaHB

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Last Revised: Thursday, February 15, 2007 16:26:21

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