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The Crow

The Crow
Action, Drama, Fantasy | 1994 | R. 1hr 42min
CAST: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas SCIENCE ON SCREEN


Science on Screen®, originally started by Coolidge Corner Theater in Boston, creatively pairs films with lively introduction lessons by notable figures from the world of science, technology, and medicine. This event will include a presentation by Corey L. Cook, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Pacific Lutheran University on the topic: The Social Psychology of Superheroes

the topic

The modern superhero has remained a fixture of US pop culture since the 1940s, and in 2018 superhero films grossed over $2.8 billion in the U.S. alone. What makes superheroes so fascinating? In this talk, I will argue that superhero stories are a byproduct of humans’ evolved moral systems, and serve to facilitate moral functioning. Additionally, superhero stories help satisfy other basic human needs, including needs for understanding, justice, and belonging. In short, to be human is to be moral, and superheroes help us to connect with and understand our moral underpinnings.  


Based on the graphic novel by James O'Barr, this fantasy follows Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), a rock musician who is murdered along with his fiancée, Shelly (Sofia Shinas), by a group of marauding thugs who terrorize the decaying city in which they live. One year to the day after his death (which happens to be Devil's Night), a mystical crow appears at Eric's grave; Eric rises from the dead and, with the bird as his guide, goes on a mission to avenge himself against Top Dollar (Michael Wincott), the leader of the gang who killed him. Star Brandon Lee was killed while filming a scene in which he was shot with a shell from an improperly cleaned gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks. Like his father, martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, Brandon was fated to enjoy his greatest popular success after his premature death.



Corey Cook is an experimental social psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Arizona State University and his PhD in Social Psychology from University of Florida. His research explores the influence of beliefs on perceptions of social threat and how perceptions of threat influence prejudices toward others. His other research interests include moral psychology, evolutionary psychology, and “alternative” belief systems (e.g., conspiracies, the occult, etc.).

A gorgeous black valentine that captures the essence of adolescent misery, coupled with a wildly romantic vision of the power of pure love to overcome all obstacles -- even the grave.
TV Guide
What's scary about The Crow is the story and the style itself: American Gothic, Poe-haunted nightmare, translated to the age of cyberpunk science fiction, revenge movies and outlaw rock 'n' roll, all set in a hideously decaying, crime-ridden urban hell.
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
A stylized revenge fantasy of dark beauty.
Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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