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So stop us if you've heard this one: a bride, literally at the alter getting married, is killed by a horrific twist of fate. Only, she doesn't really die; rather, she gets back on her feet, and begins to take her revenge on the folks that ended her life. If you're shouting at your screen that this is the storyline for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, then you'd be absolutely right. The funny thing is, The Crow's creator, James O'Barr, had a very similar concept in mind when writing his treatment for a follow-up to the 1994 cult-classic adaptation of his creation -- and he wanted to name it The Crow: The Bride. O'Barr himself explained the set up to his proposed follow-up to The Crow, as follows:
My intention was to take it to a completely different direction. So I wrote a story that was a based on a little incident that happened in Chicago about a woman who was killed at her wedding. I remember reading it in the paper and it was just a horrible tragedy. Some Irish gangsters tried to rob a main perish in Chicago where they held the collections, and they got lost coming down. They ended up in the middle of a wedding and one of the bride's maid's boyfriend, in the audience, was a cop and a big shoot out started, church burnt down and 13 people were killed.
As James O'Barr's story goes, the real life tragedy above inspired his take for The Crow: The Bride, and out of that event came what would have been a female-led action film, starring a bride still in her wedding dress, with nails in her head, taking her revenge. It was a concept O'Barr says the studio was hesitant to take on with a female star. A moment of silence for the studio execs who thought a resurrected bride, in her wedding dress, with barbed wire and nails in her head, didn't sound cool enough to sell tickets. Sadly, Miramax passed on his concept pitch, despite already paying $10,000 for James O'Barr's 16-page treatment, favoring to make a different sequel to The Crow, City of Angels.
Of course, Hollywood is a town that abhors paying for options and not exercising them. It's about at this point in our story where O'Barr thinks things took an interesting turn, as he told Screen Geek he thought the studio outright took the concept he sold them and turned it into Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece of marital revenge.
It was the end of '95 and about 4 or 5 years later this movie Kill Bill comes out and I'm sitting in the theater like -- you know that meme with the guy? This looks vaguely familiar! Mine didn't have any of the Kung-Fu nonsense. I mean it's the exact same story. They paid for it, so they had the right to do whatever they wanna' do with it.
Obviously, this is just an opinion of James O'Barr's, and we would be remiss to not point out Kill Bill also differentiates itself in one key aspect: its character design. In fact, The Crow: The Bride's design of a bride with barbed wire and nails on her head sounds way different than any of the designs that Uma Thurman's Bride would have worn throughout both parts of Kill Bill. In particular, that yellow / black jumpsuit that Thurman was advertised as sporting was actually ripped from a particular item that Bruce Lee wore in Game of Death, which touches upon some of that "Kung-Fu nonsense" that the comic writer cited. So it's questionable whether anyone saw The Crow: The Bride's script while Kill Bill Vol. 1 was coming together. Still the similarities are interesting.
Without more of the details from that 16-page treatment, The Crow: The Bride does feel like it could have inspired Kill Bill's duology of films, but that's about it, really. Even then, if Quentin Tarantino was inspired by that treatment to make the films he wrote and directed, he'd probably be all over name-dropping James O'Barr and The Crow, as he's the kind of guy that cites his work. That still doesn't change the fact that we'd love to see just how much both projects match up, so that pretty much leaves us waiting to see if the full treatment will ever be released for our curiosity. In the meantime, James O'Barr will have a hand in the brand new reboot of the franchise, The Crow Reborn, which is set to start production early next year.