"He was my hero." HIM legend Ville Valo reveals the iconic goth film character that inspired him

Ville Valo
(Image credit: John McMurtrie)

Former HIM frontman Ville Valo has revealed the iconic gothic film character which has proved hugely inspirational to him, in a new interview with Metal Hammer. Speaking to the magazine's writer Matt Mills for a special feature about beloved cult classic 90s flick The Crow, which turns 30 this year, Ville describes how the film - and its beloved leaved character, Eric Draven, played by Brandon Lee - has influenced him artistically and personally.

“Eric was my hero,” he says. “The film happened right after grunge broke and was really grungy in a cool way. There were a few darker films, but I don’t think there was anything considered ‘gothic’ coming out of Hollywood at the time, and it had a bit of rock’n’roll. Eric was carrying a crow and a guitar.” 

“I must have heard about it from Jyrki [69], who sings in The 69 Eyes, because he’s a movie buff,” he remembers. "It influenced me and affected me on all possible levels, music-wise and lifestyle-wise: ‘Oh, this is how it’s supposed to be!’” He adds that it gave HIM “the sonic palate, and the visual palate as well, for years and years to come”. 

On the subject of the new, rebooted version of The Crow, due out August 23 via Lionsgate and starring It actor Bill Skarsgård, Ville seems to retain some hesitation on whether the film will live up to the legacy of the original.

“The fairy-tale quality of the 90s material looks quite different from the new one,” he says. “It’s like [late rapper] Lil Peep being Eric Draven. It’s really weird. Bill Skarsgård is a great actor, but we’ll see if it retains the romance.” 

Originally hitting cinemas on May 13, 1994 and directed by Alex Proyas, The Crow received modest success upon release but has since earned cult status thanks to its dark, gothic visuals, killer soundtrack and the charismatic performance of Brandon Lee, who died while filming the movie. Read about about the legacy of The Crow in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now.

Metal Hammer issue 389

(Image credit: Future (Cover shot: Travis Shinn))
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.